The look on Tampa Bay Goalie Mike Smith's face said it all. You couldn't see it, but you knew it was there. Rangers' Bad Boy Sean Avery had just scored on him—a penalty shot, no less.
And there was a confused and flustered look from Smith afterwards.
It is akin to the look that Rangers fans have had all season long.
Generally there is a similarity that runs through games, but with the prior two matches the Rangers have had against Tampa Bay, there was really no clear similarity. In fact, they were on opposite sides of the polar spectrum of the way games could go, with the home team winning in a blowout.
When the Rangers went down 2 - 0 on goals by Steve Stamkos, the Rangers looked to be back to their other, more slothful team identity.
Then the other team came out for the second period, the one we saw fight their way to an overtime victory in Pittsburgh two nights prior.
Sean Avery opened the scoring after embellishing a hook just enough to get awarded a penalty shot.
Vinny Prospal then stuffed the tying goal behind Smith. Personally, this writer loves it when Prospal scores, specifically. He looks like a little kid that just got his birthday gift, his christmas gift, and a lollipop all at the same time.
Then, enter Erik Christiansen.
Christiansen has been struggling to stay afloat in the NHL, and has made no secret that he is treating this season as his "last chance." Honestly, he continues to work hard night after night, and should be considered part of the solution here in New York, rather than part of the problem.
Unfortunately, Christiansen has had very little to show for his effort here in New York. However, his effort alone has been admirable, and wondrous to watch. After this game, he definitely has seen the fruits of his labor pay off. Before, he scored the two goals needed to put the nail in the Tampa Bay coffin, his last two goal game was in 2007.
For once, promise met production and these Rangers were good to see.
Also of note:
Assistant coach Mike Sullivan indicated that the Rangers are planning on stepping away from the coaching staff for a bit during the break. Hopefully, they will return with a renewed commitment. Their next game is March 2nd, in Ottawa against the Senators.
On that note, Coach John Tortorella added: "I'm sick of looking at them, and they're sick of looking at me... We need to be apart for a bit."
Sullivan also spoke about new Ranger Jody Shelley. He said that not only is he a tough guy on the ice, but he is also an important locker room voice. As planned, Donald Brashear, who had the enforcer role before Shelley, was demoted to Hartford.
Chris Drury's empty net goal gave him both 600 total career points and 250 career goals.
The hockey game marriage proposal has been a long tried and true tradition. Yesterday, a rare one occurred. When the proposal went up on the jumbo-tron, the blushing bride to be put her hand over her face, shook her head no, and bolted (no pun intended) from her seat.