New York Rangers vs. Vancouver Canucks @ GM Place
The Rangers continue their losing-streak against the Canucks on the road. The last time NYR won at GM Place was back in 1 Oct. 2009. That ended in a 6-3 win for the Rangers and Wayne Gretzky got his final hattrick before retiring.
Newly signed Matt Pettinger plays his official game as a Canuck. And with all the injury woes that my beloved Nuckies are being hit with, we are going with 11 forwards and 7 defencemen. Kevin Bieksa (#3) will play as a forward as Mathieu Schneider comes back in the line-up after being scratched in the game against Colorado.
This game didn't start getting good until 78 clicks were left in the countdown. At that moment in time, Mason Raymond pressures a Ranger to force them to make the pass up. That forced pass resulted in the puck landing right onto the blade of Ryan Kesler. Kesler fires his shot but Henrik Lundqvist blocked the shot, but left a juicy rebound. Mikael Samuelsson, being the hungry man that he is, gobbled it up and snapped it in for the first goal of the game!
(I love the fan)
In the second, Andrew Raycroft commited grand larceny! Complete robbed Chris Higgins of a couple of goals on a few good chances. My song for him (ever since he was part of Montreal) "Poor Professor Higgins". Yes, I was always sort of mean to him.
The next best thing to come from that period was when a "goal" was made by Ryan Kesler. But enough Rangers complained that it was a kicking motion and the ref at that end motioned 'no goal' that the head ref went up to the video official. And after some review, it is declared no goal despite the weak advances by the Canucks.
Third period - woah. What a period the third was! Whomever missed this period better catch up on it because this is bound to take over the talk of the town tomorrow morning (because I'm going to be the one talking about it). But, BLOODY HELL! Anyone recall the Chicago/Vancouver line brawl? Well, this one topped that!
I can't even begin to describe it other than this sentence itself! After the big brawl, Kevin Bieksa and Vaclav Prospal were sent/dragged to the box, but that wasn't their plan. Prospal was in the box while Bieksa and him were chirping away. Prospal had to be held back by the box official because he looked like he was going to lunge through the glass at Bieksa. Bieksa held up his end of the bargain as well. Even in the box, they continued to go at it.
While that went on, the bench had their own party. There were three on each side but the main partiers involved were Shane O'Brien and Sean Avery. Surprise, surprise? Not exactly. They did the predictable chirping and what-not but at one instance, O'Brien got his stick and butted Avery with it. Avery wasn't going to have any of it and ripped the stick out of Shane's hands.
I just highly suggest YouTube'ing this. I've found a dingy video of it but if anyone has any good quality ones, holler and share!
Out of this big curfuffle came a few penalties. Dane Byers and Dan Giardi got the 10 minute disconducts for New York; Kevin Bieksa, Alex Burrows, and Shane O'Brien got the same penalty. Ryan Kesler picked up the roughing minor for starting this whole ordeal. It was fairly small to begin with, but nothing is small in this sport.
Mind you, that was all at 4:21 of the period.
After al of this, we get back to the plenty of game left. Professor Higgins - sorry, Chris Higgins - gets the Rangers up on the board with a PPG. The PPG was also Higgins's first as a Ranger.
That level scoreline was soon diminshed as Rick Rypien lays down the law! Kesler with incredible sight of the ice, passes the puck to Ripper and he just snaps the puck in at the water bottle for us to regain the lead!
Of course, nothing is enough for us so we add more! Mikael Samuelsson gets his second of the game as Kesler's hard shot went off the boards and landed at Mason Raymond's stick for him to calm the puck down. Mason handled it down to the net and got it to the post, but a little extra jamming by Samuelsson and he's got the puck sliding through Lundqvist's pads and into the net!
And let'sjust add an EN by Henrik Sedin (long time no mention, eh?) for good measure's sake.
If you thought the rough stuff was over, it wasn't just yet. 70 seconds left on the ticker, Tanner Glass and Dane Byers drop their gloves. This time, their linemates didn't join them in on the dance. Audience judge says this one goes to Tanner for the good punches and the takedown.
It wasn't our best of games but a win is a win - we can't complain. I was sort of expecting the play of the game to go as it should but all this rough stuff was something I didn't expect. But the goaltending was decent on one end and excellent on the other. Defence was not a problem for either of the teams (maybe with the exception of a couple of fall aparts by the Rangers). Michael Del Zotto was just as amazing as he has been for the past month despite being kept off the scoresheet.
3 stars (chosen by TSN):
(1) Ryan Kesler
(2) Mikael Samuelsson
(3) Andrew Raycroft
3 stars (chosen byMe):
(1) Ryan Kesler (getting away with three points tonight)
(2) Andrew Raycroft (keeping it 0 for the Rangers until past the mid-way mark of the third)
(3) Michael Del Zotto (production, defence, and being stellar on both ends of the ice)
Welcome to the NHL Matt Pettinger...
And a little from the big line scrum: