On one hand the Rangers played a pretty decent offensive game tonight, scoring 5 goals for the second times in 3 games. On the other hand, they gave up 3 goals, and a handful of posts and crossbars. On one hand the Rangers were able to draw almost double digits in power plays. On the other hand, they were only able to pot 2 goals if you include one that was scored just as a PP was expiring. On one hand the Rangers picked up a win…and frankly, that’s the only hand that matters at the moment.
I usually expound the importance of playing the game right, and wins and losses will follow, but sometimes you gotta take your wins where you can. Don’t get me wrong here though, it’s not like the Rangers played a terrible game. Far from it, at times they looked outstanding, maintaining offensive zone pressure for several long stretches, generating many quality scoring chances, and potting in 4 goals (plus an empty netter) against a Vezina trophy finalist who actually played pretty well. But, the Rangers didn’t exactly put forward a smart 60 minute game. I mean, they did sorta play 60 minutes. The first 20 they came out gangbusters to take the lead. The second they held off the surging Habs, and in the 3rd they more or less shut the Habs down to pick up 2 big points. But, the Rangers didn’t play what you would call a dominating game, and it was a game they probably should have dominated when you look at the Habs and how they are made up right now. Their defense is vulnerable, and while they are still crazy fast and crazy skilled, the Rangers could have pounded the Habs into the ground instead of having to take a beating and retaliate the way they did when Brandon Dubinsky was blindsided by a pretty nasty hit when the Habs player left the bench way too early.
One thing that can’t be ignored was the Rangers got some very fortunate calls their way, including a snowing of the goalie, which I think is a bushleague call to be totally honest. As well as a few questionable hooks, and some pretty blatant penalties they should have been called for but weren’t (Prust boarding one of the Habs in the 2nd period (or was it the 3rd?) comes to mind off the top of my head. So a lot of the good will they got, a lot of their offensive zone pressure, was at least in part attributed to the ice being slanted in their favor. Don’t forget that one when we go back to Montreal, because that house of horrors is going to get some makeup calls pulled their way almost guaranteed.
That’s all for now, I’m exhausted having just finished 4 games in 24 hours myself.