Archive for November 23, 2010

Rangers Cool Off the Flames in 2-1 Victory

 By Eric Bancker

The Rangers and the Flames got together at Madison Square Garden for their only matchup of this year, but with the way this game was played you would think they were division rivals. There was tons of hits, fights, and brawls going down at the Garden but Martin Biron lead the way as the Rangers were able to stay cool and extinguish the Flames.

This game got nasty early on, and all it really took was a suspect hit from the Rangers, Michael Sauer on Stefan Meyer of the Flames. Sauer hit Meyer from behind and got a two-minute minor for boarding on what was potentially a very dangerous play. Tom Kostopoulos, who was recently acquired by the Flames, didn’t take to kindly to the hit on his teammate and this triggered a brawl behind the net which saw Kostopoulos taking a two-minute minor for roughing and wiping out the chance for the Flames to go on the powerplay. From that point on, Sauer was a marked man. Once both Kostopoulos and Sauer got out of the box it took little time for the two of them to get into a scrap which landed them right back in the penalty box. Later on in the period Meyer decided to exact his revenge and also got into it with Sauer, giving Sauer two fighting majors on the night.

Once the dust settled there was still a hockey game to be played and the Rangers jumped out to a 1-0 lead as Brian Boyle scored his 9th goal of the season. Boyle came into the season with 12 career goals in 107 career games but he has been on fire this season and his on pace to score 30 goals. Flames captain, Jarome Iginla, showed why he has scored at least 28 goals per season since the 1998-1999 season as he also scored his 9th of the season to tie the game 1-1. Just a side note, who would have thought Boyle would have just as many goals as Iginla at the quarter mark of the season? Yeah, I didn’t think so. The Rangers continued to get offense from unexpected sources as Dan Giradi scored on the powerplay to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead and that’s how the game would end. Girardi now has 13 points on the season which ties him with Duncan Keith, Chris Pronger, and Mike Green. Two of those defenseman, Green and Keith, were nominated for the Norris Trophy last year with Keith winning it so Girardi is in nice company right now.

Biron made 31 saves and really stepped in nicely for the inconsistent Henrik Lundqvist, improving his record to 5-2-0 on the young season. “Mar-ty!” chants were pouring down from the crowd as they showed their appreciation for Biron’s strong performance in net as he seems to have become a fan favorite. Biron has been the backup that the Rangers have been looking for over the past few years. Last season was rough for Biron, going 9-14-4 with a 3.27 goals against average. He has rebounded nicely and has helped the Rangers as they are now only five points out of the Eastern Conference top seed which is held by their division rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers. The Rangers will now go on the road and take on the Lightning, Panthers, and Predators. Michael Rozsival should be back in uniform as he seems to be healthy and ready to go. Chris Drury is also skating but he is not able to hold a stick at this point in time.

Just as I mentioned before, this game was very physical and got nasty at times. This was realized in the 3rd period when Rangers defenseman, Marc Staal absolutely destroyed Matt Stajan of the Flames. Stajan struggled to get up at first but he did find his way to the bench and then the locker room. Staal hit Stajan from the front, not from the side which would have been against the rules. Staal’s hit was clean and there shouldn’t be any suspension coming down for his actions but with how crooked Colin Campbell is, you never know. I’ll leave the Staal hit below as well as a hit that is considered to be dirty in the NHL to show a comparison. The second clip is the Penguins, Matt Cooke, when he hit Marc Savard and was not suspended by the league, which is absurd seeing has Savard is still not right from this hit