Welcome Rangers' fans to the Live Game Blog!
The Rangers take on the Thrashers tonight in Atlanta in what needs to be two points for New York.
We're going to get started here in about an hour, but I wanted to drop in early to give you the itinerary for the evening.
I will be updating throughout the game on different events, opinions, and observations.
During stoppages and between periods, I will drop by the comments to address any questions, thoughts, or intuitive debate.
It should be a good time and I am looking forward to interacting with the great readership here at Blueshirt Bulletin.
See you in an hour!
7:06 - Valliquette to start tonight as the other lines remain the same. Updates to appear at the bottom.
7:10 - Remember when Avery scored off the boards? Classic Avery. Unfortunately, he disappeared after the Atlanta series.
7:11 - Callahan has established himself as a top forechecker. He always seems to be the first to the puck.
7:12 - Poor plays in his own zone by Nik Zherdev as rookie Mike Sauer and Valliquette bail him out. Penalty on Paul Mara as he took down Colby Armstrong.
7:13 - Atlanta penalty for tripping. Four-on-four. Good play by Lauri Korpikoski to block the pass across.
7:14 - No goal by Atlanta's Zach Bogosian as a quick whistle prevents a rebound goal.
7:15 - Interference on Ilya Kovalchuk as he took down Marc Staal. Rangers will have a 30 second 5-on-3.
7:16 - Another Atlanta penalty as Ron Hainsey shoots the puck out for delay of game. Despite an overwhelming start by Atlanta, Rangers have a tremendous opportunity.
7:17 - A bad penalty by the Rangers on the 5-on-3 for too many men.
7:18 - Possible goal by Chris Drury. It seemed kind of high. Quick poll: goal or no goal?
7:19 - I vote no goal, regrettably.
7:24 - As expected, no goal. A crazy first five minutes.
7:29 - All the penalties end. No goals (surprise, surprise) for the Rangers, but perhaps that lengthy goal review settled them down a bit.
7:31 - No comments yet. A little surprised...
7:33 - Quick poll: Would you trade Zherdev and Rozsival to sign Morris and Gaborik?
7:40 - The game has quieted considerably.
7:44 - Goaltender interference call on Sean Avery. Bit of a phantom call. These goaltender interference calls need to stop. Lehtonen embellished and it makes the game look amateur.
7:45 - 2-on-1 for Callahan and Korpikoski, but Callahan gets a little too fancy and results in no shot on net.
7:47 - Good penalty kill. It's amazing that the league's top penalty killing team is also one of the worst on the power play.
7:49 - Goal by Zherdev late in the period. Nice recovery within the period for Zherdev. Once he gets going with the puck, his possession is unmatched.
7:51 - Rangers lead 1 - 0 after one period. Good period by Valliquette and the Rangers settled down after a very rocky start. Back in the intermission after some dinner. Let's get those comments going!
FIRST INTERMISSION: First, comment responses.
@ Vince, I am looking into it. It was my understanding that the penalty could have been interference for for pushing the defenseman, or perhaps roughing. However, since it happened in the crease, it's possible that that was the reason for the call.
@Ros, it was a hypothetical. Due to the salary cap contraints, it would take about $7.5 million to sign Gaborik and re-sign Morris. Zherdev will be looking in the $2.5 - $3 million range and Rozsival makes $5 million. What are your thoughts?
On the Trivia Quiz: My vote is for Brandon Dubinsky, but Orr is possible as well. Girardi had some injury trouble.
8:09 - For Vince, the following is what I found:
Goaltender interference is a penalty and offensive in ice hockey whereby a player is found in the goal crease when a goalie is establishing their position in the same area.
Under the NHL rule book (# 78), this will result in a minor penalty to the offending player and goal being disallowed if the player a scored upon as a result of being in the goal crease.
Wikipedia is always reliable.
8:10 - Rangers power play as Zherdev draws a hooking call. Hedberg now in net for Atlanta.
8:11 - Another Rangers penalty on their own power play as Callahan is called for tripping. The Rangers are still lacking focus.
8:12 - Cutter's response is a classic!
8:14 - Couple great saves by Valliquette.
8:17 - Atlanta ties it up with a slap shot from the point by Kozlov. Missed coverage by Korpikoski. If you have time, look at the Rangers individual +/-, it's very drastic!
8:18 - Drury comes back with a nice rush and draws a penalty. Now would be a good time to use all of the power play without taking a penalty.
8:19 @ Vince - I agree. Sauer played no specialty teams against Minnesota. It may also be trying to give the defense some rest. Lot of games coming up.
8:22 - Mara cut on a high stick by Reasoner. 4 minutes of power play time, but it only means something if the Rangers capitalize.
8:24 - Rangers can't capitalize on the 5-on-3 and Naslund takes a penalty. Incredibly undisciplined.
8:25 - @Vince - I couldn't agree more. It's a bunch of individual efforts on the PP.
8:26 - Another penalty as Atlanta's Kozlov elbows Callahan. Is it just me or is the NHL turning into the NBA and NFL with all these penalties?
