That’s how you play a back to back. After a 5 day layoff between games that seemed like forever, we took to the road to start a 4 game trip up north.
First stop, Vancouver. The Canucks had been playing some very good hockey so far this year, sitting in second place in the pacific division. This was a big game for us. We’d just come off a huge overtime win over the Penguins and we couldn’t afford to have an emotional letdown like we’ve had so many times this year. We were slowly falling down in the playoff picture in the east and needed to get on a run. And that sense of urgency that has been missing all year, that showed up big time Saturday night. We exploited the aggressive play of the Canucks defensemen early and often, scoring on three straight shots in the first 5 minutes of the game to end things before they even got started. Ryan McDonagh put in his first of the year on a 3 on 1 break. Then JT Miller came down on another odd man rush a few minutes after, and the Mats Zuccarelo joined the party 43 seconds later on another 3 on 1 to make in 3-0.
I don’t even remember the Canucks having the puck in this game. Zuccs put another one home later on and Marc Staal wanted in so he put one past Miller. Game. Set. Match. 5-1 Rangers win. On to Edmonton.
Our weekend tour of Canada was interrupted Sunday morning when Derek Brassard was sent home with a case of the mumps. THE MUMPS. How this keeps happening is beyond me. Here’s Doctor Vigneault’s explanation of what happened “It’s nature, maybe it’s because we played against Pittsburgh on Monday and he played head-to-head against [Sidney Crosby]. Maybe Sid gave it to him. I don’t know? He’s got it now, and now we have to deal with him.” FUCK YOU SIDNEY CROSBY AND YOUR WEIRD MUMPSY FACE
Brassard was one of our hottest players and definitely our hottest center of late. He was on a 5 game point streak heading into Sunday but now has to go be bedridden in new york like its the 1600s.
But whatever, we’re playing Edmonton, easily the worst team in the NHL. After the way we played Saturday night we should win by a million right? Wrong. Sure, we got the win but it didn’t come pretty. We didn’t get our first shot until 7 minutes into the first period. There was definitely back to back fatigue happening, but we snapped the 0-0 deadlock at the end of the first when Girardi tried to hit Zuccs with a pass in front of the net, but it bound of the skate of an Oiler into the net. That would give Hank all the cushion he needed, as he turned away shot after shot, delivering his 5th shutout of the season. He’s now only let up 1 goal in the past 130 minutes of ice time. Suck on that regression Larry Brooks.
We’re playing great hockey right now, plain and simple. We’re getting huge help from our young guys, especially JT Miller, who has just been on fire, he has 3 goals an assist and 12 shots on goal in the past 3 games. We’re going thin on Center depth, so Miller had to fill in there last night and did a fine job of it. Rick Nash is on a 10 game point streak and is playing the best he’s played since putting on the Rangers sweater. We’re winning all types of ways, Saturday we dominated, last night we won ugly. That’s what good teams do. Let’s hope we can keep moving in the right direction as our tour of Canada continues tomorrow night when we take on the Flames.