Do you know which Ranger is tied with Brendan Shanahan for the team lead in goals. Superstar Jagr? Nope. Speedster Gomez? Nope.
Its actually Michael Rozsival.
Do you know who scored the only overtime goal for the Rangers this season. Mr. Clutch Drury? Nope. Legendary Brendan Shanahan? Nope.
Its actually Jason Strudwick.
Dont forget Daniel Girardi and Fedor Tyutin who both have 2 goals on the season. Or Marc Staal who picked up his first career goal a few nights ago in New Jersey.
Dont either forget that the Rangers have allowed the fewest goals against of any team in the league. Only 38 in 20 games. Less than 2 goals per.
What you should forget is those claims you made before the season. Remember? You said the Rangers were great but had a gaping hole at defense. Forget that. Start wondering if they have the best.
And it was that defense that won the 5th straight game for the Rangers tonight. That completes the 4 game road trip with a 4-0 record. That gives the Rangers 9 wins out of their last ten. That puts them at 1st place in the Atlantic with a 12-7-1 record.
Remember that team that was 2-5-1. Kinda scary, huh?
Of course, this game didnt begin well as the Penguins got off to a quick start. First Crosby made a gorgeous pass on a short-handed 2 on 1 to Maxim Talbot for an effortless tip in. And then he gets one of his own from the side of the net as he scored over the pad and past the glove of Lundqvist at a ridiculous angle.
At that point, I thought of a great title for tonight's blog. "Crosby Is'nt Human."
But suddenly he was. The Pens went into the break with a comfortable 2-0 lead and all of the momentum on their side. And came out flat. Crosby was a non-factor for the rest of the game. There was light.
Rozsival put the Rangers on the board early when Dubinsky set him up for a one-timer as he cut in from the point. Momentum began to shift. The Rangers were swarming. The Penguins were tired.
Penalty. On the Rangers. Momentum killer, right?
Staal steals the puck. Down the right wing to Avery. 3 on 2. Rozsival the trailer. Gets the puck. Quick snap shot.
And were all tied up. Who would have thought? Not me. If Rozsival scores once more the blog title will become "Coming Up Rozses."
Late in the 2nd. Rangers on a power play. They have been bad with the man advantage all night. Prucha down the middle and in on a rush. Pass left to Girardi. Wrist shot.
Perfect! Top shelf over the left shoulder of a sliding M.A. Fleury.
3-2 heading into the break. That is: 3-2 in favor of the Ranger's defense.
The Pens wouldn't give up. They worked for the entire 3rd period and were rewarded when Petr Sykora tied the game at 3. Time runs off the clock. Going to overtime.
Rangers should play conservative and get to a shootout. They have been great in those.
Don't think so.
Good pressure by the Rangers. Gomez steal the puck. Ahead to Mara who leads the rush. Cross-ice pass. Through the legs of Orpik. In front of Sykora. Right to the stick of Strudwick. The puck, the player and the unoccupied goal-mouth all arrive at the same time. Redirection.
Final score: Rangers Defense: 4. Crosby and the Pens: 3. OT
Who would have thought in this crazy season that the Rangers offense would struggle and the defense would flourish.
But then again, who would have thought that the Rangers could go 10-2 after being written off as over-paid and over-rated after 8 games.
Who would have thought that those last place Rangers would have the sole possesion of 1st in the Atlantic only 12 games later.
Who would have thought that those Rangers would be on pace for 100 points at the quarter pole.
Its just hockey, I guess.
And I love it!