3/29/06-Rangers 5, Islanders 1
Goals: Petr Prucha (29), Martin Straka (16, 17, 18), Blair Betts (7)3 Stars: Rozsival, Jagr, Straka
Well Ranger fans, this one sure was fun! An old-fashioned beatdown of the fishsticks in their own house! Are we sure that this game wasn't played in the city, though? There were chants of "MVP, MVP, MVP" when Jagr touched the puck and the old favorite "POTVIN SUCKS". There had to be 75% Ranger fans and 25% Islander fans in the building tonight. Oh, onto the recap.Jaromir Jagr
moved past Jean Ratelle
for sole possession of the single-season points record on the Rangers, setting up Petr Prucha
's power play goal at 7:23 of the 1st period. Martin Strak
a scored his first two goals at 8:53 and 13:59 of the opening frame. He completed the trifecta at 12:14 of the 2nd period, on a goal that looked for a second like it would end up being Jagr's record-setting 53rd. But, Straka was standing in front of Rick DiPietro and Jagr's wrister from the high slot deflected off his leg. Henrik Lundqvist
came oh so close to a shutout, with a cheap goal scored by Alexei Yashin with only 3 seconds to go in the 2nd period. Other than that, he made some spectacular saves and yet was not worked too hard, throughout the whole game. With tonight's victory, Lundqvist has 30 on the season and owns the record for most wins by a rookie goalie for the Rangers.
Just another completely dominating game by Jagr......he's a force to be reckoned with out there. There's actually nothing more I can say in addition to what I've been saying all season--words cannot describe how valuable he is out there and the immediate respect he brings this team. He's superhuman out on the ice. He was in on 4 out of the 5 goals the Rangers scored tonight, always there with the perfect feed to his teammates. This guy owns the Hart Trophy right now.
While Lundqvist didn't get worked nearly as hard as some points this season, he was there making the saves when he needed to be. He laid down flat on his back on top of the stray puck as it was on its way to dribbling over the goal line, who knows how the game ends up if that one goes in. We're seeing pre-Olympic hockey from Lundqvist and the rest of the Rangers; apparently Henke has re-claimed his mental state and physical state that has been eluding him the last few games. But hey, everyone's entitled to a slump now and again, right? Make no mistake; this man will lead this team to the promised land, along with that other guy......ya know, the guy that plays wing on the top line. Forgot his name.
I liked the lines tonight, of course I don't need to mention the top line because we all know it's deadly, especially against the terrible defensive game the Islanders were playing all night. The top two lines for the Rangers completely owned the Islanders, slapping them around the ice every chance they got. Straka should be re-signed for next season, without a doubt. Sure, he misses an open net occasionally, but as he showed tonight with the hat trick, he can get the job done. The 3rd and 4th lines for the Rangers were absolutely incredible, for the second game in a row. Ryan Hollweg
was back in the lineup after his suspension, and Colton Orr
played his second game in a row, and rightfully so. Orr has played himself back into the lineup on a regular basis, if you ask me. He changed the tune of the game against the Sabres, and he didn't let up tonight. He fought Eric Godard only about 4 minutes into the 1st period, and came away victorious. He was throwing hits all night and fought again later on in the game. He was earning more ice time as the game went on, and was even involved scoring chances at times. He is developing into quite a hockey player thanks to the coaching staff, and we were all wondering why he was used so sparingly earlier in the season......well, I think it was because he just wasn't ready to play somewhat regularly. He's more than ready now, though. I'd pick him over Marcel Hossa
ANY DAY OF THE WEEK. Orr can do so much more with 5-6 minutes of ice a night than Hossa could ever do. The open-ice hits, the fighting.....just incredible. What a steal by Sather and Co.
Back to the rest of the energy guys, Jed Ortmeyer
had a second great game in a row, including his play on the penalty kill. Blair Betts
scored a goal (shocker, I know) and Dominic Moor
e showed us why he has a place on this team. The Orr - Betts - Jason Ward
line was awesome all night. Overall a great great night for the 3rd/4th line guys. Just goes to show you how far role players will take a team. Without our grinders this team is not in 1st place.
Ahh, the Rangers defense. After a few, shall I say, less-than-stellar performances the D corps looked to be in top shape tonight. Just the fact that they were playing keep-away with the puck at times, and let nothing get by down low. There were some incredible displays of backchecking and poke-checks to break up potential breakaways and centering passes. Tom Poti
and Sandis Ozolinsh
had a great night, with a few instances that saw Poti actually taking the body and getting the puck away. Ozolinsh nearly had a goal on a pretty play that saw him and Michal Nylander
, along with Jagr, break up ice. Jagr's pass was right on the money but Ozo ended up hitting the post. Again I say, there's no questioning Ozolinsh's offensive prowess.....it's his defensive aspect that raises question marks. But him and Poti have shown they're improving in that area. Darius Kasparaitis
made a triumphant return to the lineup tonight, as well. I've stated before how much the Rangers missed having him out on the ice, and everyone looked more comfortable now that he came back. He was being his usual pesky self, trying to draw penalties and throwing huge hits. Jason Strudwick
played in favor of Fedor Tyutin
who was a healthy scratch. I agree with Tom Renney
's thinking here; first of all, Tyutin had played every single game up until tonight including all those games in the Olympics. He was due for a break and most likely the biggest reason why he's looked so bad out there is because of fatigue. The night off will do him good. There was a blurb in a news article this morning about Renney platooning his players, and handing out healthy scratches to keep everyone in top shape. This is a very good idea and Tyutin turned out to be the first one to get a break. Hopefully Renney will keep with the plan. Marek Malik
took a hard knee-on-knee hit that looked pretty scary but he ended up returning to the ice. Michal Rozsiva
l played another one of his best games out there, just adding to the success of the Rangers' D. He's played well enough to deserve another contract.
Jagr extended his points streak to 10 games, with 9 goals and 12 assists over the span...this was the sixth of eight meetings between these two teams this season, with the Rangers winning the last four...Lundqvist is now 30-10-9 on the season...the lead is now 4 points over the Flyers for the Division lead...the Rangers will face Eastern Conference leaders Ottawa tomorrow night...