This was one of those games where, if you didn’t really watch it, and if you are just going by the stat sheet, you’ll flat out have no idea how this game really went. I’d urge you to watch the highlights above if you didn’t watch this game to see just a fraction of the true great scoring chances the Rangers had.
According to the stat sheet the Ducks outshot the Rangers 28-25, and they outhit the Rangers 32-29. But this was not a measurement of quality. This was a sheer quantitative analysis of the game, because the Rangers, it felt like, outchanced the Ducks by a 5 to 1 ratio. These weren’t just good quality scoring chances. These were, holy mother of all that is good and pure how in the hell did Hiller make those saves. Eminger was robbed point blank. Stepan was robbed point blank. Anisimov was robbed point blank. Gaborik was robbed about 3 or 4 times. Hiller may have given up a softie to Woywitka, but he was nothing short of inhuman with the saves he made tonight. To quote a member of the HF boards…
One of the best games I’ve seen against us by an opposing goalie in a loooong time.
It’s absolutely true. The Rangers seemed to control the puck for long periods of time, but rather than just throwing everything at the net, they held on trying to find better scoring chances. Usually I’m an advocate of throwing pucks to the net, getting bodies there and going and getting some ugly goals, but today the Rangers seemed to know they could move the puck with ease and try to pick apart a rather mediocre Anaheim defense. Although the final score may have been 2-1 in a shootout, the truth of the matter is, the only reason this game was close was because of Jonas Hiller. He did to us what Henrik Lundqvist has been doing for the Rangers his entire career. Stealing his team a point they didn’t deserve. Speaking of Henrik, while he only gave up 1 goal, it seemed to me like it was a fairly stoppable shot. Granted, it was a shot through the defenseman, and was perfectly placed, but from that distance, on a wrister, I’m used to seeing Henrik stop those.
The other story of tonight had to be Marian Gaborik who has been going for the jugular all season long. Gabby played like a man possessed tonight, assisting on the lone Rangers goal, scoring the shootout winning goal, and almost willing the team to victory when it seemed like they had come up against a goalie who was in the zone. Frankly, I don’t know of any goalie who could have stopped his shootout shot. Most goalies would have to get up and look for their jock after the shot went in because of all the moves he put on.
The team seems to be playing much better as of late. Could they finally be putting it together? One can only hope.