by Patrick Hoffman on 12/21/08 at 03:15 PM ET
In what was the team’s biggest test of the season, the New York Rangers passed with flying colors despite losing to the league’s best team, the San Jose Sharks, 3-2 last night at the HP Pavilion Center.
Despite a poorly played first period, last night had to be one of the team’s best efforts all season. They were especially good in the third period, when they controlled play and dominated the Sharks, outshooting them 17-7. Unfortunately, the Blueshirts were unable to get one by Sharks’ netminder Evgeni Nabokov, who played well after dropping his previous two decisions to the Detroit Red Wings and the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Yes, the team lost a valuable two points last night but this was a game where the Blueshirts proved that they are not far off from being considered one of the league’s top teams this season.
They showed depth by getting excellent play from the likes of Ryan Callahan (goal), Brandon Dubinsky (assist), and Nikolai Zherdev (shorthanded goal) while also getting a strong performance from their goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped 27 of 30 shots.
After last night’s tilt, Lundqvist told the team’s web site that despite putting themselves in a 2-0 hole early in the game on two power play goals, the team battled all night and should be happy with their effort.
“It’s tough to start the game with a 5-on-3 and then giving up two quick goals,” said Lundqvist. “But we really regrouped and came back. Unfortunately, we couldn’t tie the game; but we played really good, I think.”
And he’s right, the team did play really well and if it wasn’t for the first period, probably could have come away with at least point. Instead, they can say that they stayed in the game, outplayed the best team in the league and use it as a stepping stone for when they play other elite NHL clubs in the grueling part of their schedule.
On Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, they’ll take on the Southeast Division leading Washington Capitals, who are sparked by the play of their superstar Alex Ovechkin (20 goals, 23 assisrs, 43 points). Hopefully, they’ll take last night’s excellent play and turn it into two points.
Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
Tags: alex+ovechkin, brandon+dubinsky, columbus+blue+jackets, detroit+red+wings, evgeni+nabokov, henrik+lundqvist, new+york+rangers, nikolai+zherdev, ryan+callahan, san+jose+sharks, washington+capitals
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.