“Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.” If you are in your late 40’s or older you know exactly what I am talking about. For those of you who don’t need Duanne Reade readers to read this article let me explain. It was the first of many catchphrases from the now iconic show, Saturday Night Live. It mocked the weeks of media coverage of the Spanish dictator’s impending death and was always the lead for Weekend Update’s anchor Chevy Chase. So
in that spirit… Our top story tonight: NY Ranger Left Wing Sean Avery still has not played a game this season …But that is a story for a different day (Saturday to be exact)
Despite the Sean Avery circus, the Rangers had a game to play tonight.
Coming off an impressive 5-2 win against Mr. Softie’s Joe Thorton’s San Jose Sharks, the Rangers faced off against the Anaheim Ducks,another very well constructed Western Conference team.
Irony is one of the key elements to good literature, good theater and especially in tonight’s first period. How is this for irony: Seconds after word starting circulating in the press box that the Rangers signed 25-year-old free agent Swedish defenseman Anton Stralman to a one-year deal reportedly worth $900,000, the player whose playing time he most likely will be taking, Jeff Woywitka, scored his first goal as a New York Ranger at 17:32 of the first period to give the Rangers the 1-0 lead.
Need more irony? Just wait three seconds later when Andre Deveaux mixed it up with Anaheim tough guy George Parros. The irony here is Ranger fans see Sean Avery’s toughness as a missing ingredient to this team, once again the odd man out here is Deveuax when and if Broadway Sean returns. Lastly the Rangers played the perfect road period, limiting the Ducks to a season low two shots on goal in the first.
The Greek philosopher Aristotle put forth the idea of a three-part view of a plot structure (with a beginning, middle, and end) as the key element to dramatic structure. The Ducks were willing participants in advancing the plot line as they slowly found their game in the middle stanza, outshooting the Rangers 10-9 in the second period. Jonas Hiller and Henrik Lundqvist played their roles as protagonist and antagonist well, obviously who played who clearly is based upon your rooting interests. Both made great glove saves and left no rebounds. To heighten the tension, Bobby Ryan scored late in the second period on a 30-foot wrist shot that sailed over Henrik’s shoulder.
Another wrinkle in the plot line was the loss of Wojtek Wolski with a slight groin pull leaving the Rangers down a man, thus setting up a dramatic conclusion to a very well played, highly entertaining game .
Who would be the hero? Who would be the villain? Would the Garden crowd see a tragic or joyful resolution to the contest.
Shakespeare could not have built more tension if he tried the two teams traded power play chances towards the middle of the contest, both limiting chances until Ryan McDonagh sent a perfect rink long head man pass to Ryan Callahan while the Rangers were shorthanded. Callahan went mano-a-mano on Jonas Hiller who made a great pad save, staying with Callahan all the way.
Not to be out done on the ensuing rush, Lundqvist made a huge save on a deflection in front. With 9:21 left in the game the scoreboard said it all: 1-1 and 23 shots a piece. It was clear that neither team was going to blink.
The game moved into overtime and the Rangers young players took over including the young defensemen getting extra minutes in place of injured defenseman Marc Staal. Ryan Mcdonagh, Micheal Sauer, Michael Del Zotto and Dan Girardi all made key plays in the extra session. When asked about there play Coach John Tortorella said “We don’t talk about it enough, we talk about other stuff but McDonagh, you can just see his confidence growing and growing in all facets. Offensively he is trying to push, you know Micheal Sauer is in the way, Danny Girardi we know about as far as what he can do , and Michael Del Zotto is a very important guy for us right now and I think he has progressed nicely, and he is still playing with the swagger he needs to play with.”
Ryan McDonagh attributes the young cores success to the fact that “We are all pretty competitive and we want the team to be successful and our success is not based on our success alone it’s a five man unit out there an we are pretty focused as a group,and realizing with Staalzy out we need to step up and play better in order to help the team win.”
Artem Anisimov and Derek Stepan also excelled in the overtime, at times leaving the Ducks standing still. Jonas Hiller was heroic for the Ducks and the game would move into the ultimate closing act, the shoot-out.
With Wojtek Wolski out Coach Tortorella asked Erik Christensen if he would like to shoot first. When asked about it after the game Christensen said, “You know I never know what to tell him. I mean your the coach, you know whatever you want, but he asked me. It was the first time he asked me.”
Christensen made the move look great as he slide the puck under Hiller’s outstretched pad with one hand on the backhand side of his stick to gave the Rangers the lead in the shootout. The Ageless wonder Teemu Selanne would even it up, but Marion Gaborik made a series of beautiful moves that gave the Rangers the deciding goal. Henrik Lundqvist would make it stand up for the dramatic shootout win for the New York Rangers.