Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Rangers & Islanders in Shoot Out Thriller [J. Mark English]

What a game that took place last night at the Garden. Dave & Aziz Nekoukar of The Blue Line blog offers a wrap up of a fantastic game:

The Rangers physically exhausted
Rick DiPietro (a.k.a. "Brick Wall"), barraging him with 57 shots, only one of which got by him. His 56 saves were a new franchise record for the storied Islanders franchise. In all honesty, the Blueshirts were clearly the dominant team last night, even though they only managed a shootout win. They played with a sense of urgency that we've rarely seen from them. All hands on deck. Now they just have to do the same exact thing Thursday night. Shootout hero Matt Cullen told Lynn Zinser of the NY Times that the battle isn't over yet. "Huge points for us," said Cullen. "But the next ones are even bigger."

Sean Avery spoke with Larry Brooks and mentioned that the team was fascinated by the staggering number of shots they were getting off. Said Avery, "We were almost laughing at the shot disparity after every period. First period we had 17 shots, we said guess we need 17 more. We got 19. We said the same thing after the second and then we got 19 more. I mean, it was kind of silly. There were a couple of shifts where I was out there and we had control of the puck so long, I was so exhausted I thought I was going to throw up." Brooks counted blocked shots and shots that missed the net, and came up with a shot disparity of 106-55 in favor of the Rangers.

Jay Greenberg is right -- DiPietro's performance was a "show for the ages". John Dellapina says DiPietro's goaltending was "... the most heroic goaltending the Garden has witnessed all season," but then adds "... it was Henrik Lundqvist who seized the night." Though he didn't face nearly the same number of shots, Lundqvist was almost as stellar as DiPietro. And when it counted most, in the shootout, he came up with the one extra save the team needed.

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