Thursday, December 31, 2009

Postgame Reactions - Rangers vs. Flyers 12/30

Flyers 6, Rangers 0

This postgame blog is going to look different than previous editions because there isn't much to say.  The Rangers were outskated, outhit, outplayed, outskilled, outpassed, out-(insert any word here).  Blair Betts (1g, 11-5 faceoffs) showed Glen Sather and John Tortorella why they shouldn't have let him go, Michael Leighton (22 svs) showed them why they should have claimed him when the Hurricanes placed him on waivers earlier this season, and Simon Gagne (3g, 1a) looked like he had never had the groin issues that he returned from just 10 days ago.  The Rangers were outshot 31-22, but those totals are misleading because the Rangers outshot the Flyers 12-2 in the 3rd period.  If you're looking for a bright spot out of the Rangers--and it's really hard to find one--it's that they took only 2 minor penalties, but you could argue it was a result of their lack of hard play overall.

One thing I feel the need to cover in this space is Chad Johnson's NHL debut, which came at the start of the 2nd period with the Rangers already trailing 3-0.  After looking lost on the first 2 shots he faced (1 goal, 1 post), Johnson seemed to really settle in.  He made 17 saves on 20 shots on goal overall and had 2 pucks hit the goalposts behind him.  There were a couple of very nice saves in that bunch, and I don't know that he had much of a chance on either of the other goals he allowed.  The first was during a 5-on-3 advantage for the Flyers and the other was on a partial breakaway created by a pretty pass to Gagne from Claude Giroux.  At the end of the day I don't foresee Johnson ever being a starter in the NHL, but he might be a capable backup eventually...I just don't think his time is now.

My only other thought on tonight's game is this: I think Michael Del Zotto played his worst game in a Rangers uniform tonight.  He looked soft in the defensive end and his passes didn't look like their normal crisp selves.  He struggled all-around and was minus-3 on the night.  The bright note in this is that Torts stuck with him throughout the night and he ended up leading the team in ice time with 23:02.

A quick note...If you're home tomorrow night, you have 2 choices for Rangers hockey at 8pm: The Rangers take on Carolina on MSG.  Also, Rangers prospects Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan, Ryan Bourque, and the rest of Team USA will face Canada at the WJC and the game will be broadcast live on the NHL Network.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that Del Zotto played his worst game -- but so did Girardi. In fact, the entire Blueshirt defensive corps took the night off. Hell, nobody came out of the locker room. Refund!