Thursday, December 16, 2010, New York Rangers vs. Phoenix Coyotes:
Yesterday evening, the New York Rangers came back to the Garden in search for their third straight win. After their impressive wins over NHL powerhouses, Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, respectively, the Rangers were coming home with all the momentum. All that stood in their way was, Western Conference foe, the Phoenix Coyotes. After coming off of a devestating 3-0 defeat to one of the NHL's worst teams, the New Jersey Devils, the Coyotes were going to make sure they will be firing on all cyclinders. Not only does the Rangers have a fired up Coyotes team to face but they also have their losing home record (7-8-1) looming over their heads.
Top 2 advantages coming into Thursdays matchup:
-Momentum of a 2 game win streak against Penguins and Capitals
-Total of 11 goals scored in 2 games
-Fire and determination after a disappointing lose to the Devils
-The Rangers poor home record
When the puck is dropped at the start of yesterdays matchup, Ranger fans including myself, are excited to see how bad the Rangers were going to beat the Coyotes. Surely after beating teams like the Penguins and Capitals by such lopsided margins, there is no way the Coyotes were going to come into their house and knock them around. Especially after they get shut out by the Devils. Come on.
It took only a minute into the game for the Rangers to take their first penatly (Boyle, Interference). It also only took a minute and a half for the Coyotes to notch the first goal of the game (Pyatt). This is something we can deal with. It's the New York Rangers for God's sake. If they are not losing at one point in the game, then there is definelty something to be worried about. Although, I have to admit when the Coyotoes scored their second goal (Aucoin) only four minutes later, I joined in the chanting of "we want Hank" with the rest of Ranger fans. The way this game started out, it looked as if we were witnessing the start of an onslaught. It was not until a bright light peaked through a crack in the MSG ceiling directly onto Dan Girardi. A beautiful top shelf wrister would put the Rangers within one, 2-1. End of 1st period.
Sadly, the first half of the second period would look gravely similiar to the first half of the first period. Almost at the half way point of the period, the Coyotoes score another power play goal (Hanzal) which, in my opinion and probably others, left the Rangers looking confused and just plain embarrasing. I'll give the Coyotes credit it was a well set up and executed goal. With two minutes remaining in the second period, Dubinsky takes a tripping penalty to put the Rangers down a man for the third time in the game. This is getting me nervous because not only is the score 3-1 but the Coyotes are 2-for-2 on the powerplay. The way the penalty killers are playing, I see no reason why the Coyotes can't go up 4-1. Making a comeback that much more "improbable." But wait...as i looked up, I see another light coming from a new crack in the celing and it is shinning right onto Brandon Prust, the man with two short handed goals on the season. As the seconds are ticking away, a folley made by Coyote's goalie, Jason LaBarbera, leads to a Prust short handed goal to put the Rangers within one, once again. 3-2. End of 2nd period.
The importance of Brandon Prust's short handed goal at the end of the second would change the course of the game. This goal gave the Ranger's Faithful...faith. The way the Rangers have been playing in the third period of games make you feel as if they just play like that every period, every night, they would be unstoppable.
Chance after chance would show that the Rangers are getting closer and closer to that coveted tying goal. Who would be the hero?
With six minutes left in the final period of the game, newly healed Chris Drury wins a clean faceoff to Michael Rosival...SHOOT! SHOOT! As the shot is taken, Ranger fowards, Sean Avery, Chris Drury and Derek Stepan rush to the net. Sticks from both teams trying to hit the rebound away and towards the net. But leave it to one man...wait...I'll give you some hints: he is American (that cancels out Avery) and he has never scored at MSG (well that only leaves one person). The future of the Rangers organization, rookie sensation, Derek Stepan! This goal felt like the Rangers just won the cup (I wish). 3-3. End of 3rd period
The overtime came and went with no team crowned winner. There is only one way to decide this.....to the shootout.
First up and with the only goal in the shootout: Erik "Shootout Wizard" Christensen. With a nasty, filthy move he beats LaBarbera (who, by the way, was on his stomach by the end of Christensen's move.)
Biron does a great job redeeming himself with a fantastic display in the shootout.
Shame on us for losing faith in the, "New York Come Back Kids."
RANGERS WIN! RANGERS WIN.