The New York Rangers battled the Philadelphia Fliers yesterday, in a game that had a hair pulling, nerve racking ending!
Henrik Lundqvist by far was the star of yesterday’s game for the Rangers. Battling his opponents, as well as having to deal with a his own teams failing defense. This has been Henriks worst season in the four years he has been the goalie for the Blue Shirts and yesterdays game he needed all the luck and skill he can muster, Or did he have an angel on his shoulder .
The Rangers controlled the first two periods. Chris Drury again playing on the fourth line, scored for his second goal in two games. Seems the pressure is off Drury playing on that line as he is playing with a little bit more step in his game. But Drury was not the star , nor did he stand out in yesterday’s game. Although he made some very nice defensive plays and scored the first goal of the game, there was three other players that out shined him.
Michal Rozsival played his best game of the season. He was more physical, had several takeaways and shot the puck every chance he could. For the first time this season, he showed patience when controlling the puck and took his time when passing and shooting the puck. He made several very good defensive plays. He did more in this game than he has all season. He earned his 25 minutes of ice time and if he can up the tempo in his physical play, Rosy just might turn his season around for him self. Like Del Zotto, Rosy found his way deep into the offensive zone several times and added to the offensive threat. It is only one game, still a ways to go, but at least he was out there giving his all and he did a very good job. His efforts should be recognized.
Sean Avery was another player that stood out in this game. Every time a Fliers Player had the puck, there was Avery taking it away from them or providing solid fore checking . He may not have scored a goal, but Avery’s play definitely was positive and helped the Rangers win.
The fourth star for the Rangers has to be Artem Anisimov who played an outstanding game. The 21 year old rookie has most definitely be one of the better players on this Ranger team. He was all over the ice, checking, back checking , takeaways, and scored the Rangers winning goal, which is his second in two games as well. Artem like Avery, was dominating when he was on the ice. He showed some explosive speed and was rewarded with the goal. Artem played 13 minutes, 6 minutes more then his usual. He needs to see more ice time.
The second period went well for the Rangers as well. They controlled the action for most of the period and allowed Philly limited spurts of offense through out the first two periods.
With out Kotalik and Redden the Rangers managed to come away with two wins. Will Tortorella continue to ride the victories with the players he has been using, or will he bring back the plagued Redden. Tortorella played Heikkinen for 6 minutes, that has to changed in order to keep Redden out.
The third period turned into a disaster as Philly turned up the tempo of the game. The last 8 minutes of the game was played in the Rangers zone. Henrik played awesome but had little help. How they came away with the win is really a mystery because Philly really took it to them. Lundqvist stopped 16 shots in the 3rd where as the Rangers for the third game in a row, had minimal shots, only had 5. Philly totally dominated the 3rd period and with 20 seconds left in the game Marion Gaborik takes a penalty and the Rangers are faced with a 6 on 4 in their own zone. Shot after shot Philly Pressured and if not for Hank , the Fliers would have tied the game.
The Rangers played solid 40 minutes . They came away with a tough win. They are missing that one or even two big defenseman in their own zone. But their defense as a whole played ok. They tried to match toughness with Philly and for the first two periods were pretty successful as they took the game to the more Physical Fliers.
Tomorrow night the Rangers will be playing the troubled Carolina Hurricanes. The Rangers should come away with the win. Tortorella should also play Johnson to see how he does. Hopefully the Rangers can get this 3rd win . It will definitely help with their confidence, and allow them to catch up to the leaders in what is a troubled conference where it seems most of the teams are struggling.