Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Incredible, Rangers By Seven!

It's incredible, really, when you think about what took place last night at MSG with the Rangers trouncing the Thrashers 7-0. No not that Bob Hartley is having a tough time deciding on goalies, and who could blame him really, after having the luxury of coaching Patrick Roy in Colorado - although the Head Coach surely will be in some hot water for his ineptitude when this series ends. It also was not the astuteness of the good folks down below in Penn Station; who knew that it wasn't the number 7 train that caused the platform to shake, but the Garden faithful's response when Michael Nylander gave New York the early lead just under a minute into the game.

No, what was so incredible was not only the Blueshirts' cohesiveness and dominance, but the utter frustration that the Thrashers showed which starts with their all-world superstar, Ilya Kovalchuk. The Russian speedster went after Sean Avery in the third period after finally having enough of the antagonistic behavior of "The Grate One." It was Scott Mellanby, Atlanta's captain, saying that the team had no answer for New York after Nylander's opening salvo, which, eh em, proved to be the game winner. However, it was not a surprise to see Bobby Holik rip his coach following the game.

The Garden faithful came ready to rock and began "raising the roof" from the moment the first Rangers' skate hit Dolan's ice. The Network showed highlights from the last playoff victory in the Garden, which was against New Jersey in 1997. The last shutout by a Rangers' goalie came in 1997 too, in game four against the Devs. When was the last time a Broadway Blue netted a hat trick in the playoffs? Wayne Gretzky scored three in Philly during game two and also in game three at home to Florida during the '97 playoffs.

Last night the Rangers dazzled. The Garden partied like it hadn't since '97 and that's because there has been no reason to. Gone are Messier, Gretzky, Richter and Leetch. In are skilled vets like Brendan Shanahan and Jaromir Jagr; surrounded by a pair of 22-year-old young bucks like the in-your-face Dan Girardi and the brilliant Ryan Callahan.

So that leads us to tonight. The Rangers can end this series with a win. I'm still expecting Atlanta to show up and muster something. Could Mellanby really end his career which has been noted for his snarl and grit in such a wimpy fashion? Will the Thrashers most talented continue to crack? Can Atlanta's blueline really be a place for pedestrians only?

Does anyone in New York really want to be cocky with a 3-0 lead? The fourth game is the toughest to win, and I really do expect Atlanta to muster something. Really I do.

Eight years ago today, Wayne Gretzky's retirement party was held at MSG after a loss to the Penguins. Tonight could be time for another party; a series win for the first time in 10 years, incredible!

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