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Rangers play 7-Up with Jackets

November 24, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments

Unbelievable. Unpredictable. Ridiculous. Just a few words that sum up last nights 7-4 Ranger win over the Blue Jackets at MSG. Remarkably, the Rangers played 7-Up with the Jackets, scoring their most goals since an early rout of Toronto in which they hit seven during a seven-game win streak when things looked more promising.

That they scored seven defied logic. Especially with how ice cold the club had been (18 in previous 10). Entering the contest, nobody was scoring outside super tandem Marian Gaborik and Vinny Prospal. So, what changed yesterday after Columbus fourth line got two quickies from Derek MacKenzie (1st) and tough guy Jared Boll (2nd)? For starters, John Tortorella immediately called timeout following the disturbing second in which another turnover put his team down two to predictable jeers. It looked like they were going to get the doors blown off. So, it was a wise decision which oddly enough, the fiery coach didnt scream at them, instead giving words of encouragement.

???I didn???t think we were playing that badly,??? he said. ???We had some breakdowns in the defensive zone and they scored. I told them to take a deep breath. There is a lot of hockey left, and we found a way to come back.???

Fortunately, he turned out to be a prophet as the Blueshirts got back to dictating play with an effective forecheck that had been lacking for what felt like ages. Not shockingly, his top gun cameback with the first of two to slice the deficit in half. Playing with Chris Higgins, who was very good, the trio had a great shift winning corner battles before Prospal fed Gaborik for his 17th. Back in business, they carried momentum forward getting it tied up 2:08 later thanks to excellent work from The Big Ticket, who combined with Wade Redden to setup rookie pivot Artem Anisimov for his fifth.

It looked like they scored twice but Steve Mason pulled a puck which was on the line out. With the Rangers all over the Jackets, eventually the puck came to a vacated Redden, who sent a wrister which both Gaborik and Anisimov double deflected past Mason for the equalizer. Originally, it read Artie from Redden and Gabby. But they later changed it. With Columbus reeling, a brutal turnover allowed Mike Del Zotto to toast Anton Stralman before firing a wicked laser for his fifth unassisted at 17:19. This was sheer genius. Especially on a night Brian Leetch was in the building at ice level making his MSG debut. Figure the highlight reel goal to get replayed plenty. Just like that, theyd reversed the first and led 3-2.

It only got better in a dominant second in which the Rangers outscored Columbus 4-1 outshooting them 15-4, scoring the first three in a 71 second span. The goal party started after Donald Brashear and the fourth line drew a roughing minor on Rick Nash, who had a forgettable game finishing minus-four while getting shutout. On the ensuing power play, P.A. Parenteau was sprung for a breakaway but flubbed the initial shot while also missing the rebound. But the puck came behind the net to Sean Avery, who quickly stuffed a backhand that was in. As he and mates celebrated, the whistle blew and it went upstairs confirming the obvious. A bad goal for last years struggling Calder winner to allow, ending his night. His teammates never recovered.

???The biggest thing was coming back from that 2-0 deficit. It???s a big boost to our confidence,??? Avery assessed after another strong game in which he finally was rewarded. ???It???s only one game. We can be happy about the fact that we got some goals from other guys, but it???s got to be a consistent thing.???

In fact, he lit the lamp again on the next shift when Columbus fell asleep- allowing Gaborik and Anisimov to combine to find the Grate One for a tap-in 53 seconds later. Why Ken Hitchcock didnt call for time is beyond us. It was evident that his guys were lost and needed to regroup like our team in the first. Perhaps Captain Kangaroo was in a giving mood with the holiday season upon us. No surprise that only 20 seconds later off another dreadful turnover, Higgins found Gaborik for an easy one which you or I couldve finished. His 18th tied him with Dany Heatley for the league lead. In fact, his two markers and two helpers were his first four-point game as a Ranger. In 21 games thus far, the Big Ticket is 18-14-32 and plus-eight. How special has he been? Only twice has he failed to register a point. During a seven-game point streak, hes produced 13 points (7-6-13). Imagine if he had a better supporting cast.

Trailing by three, Boll tried to get something going when he challenged Aaron Voros in what amounted to an entertaining scrap which Voros got the takedown in. It was his second straight win. Putting the cherry on top was Matt Gilroy, who took a perfect no look backhand Parenteau feed catching the BJs in a line change, springing the Hobey Baker winner for a breakaway in which he deked poor backup Mathieu Garon out of his jock for his third. For sure, he looked like a forward who converted to D. Maybe even giving Tort another option if they ever are in the dreaded skill competition again. Parenteaus two assists were his first career multi-point game. Also getting his career high third point with a secondary was Anisimov, who earned No.3 Star.

It just tells you that the scoring is here,??? Prospal pointed out. ???This has got to be a habit. It can???t just be one game. This puts the pressure on us to do it again next game.???

Kristian Huselius got one back with 1:12 left when he went high, glove on Henrik Lundqvist, who even in a blowout fought it. Antoine Vermette and Mike Commodore got helpers. Lundqvist also permitted a Jakub Voracek rebound goal 8:13 into the final stanza that made it interesting following Bolls second scrap- a wrestling match with Brashear in which he wanted no part of him. Though the Jackets played better outshooting the Rangers 15-8, it was as close as they got with Lundqvist (26 saves-14 in 3rd) sharpening to give the home club a badly needed victory.

???It was a sloppy game. It was a weird game. It wasn???t a great goalie game,??? Lundqvist duly noted. ???What???s important is we didn???t panic after the second goal.???

BONY 3 Stars:

3rd Star-Jared Boll, CBJ (goal/assist, 2 scraps, Gordie Howe hat trick, 10 PIM, 2 hits, +3 in 11 shifts-5:52)

2nd Star-Avery-Anisimov-Parenteau, NYR (3-4-7, 8 SOG, 5 hits-Avery, +4)

1st Star-Marian Gaborik, NYR (2 goals-17th, 18th, 2 A, 3 SOG, +3 in 18:53)

readers comments
  1. Hasan on November 24th, 2009 7:44 pm

    I didnt think Steve Mason would turn into the next Jim Carey but its sure looking that way so far.

  2. Derek Felix on November 25th, 2009 2:53 am

    Its disappointing. 2nd years are so tough to predict. One team in our league protected him and let Kipper go after an off year. My brother got him 1st Rd and they joked. Then wound up dropping Mason. He just is going through it. How mentally tough is he? Can he handle it? Well see.

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