Monday, February 04, 2008

Montreal Meltdown

The crowd was already warming up their vocal chords by the start of the third period, fully prepared to serenade the New York Rangers with the Na, Na, Na good bye ditty, when somebody stole the music.

The New York Rangers regrouped in the second period intermission, fully prepared to not only make a game of their Sunday Pre Super Bowl exposure but to take two points out of the Bell Centre.

As things would turn out later in the day in Glendale, Arizona the Rangers comeback would suggest that this Sunday was a day when anything was possible! It also will most likely be a reamarkable Ranger comeback that is hardly remembered.

The Rangers looked woeful in the first period, as though skating in quicksand, unable to finish a check and letting the Candiens have far too much of the Ranger zone, by the middle of the second period, the Habs were well on their way to what they must have thought was a sure victory, only to watch, and that appears to be what they did, watch the Rangers mount a spectacular five goal comeback.

Five unanswered goals provided the Rangers with a 5-3 victory, leaving a shell shocked Canadiens team and their normally quite melodic fans to ponder what had just happened.

Some suggest that the Canadiens who have been red hot of late and showing signs of making a long lasting run towards the playoffs, were looking past the Rangers and instead were thinking of Tuesday night’s showdown with the Ottawa Senators who the Habs now trail by only three points.

If so, Sunday’s loss will probably serve as a valuable wake up call that each game must be played to its end, each game is as important as the next and each opponent deserves equal respect.

Penalties played a role in the Ranger comeback, a hooking penalty to Saku Koivu the crack in the wall that the Rangers needed to begin to claw their way back into the game and eventually to win it.

Cristobal Huet had a run of the mill game, allowing five goals on thirty shots and looked rather normal at times, as opposed to some of his high profile theatrics of recent games, though if they were looking for blame to share in the Montreal dressing room, the defence and forwards could most likely find a few aspects of their play that could have also been held to account.

The game which was a hard hitting, rather nasty affair at times featured a few fights and was marred by another ugly hit from behind. This one in the second period, was administered by the Rangers’ Ryan Hollweg, who crushed the Canadiens’ Sergei Kostitsyn into the boards and was assessed a major, a misconduct and possibly an invitation for a meeting with Colin Campbell.
Hollweg exacted his revenge on Kstitsyn after a missed elbowing call earlier in the game by Alexei Kovalev, but his timing and method of it certainly were questionable.
While that incident by all rights should have been the end of the Rangers for the day, they managed to put things back together in time for the third period and began their five goal run for the win, with nary a song to be heard as they exited the rink.

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