I was getting ready to write an article about how, sometimes, you play a really great game and lose. The Rangers have certainly been on the reverse end of that scenario many, many times during Henrik Lundqvists reign as king of NY. But, turns out I need not do that. Instead, the Rangers showed patience (get it, it’s a virtue…get it? I’m here all night folks) and poise, and manage to squeak by Mike Smith who was unquestionably the best player for either team on the night. Smith made some truly remarkable stops, particularly his grand larceny save on Marian Gaboriks penalty shot attempt. Frankly, I’m not sure even Henrik Lundqvist could have made that save. Though, to be fair, Henrik probably doesn’t bite on Gabbys fakes either to put himself out of position. Regardless, Smith recovered for what will surely be a contender in the save of the year race that TSN does every year.
1 questionable move was Torts putting John Mitchell in the shootout. Not sure I get that one. The guy has very few points, and while he seems to be a very smart player, and a good puck handler, I definitely don’t think of him as the guy I want leading the shootout parade. I would have gone with Richards there, but then again, Richards didn’t exactly fare much better than Mitchell as both players lost control of the puck before shooting.
Anyone else groan when Brandon Dubinsky didn’t show up for the 2nd period start? I know I was concerned. Dubi was a force the past ~dozen or so games, but it looked like he was a little bit tentative after his hit. Hopefully he recovers next game. If the Rangers want to keep this going, they are going to need Dubi to be solid. On the flip side I think Artem Anisimov needs to be moved down to the 3rd line, and maybe put Hagelin up there on the top line to play with Stepan and Gabby. AA could use a few games to get his head back on straight. He’s not playing bad hockey by any means, but he’s not doing anything to truly impress you either. He had 1 scoring chance today off a great feed from Stepan, but Smith robbed him on the shot, beyond that he really didn’t do much except get plastered into the boards by Morris on 1 rush attempt. I know classical thinking has you sticking with what’s working, but sometimes you need to shake guys out of funks. I think this is as good a time as any to do that.
OK, that’s all from me for now. See you all on Thursday.