Lucky Number 7; Richards Zaps Bolts in OT for 4-3 Ranger Win
Rangers vs. Lightning Feb. 9th 2012
Seven was the Rangers lucky number last night as the Blueshirts pulled off their 7th come from behind win of the season, an overtime victory, against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Seven is also the number of game winning goals scored by Brad Richards, who broke out of his recent scoring slump with a pretty OT goal set up beautifully by the hard work of Michael Del Zotto and the nifty passing of Artem Anisimov. Seven game winners is good for second in the league this season, not a bad stat for guy still trying to find his game.
Adding to the Rangers luck last night was the appearance of the rare, near extinct power play goal. A crafty beast that is almost never witnessed on Garden ice. I’d love to dole out some credit here for my boys in blue, but I’m sorry I just can’t. This one gets chalked up to dumb luck until they prove that they can command a power play, not just go through the motions. Let’s be serious here for a minute; Scott Gomez scored last night for heaven’s sake, obviously the hockey gods were giving a few away last night. Heck, Brian Boyle even put in his 5th of the season, but kidding aside, Boyle worked his butt off all game and deserved his goal and the first star of the night award that came with it.
Ryan Callahan broke the power play curse, deflecting a Del Zotto point shot past Mathieu Garon early in the second period. Callahan’s goal tied the game at one and set off a flurry of goal scoring over the next minute and a half. Derek Stepan put the Rangers up just a minute after the Callahan tally with a spin-o-rama of sorts that beat Garon. It didn’t take long for Tampa to draw even though with Vinny Lecavalier knotting the score just 21 seconds later.
Marty Biron looked shaky at times but came up with some big saves when the Rangers needed them. Certainly I’m not going to blame him for the Steven Stamkos goal when the league’s leading goal scorer essentially walked an ill positioned Anton Stralman before beating Biron to open the scoring. The PK coverage even broke down a bit on the Bruno Gervais goal leaving him along in the circle to rip a shot past Biron midway through the second. Lecavalier provided the only Bolts goal that was a good beat of a frantic Biron.
While the play felt inconsistent and even sloppy at points throughout the game it was great to see the Blueshirts elevate their game in the 3rd period and really take control with their speed on the forecheck and physicality in finishing checks. Carl Hagelin continues to dazzle me with his speed; when the kid turns it on he can make the players around him look like their moving in slow motion. Steve Eminger looked solid in his first game back from a shoulder injury. Eminger replace Stu Bickel in the lineup and played just under 13 minutes.
Good, Bad, Ugly
Good- 2 points; a Richards and Power play goal in the same game.
Bad- Ryan Callahan’s debut as a goalie…love the guy’s passion but he’s way too important to be taking Lecavalier shots off his face.
Ugly- Ex-Ranger Dominic Moore’s cheap shot to the head of a vulnerable Ruslan Fedotenko. Only question is how long the suspension will be. Fedotenko was not on the ice for practice this morning.
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