8:29 - Antropov tips in a Drury shot to score on the PP. Rangers lead 2 - 1.
8:31 - The lamp lights again as Drury hits a slapshot low and the Rangers lead 3 - 1. Outstanding assist by Valliquette.
8:36 - Nice couple minutes by Staal. Now that he has some creative license, his real skill and stride is being showcased.
8:37 - @LW3H - Probably. He and Zherdev have done some uncharacteristic things since Tortorella took over.
8:40 - Redden has come along nicely under Torts.
8:41 - Naslund scores on a rebound off a Drury shot. Nice way to follow to the net. It all happened because Redden made an outstanding play in his own end. 4 - 1 Rangers.
8:43 - Final guesses on the trivia quiz?
8:44 - Rangers can't make it easy as Kovalchuk scores late to make it 4 - 2.
8:45 - End of the period. Rangers need to maintain their pace and not let up despite the 2 goal lead.
SECOND INTERMISSION: Enjoyed the comments. Keep em' up. Couple notes: Rangers had some nice offensive opportunities, but I am still not 100% comfortable with their system in their own zone. Maybe it's a new coach thing, maybe it's a learning thing, but they can't be giving up such easy goals at inopportune times. That's critical in the playoffs. It should be an exciting ending.
9:04 - Little with the BIG shot. Sorry, I couldn't resist.
9:07 - Bad goal against by Valliquette. It's not 4 - 3. Complexion of the entire game just changed. Hang on Rangers fans. Just don't think of Toronto. Or Montreal. Or Gaborik in Minnesota...uh oh.
9:08 - The NHL's greatest rivalry : Sean Avery and Ilya Kovalchuk?
9:12 - Bad miss on the high stick on Antropov, but made up on Morris. Rangers have another 5-on-3 to try and do something with.
9:15 - And another bad 2 man advantage. Rather, disadvantage.
9:15 - Vince said it best.
9:19 - Rangers holding on as Atlanta continues to pressure. This is the flaw with the offensive system!
9:24 - The fans of MSG should invest in oxygen and Zanex.
9:25 - @ Vince - Vince, do you feel the 5-on-3 can be changed with this group of players? It's an interesting debate: system or players?
9:26 - Unbelievable. 4 - 4. More poor defensive coverage.
9:28 - @ Ros - Would this be a Torts mistake in not starting Hank?
9:30 - Anyone else hoping to just get a point out of this?
9:34 - 1:14 minutes left. Here's to hoping for a point! Bottoms up!
9:36 - One point secured. The other up for grabs. I am not so confident. With all that open ice in OT, Kovalchuk has some ability to create.
9:39 - Rangers have to pressure Hedberg.
9:40 - Another Callahan-caused turnover.
9:42 - Awful giveaway by Girardi.
9:44 - Important icing.
9:45 - Another shootout. Predictions?
9:47 - The Rangers can't be favored here. Atlanta has some strong offensive and skillful players. Combine that with momentum and the presence of Valliquette instead of Hank, and it's not going to be easy for the Rangers.
9:48 - @ Vince - Agreed. Interesting battle.
9:49 - Save by Valley.
9:50 - Hedberg matches on Naslund. 0 - 0 after one round.
9:50 - Valley strong again. Antropov misses against Hedberg. Still 0 - 0 after two.
9:51 - Kovalchuk hits the post!
9:51 - Drury went too low. Tied after three rounds.
9:51 - Perrin takes a few fancy moves, but Valley stays strong.
9:51 - Callahan hits the post!
9:52 - Another save by Valley!
9:52 - Sjostrom shoots into Hedberg.
9:53 - Todd White scores for Atlanta. The pressure is on.
9:53 - Gomez misses and Atlanta completes the comeback. Despicable result for the Rangers.
First, thanks to all who hung out here at Blueshirt Bulletin tonight. It was a lot of fun despite the terribly disappointing result. In all honesty, the Rangers didn't deserve the second point and will now need to work real hard against some division rivals to try and make the playoffs.
The whole team really let down after the three goal lead, coining the phrase "dreaded three-goal lead." At this stage of the season, such a letdown and total lack of focus and concentration is unacceptable.
Not one player stood up (or stood out positively) in the third period. They merely held on and hoped to get to OT. That's not how you win. Not how you win the big ones.
Now the Rangers can look to red-hot Pittsburgh, division-leading New Jersey, two against rival Philadelphia, Eastern Conference leading Boston, streaking Carolina, and unpredictable Montreal.
How good would have two points looked tonight?
A little surprised that Nik Zherdev wasn't chosen for the shootout. Granted, Tortorella wanted to use his veterans, but Zherdev's skill is too strong to overlook.
On the bright side, they got a point, which continues to separate them from the lower teams.
Thanks again for everyone stopping by, hopefully we can do this again before the playoffs(?).
I'll leave the comments open overnight for venting, questions, and debate. Keep it clean and we'll be back for a full recap in the morning once the sting wears off.
As always, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.