Blue Shirts Overcome to Win 3rd Straight
After smacking the Edmonton Oilers around last night and all of the drama that caused, the Rangers headed out on the road for their first match-up of the season against divisional rival Pittsburgh. Believe me when I say I wished the Rangers had saved a couple of the 8 goals they scored on Edmonton for the Penguins. The Rangers were outclassed from a skill perspective but still hung tough until the officiating tried it's damnedest to give the game to Sid "the Whiner" Crosby and his buddies. My apologies, Quinn.
The Rangers were outplayed through much of the game yet still led 1 - 0 after an Erik Christensen goal. Hank was outstanding and the Rangers were ready to sacrifice everything to come away with the victory. Dan Girardi was badly bloodied following a deflected puck to the face. That exemplifies what this Rangers squad has to do to keep up with the best teams in this league.
I won't get into the officiating much but suffice it to say it was abysmal tonight. The Penguins had 6 power plays tonight; the Rangers zero. That shouldn't be possible in a NHL game. The specific calls I will leave to the individual.
The Rangers, despite being out-shot 12 - 5 in the first, 24 - 14 after 2 and 39 - 25 for the game still found a way to carry a 1 - 0 lead until the 17:29 mark of the 3rd when Chris Kunitz banged home a loose puck to even the score.
Just :27 later, Hank let in what looked to me to be a softy on a Matt Cooke shot from the LW. Really, it had to be Cooke; I hate that guy. To me he is worse than Sean Avery. Maybe, maybe more on that later. Like tomorrow or the next day.
After the goal, Hank broke his stick over the goal and flung it in disgust. I'm sure it was done in a combination of anger of the poor officiating and the weak goal against. Regardless, Hank was accessed a penalty. That may be the first time I've seen a penalty given to a goalie for demonstrating frustration.
Regardless, the Rangers were down 2 - 1 with around 2 minutes left and were killing a penalty. Somehow, the Rangers were able to gain possession of the puck and head down ice where a Brandon Dubinsky throw at the net was put in by Marc Staal, yes Marc Staal, cashed in and tied the contest again, this time at 2.
The Blue Shirts were able to hold off the Penguins for the remainder of the period and head to overtime having gained at least a point.
But 1 point wasn't all the Rangers would earn this night. After a turnover and Milan Michalek falling down in OT, Dubi and Ryan Callahan skated into the offensive zone on a 2 on 1. Dubi faked the defenseman down and out and passed the puck to Cally who easily beat Marc-Andre Fleury for the game winning goal.
So, a game the Rangers were outclassed by a more skilled team, and a game in which the officiating was horribly one-sided, the Rangers were able to find a way to win against a bitter rival and on the road.
This was a tremendous win for the Rangers and hopefully a step in the right direction for this team. Hank was brialliant and the Rangers played a gutsy game.