I apologize for being a couple days late in post-game blogging (at least for Friday's game) but I think I needed a little break after that game. I mean seriously, didn't you?
Friday versus New Jersey. I don't often watch games in bars. I'm usually home or at the arena. But I think it's a practice I might start employing more often, especially with the way the Rangers have been playing this year.
I certainly did not want the Rangers to lose against NJ. Those losses are harder for me to take than losses to Philly or even the Islanders. But...if they were going to lose to them, let it be in a way that was so absurd and insane as what we saw Friday night. And it was certainly both - absurd and insane.
I didn't make it to the bar on time because, well traffic sucks, but I had looked down at my XM Radio to see the Devils got the first goal, and that the Rangers team was trailing 2-1, end of 1. I turned on the radio to hear it was a short-handed goal the Devils got, and just shook my head. #9 for those of you keeping track at home.
I got to the bar and my friends and I got primo position in front of a nice big screen. I got my beer, got my food, and watched what can only be described as hilarity ensue. Honestly.
The Rangers would go on to give up another shorthanded goal (for a total of 10 on the year), and 8 goals to their cross river rivals.
Ask yourself this, what was most shocking: Hank Lundqvist giving up 8 goals or the New Jersey Devils scoring 8 goals?
A tossup, for sure.
So I' m not positive whether it was after the Devils 4th or 5th goal, but I just started laughing at every goal being scored. Rangers or Devils. My two friends were unsure of why, but we made the best of it. Let me say, while not an advocate for it, it was certainly a game that I was happy to be drinking during. A little buzz helped to not take what was happening so seriously.
My one friend bet me a beer the Rangers would come back - to win. I said, no way.
The Rangers kept scoring. My two friends kept celebrating. I kept laughing. I think most fans thought it would at least be a low scoring game. The fact that the Rangers and Devils were scoring so much was baffling to me. And, again, somewhat funny.
My favorite moment came when a very inebriated older woman came over after the Rangers 4th or 5th goal and said with an excited look "who scored? New Jersey?" and my friends and I just looked at her and shook our heads and saying "NO" with such honest conviction, the look on her face as it fell and she walked away was priceless.
Buzzed escapades aside, this game brought a few career numbers to the surface.
-It was the first time since October of 1993 that the Devils scored two short handed goals in o.ne game.
-Zach Parise's 4 assists were a career high.
-Brian Gionta's 4 points tied his career best.
-13 goals combined between the two teams was the most since 1986.
-Lundqvist gave up 4+ goals to NJ for the first ever time, and tied his career high for goals against with 8. [and gave up 17 in his last three games combined].
I had a chance, just earlier today, to review the goals in the comfort of my living room. I do not think, as I didn't in the bar, that Hank should be considered solely responsible for them all. No way. The first shorthanded goal, he should have had, but Hank - for all his amazement in shootouts - is kinda lousy at one on one breakaways. That was a weak goal, to me.
The 2nd one was okay. The 3rd, 6th, and 7th, certainly, were poor defensive zone coverage. On the 7th, it appeared the entire team was flatfooted and standing around. Defensive marks were missed all over the place. The 8th and final goal, well it was just an absurd and insane mess. End of story.
Look, I'm not saying anything that hasn't already been said. The two short handed goals cannot happen. The all time NHL record is 22. The Rangers, with 10 as of December 12th, have a VERY good chance of beating that record. And the only consolation to that stat is the last team to do it was the 95-96 Avalanche, who won the Cup that year. So...stranger things. But it's still nothing to be proud of!
Their powerplay went 0-9 on Friday against NJ. That brought it to 0-14 in their last three games. I'm pretty sure going into Saturday's game that made them around 26th in the league.
Again, I'm shocked at the score, the game, everything. While you can credit the Rangers for coming back and not lying down after getting so far behind, that's not really addressing the problems. They are not going to win by having such a horrible horrible horrible powerplay.
And kudos to NJ. I mean they looked sharp. On every puck. Moving quickly. Getting into lanes. Not giving up. They have played so well since Brodeur went down with is elbow injury, I am quite frankly shocked.
I'm of course naueseated beyond belief that even NJ can score more goals than us. . .but that is neither here nor there.
Absurdity and insanity disguised as a hockey game. There is not much else to say.