Throughout the lockout, many blogs are doing fake recaps of the games that should’ve been taking place. I’ve decided to go another route by doing real recaps…of the games that happened on that date one year ago.
Last season was a special season with many memorable games. I remembered the last three games I wrote about as if they happened yesterday. And I remembered that after beating the Capitals and Flyers, the Rangers went on to beat the Penguins because of course they did. I mean didn’t everyone assume they would take six of six points against those three teams when they first saw the schedule? Yeah, I didn’t either.
There’s one problem. I honestly don’t remember anything else from that Penguins game. I re-read the recap and only one thing stuck out – Matt Cooke having a goal disallowed because it went in off of Michael Sauer. For some reason, I remember that. The rest of the game? Not so much. I’m assuming anyone reading this is in the same boat so thank goodness for videos.
The game started as you would expect an Atlantic division game to start – with punches. Sixteen seconds in, Sean Avery and Tyler Kennedy went after each other and each got two minutes for roughing. Atlantic division rivals only getting two minutes when going after each other? Yeah, that can’t be enough to satisfy them so they stepped out of the box and did this:
I agree with Joe. If you know you’re going to fight the second you hit the ice, just leave your gloves in the penalty box. Or at least your stick. No need to swing that across the ice.
The penalties didn’t stop there as the two teams combined for another seven penalties before the end of the first period, many of which were coincidental minors. Think these two teams hate each other?
Unfortunately one of those penalties led to a power play goal by the Penguins to give them a 1-0 lead after one.
Then something happened in the second period. I don’t know what (especially since I don’t remember the game) but the boys decided they were going to take control of the game. And they did…by scoring four goals in a span of 10:25.
The first was a power play goal by Ryan Callahan at 8:01:
The Rangers were dominant on face-offs? Sorry, I didn’t think there was a single game all season that happened. As for the goal, beautiful play by Gaborik. That wasn’t one Callahan was missing. Love how Richards and Callahan smile and point at Gaborik afterwards.
Six minutes later, it was John Mitchell getting his first goal as a Ranger as well as keeping his and Carl Hagelin’s point streaks alive (they had point in every game since being called up):
I think Hagelin played a little “catch me if you can” as he went up the ice. Can you imagine if he and Kreider get the chance to break in together? Holy smokes, if I were the defenseman I would just roll up in a ball and cry as they passed me.
A minute and a half later, it was Richards turn:
Oh Fleury. The Rangers found your weakness and exploited it.
Two minutes later, the Penguins thought they had gotten within one as Matt Cooke got the puck behind Lundqvist. I can’t find video but if my memory serves me correctly, Cooke batted the puck out of the air with his stick well above the crossbar, it hit Sauer then Lundqvist and bounced in. Since the last Penguin to touch it was Cooke, the goal was disallowed as it was deemed being placed in by a high stick. The Penguins surprisingly didn’t argue the call and after the game Bylsma said “I knew it was a high stick”. Basically, it was a lucky bounce for the Rangers. (Don’t ask why I remember this and none of the other goals shown in this post.)
The Rangers continued their luck a minute later as Gaborik would make it a three goal lead with less than two minutes to go in the period. Good thing he did as this ended up being the game winner:
How did he find that puck? Okay better question, how did he get his stick on the puck the second time? Guess that’s why he gets paid the big bucks.
Of course the Rangers gave one back to the one guy they can’t stop, Evgeni Malkin, with six seconds to go in the period to make it only a two goal lead going into the third.
The Penguins got within one three minutes into the period but fortunately that was all they could get. Helps that they decided to spend the last eight or so minutes of the game in the penalty box therefore only getting three shots on net the whole period. (They went one for three on that period? Not a good twenty minutes Henrik.)
So the Rangers managed to grab six points in three games against the Capitals, Flyers and Penguins after getting none against the Canadiens and Panthers. I will never understand this team. Mitchell said it best after the game:
“Hockey is a game where there’s ups and downs, and right now it’s certainly an up.”
That was an understatement. Next up, a trip to Carolina where the Hurricanes would want revenge for the third period barrage they faced in New York a few weeks earlier. My memory from that game? Another quote from Mitchell after explaining his reaction to having to go to the locker room with a couple minutes to go as blood dripped down his face. In one word, priceless.