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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Snap Shot: Whirlwind Weekend Wrap-Up

What a weekend! Are we all feeling better? Are we a tad more relaxed now that the Rangers are showing consistent grit in full sixty minute efforts? I’m almost happy we’re not blowing teams out. I’d rather be forced to pick up character wins like the one against the Ducks than inflate a team ego by beating up on teams in November. From the Shark win on down to Jets victory, the Rangers have played these past four games with the understanding that those two points are necessities. And I fucking LOVE it! Let’s look back at the blueshirts’ weekend wins…

Saturday was yet another gorgeous fall day in the tri-state area, a perfect setting for a drive into the city. The future Mrs. and I were once again in possession of tickets thanks to the single most awesome season subscriber out there. Section 118, here we come! I had a good feeling about the game; the Habs were on such a hot road streak you just felt they were due for a cooling off. I knew there would be a strong Canadien contingent in attendance, but I was not prepared for the throngs of Francophiles I immediately encountered upon entering the city limits. Even before I parked the car, I saw groups of Habitant supporters huddled in corner bars throughout the east side. Whatever, our Rangers would shut ‘em up on the ice.

And shut ‘em up they did. The three-goal first period was an awesome experience and allowed the Ranger faithful to settle into their seats with smiles, but I’d be a fool not to fear that seemingly safe margin. The Rangers are the kind of team that can blow any lead, so knowledgeable fans shouldn’t have been surprised to see the Canadiens climb back into it. Richards’ wrister late in the second period truly made the difference in the end for New York. It restored their two goal lead and quieted the resurgently annoying Habs fans. Of course our Rangers had to make it exciting at the end. They must have wanted to give every fan one more goal celebration. After Gionta’s slapper was wiped out by Cally’s empty netter, our Rangers were officially on a winning streak.

After Saturday, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s literally no logic to French Canadian fashion or humor. Some dude sitting behind me had a massive cardboard robot head on and blew on a duck hunting whistle from inside of it. Other dudes were wearing bright orange hunting hats and chanting soccer hymns. They are just a confusing group of people and that’s all I have to say about that. Looking back afterwards, I truly don’t know how I would have survived the French if we had lost the game. I guess it just goes to show that in sports, war, and Charlie Sheen catch phrases, winning makes all the difference.

Somewhere in between Saturday and Sunday, the world’s farmers decided they just needed to turn the clocks back and fuck my whole internal sleeping system up. Usually people dig this extra hour of shut-eye, but I don’t roll like that. I’m up every day at 8am whether I like it or not. So when I could no longer access REM and the clock only said 7 o’clock, I was pissed. The extra hour is sleep for most, but added on waiting time until the next Rangers game for me.

I went to Sunday’s game with my good friend George. George is from Georgia (not kidding) and has never been into hockey. I’ve been indoctrinating him since his arrival in the north, but hadn’t gotten the opportunity to take him to the Garden until that day. He went to a Thrashers-Bruins game back in the day, so Sunday was going to be his first real pro hockey game. Ironically enough, the blueshirts were up against the formerly known as Atlanta franchise, so we had some semblance of a logical story line there. Luckily for George, he was in attendance with THE Phil Osgood, barstool writer and creator of Puck My Life: The Hockey Show for General Sports fans (watch my video, ya jerks). Before we even reached the rink, he was fully caught up on the entire Rangers season as well as all pertinent facts coming into Sunday’s test. The Rangers are on a hot streak and rolling at home; the Jets are a mediocre team in the middle of a road trip who we’ve already beaten in less favorable circumstances. No need to buy a program, big guy, you got me to help inform you. We drank a lot, socialized with the section’s citizens and enjoyed ourselves throughout the tight contest.

Anisimov’s crease save in that first period pile-up was a game changer, and it certainly felt like we dodged a bullet on that very late whistle. Chances were few and far between, but it did feel like a fragile score line that the Rangers could easily be down in. By the time the second period rolled around, I was aching for a Rangers red-lighter. As I munched my way through a box of chicken fingers and fries, I felt it coming. The Rangers were on the power-play and I knew we’d be scoring in a matter of seconds, so I put down my chicken fingers and my beer and settled myself for the goal. No less than 25 seconds later, Derek Stepan roofed a wrister and we were celebrating a 1-0 lead. I have a sixth sense... I see Ranger goals...

Gaborik’s pair of third period tallies took the contest from tight to two points. The Rangers’ winning streak was officially up to four (something that took them forever to accomplish last year), and as I’ve said all along, those streaks are the key to conference standings success. Biron played extremely well and deserved the shutout. Stepan scored the Broadway Hat. George and I drove home happy.

And now we find out how this team will mature. Done with the crazy road trips, done with the first long home stand, now we see how strong these blueshirts really are. First up, Ottawa. The Rangers head up to Canada’s capital and will try to repay the Senators for that bullshit three goal third period comeback. Puck drops at 7:30 tomorrow night… I can hardly stand the wait. LET’S GO RANGERS!

Seven, three and three.
With every win we’re looking
More and more like champs.

Post Script Notes:
-The Rangers signed Swedish defenseman Anton Stralman, who tried out with the Devils during the preseason, to bolster their back line. This is not good news on the Marc Staal front, nor is it good news for Jeff Woywitka.

-Wolski’s retweaked groin was cause for celebration amongst Avery fans, but the Polish winger is now due to have sports hernia surgery and will be out for at least four week.

-Big guy Mike Rupp will also be undergoing surgery on his problematic knee and will likely be out for a while as well. Prusty’s back to being our best fighter, which is not a good thing.


-That is all.

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