Now, seriously, are the Oilers big or are the Rangers just small? Umm. Both. First of all, Edmonton is full of players that appear much bigger than their listed heights and weights. No less than three times did I look down and be like, who is that giant guy, and realize each time it was Dustin Penner. So were Tom Gilbert, Sheldon Souray, Zach Stortini, Kyle Brodziak (how cool are those names, btw?), and even Jason Strudwick, the departed Ranger. These guys have size. Even their smaller guys like Sam Gagner, don't play all that small to be honest.
The Rangers on the other hand, well, they are small. I will continue to list our small guys as Prucha, Dawes, Callahan, Drury, Sjostrom, etc. And what's laughable, Sjostrom is listed as the 2nd heaviest guy on the team. Sjostrom. 218 lbs, 6'1". Colton Orr, the heaviest, is 222 and 6'3".
I'm sorry, and I know they pad these things both ways, but does anyone believe that Sjostrom weighs more than Voros or Mara? Honestly. If he is believably, or in actuality, the Rangers second heaviest player, - they do have size issues.
Back to the game at hand. It was, slightly more energized than the tilt in Washington over the weekend. Slightly and at times.
There was a shift 12 minutes into the first by the Naslund/Gomez/Callahan line that made me go, yes, that's how hockey should be played. they had another one 14 minutes into the 2nd that drew a penalty against Edmonton. They, collectively, are looking much better. Callahan has been flying all year. But Naslund looks so much sharper. And Gomez, for the time being, seems to be paired well with them. And that's great. They click. They work. That was good to see.
Because, the rest of the team did not seem to have that strong a step. Lauri Korpikoski, at center, and being called up for the first time this year, tried hard, but got just about 8 minutes of ice time. Dan Fritsche, if nothing else, is a bigger threat right now to create offense because he is one of the bigger, stronger players the Rangers have. I have no problem trying to generate more offense this way.
But yet again, it was a case of too little, too late. Credit Paul Mara (and Callahan for a nice pass) on the Rangers first goal. And I guess credit the 400s because not a minute before Mara scored and throughout the actual goal, they began hum/singing the Rangers goal song. Power of positive thinking, people. For that moment only, it appeared to work.
And i think that's better than the booing, whether it's Michal Rozsival or whomever is on our pathetic powerplay. I'm pretty sure the Rangers know how bad their PP is. To remind them in such loud ways might be counter productive. Boo, and they give up the puck. Be encouraging, and they might just score. Might. No guarantees. But it's been getting worse and worse, the fans, and it's getting to be too much.
Coach Renney jumbled the lines temporarily. I looked down and saw Betts with Korpikoski and Fristche, meaning, yes, the 4th line was dismantled for, well around a minute I guess. I didn't see it again the rest of the night. And that left Orr with Sjostrom and Dubinsky. Interesting.
And speaking of Orr. He had a nice fight with Zach Stortini. And it was refreshing to see Colton not smash Zach's head in from behind, as late in the fight Stortini somehow got spun around so that he was stuck with his back to Orr. Was Orr tired and ready to quit? Perhaps. Do I think it was a slight class move? I choose to see it that way, yes.
Dan Fristche, in for the first time since 11/1 in Toronto, didn't have a bad game. He was on the ice for 8:05. His best moment was getting a shot off with two minutes left in the 2nd from right in front, and being stopped by Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers.
JDD had a pretty great night. He made that save, and about 39 more (he had 40 on the night). Undefeated so far this year, maybe the Oil have found their guy just yet. We'll see. But he did good in the shootout as well, stopping Zherdev, Sjostrom, and Naslund. Hemsky got the lone goal for Edmonton.
Overall, it's good and fine the Rangers were able to scrape a second goal to tie this time around and to pull the game to the shootout, where they were 2--0 on the season before last night. But. . . offense continues to remain a problem. As does team cohesiveness. As does playing a full 60 minutes. As does speed, crisp passes, and tough defensive zone play. And of course the power play.
We'll see who plays, and how they do, tomorrow from The Rock. I'm curious to see.
In randomness, and from NHL.com, "Edmonton's previous win at Madison Square Garden, came exactly five years earlier on Nov. 10, 2003 - a 5-4 victory." Well there you have it. I'm putting money on the Oilers on November 10th, 2013.