In praise of Bobby Ryan

In praise of Bobby Ryan
"The biggest thing is just his poise and his hands are unbelievable. I played with [Evgeni] Malkin and [Sidney] Crosby, and those guys are probably the two best in the league. Bobby's hands are right with those guys... He's a superstar in the making, it seems."
---Ryan Whitney, former Ducks defenseman

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ducks at New York, vs. Rangers

Trying to capitalize on the winning lineups from the Ducks game against the Minnesota Wild, we'll start off this game with similar switches to Corey Perry's and Samuel Pahlsson's linemates, and Jonas Hiller in the net.

The New York Rangers are known for their incredible goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist, and honestly, considering Hiller's stellar stats this season, I'd much rather see him in net than J.S. Giguere.

I give my love to Giggy, of course, but I do feel that he's in somewhat of a slump this season. If you're going up against a team who's going to make it exceedinly difficult to score any goals, the least you can do is make it just as difficult for them to score any goals on you.

And that's a lot of what we see in the first half of the opening period. It's a fast and furious game, lots of energy, lots of force. The Rangers get the first power play, after Chris Kunitz gets shoved into Lundqvist, pushing him out of the goal crease. Unfortunately, they capitalize and score off a lucky rebound opportunity.

Shortly thereafter, the Ducks answer with a goal of their own. Ryan Getzlaf fires on goal from the blue line which is blocked by Lundqvist. Pahlsson at the crease takes a pummeling from the Ranger defenders in the area, but gives Bobby Ryan the chance to sneak in from behind as the puck squirts from the crease. And with a deft flick of the wrist, Bobby fires that puck under Lundqvist and into the goal, right before suffering a blow to the head from Pahlsson as he's pushed by a Ranger defender.

Beautiful play! Another point for Bobby, Getz, and Pahlsson.

In keeping with all of the action so far, things step up a notch as Corey Perry sustains a check that drives him headfirst into the glass behind the Rangers goal. Drew Miller, seeing his teammate suffer the hit without so much as a flinch from the refs, more or less a whistle blow, jumps on the Ranger checker as Perry slowly picks himself up off the ice. Sure, it's a roughing/fighting penalty, but this is one of those penalties that is worth taking. You're defending your teammate, you're sending the message out to your opponents that they can't treat your mates that way.

The Ducks pull off a sucessful penalty kill and the first period ends without any other goals scored.

At this point, something funky happens with my recorded telecast cuz, next thing I know, I'm looking at the second period, five minutes in. WTF? Anyway, looks like the Rangers managed another goal, we're 2 to 1 at the game halfway mark.

Can I just say I was right about my hunch that starting Hiller in this game would be a good idea? I'm seeing save after excellent save from Hiller. Like many of his rookie teammates, Hiller is really coming into his own. It's great to see.

With two minutes left in the second period, and on the heels of a fruitless Ranger power play, Perry capitalizes on a beautiful pass from Andrew Ebbett, and skillfully slips a goal past Lundqvist. Absolutely incredible.

The third period opens with another tie, 2-2. Another fight early on, with Travis Moen and the offending Ranger both taking five for fighting.

Ducks and Rangers exchange power plays but with nothing to show for either team.

Also notable, the numerous amazing plays by the younger Duck players. Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan, Perry... and Drew Miller at this point in the third period. He takes the puck single-handedly down the length of the ice, pursued by three Rangers, and tries to force that puck into the Ranger goal. He almost eats the goal post as he's checked and pushed into the goal. Thank goodness he put his hands up right before he made contact with that post. No goal, but a galiant effort nonetheless.

Games like this one get me all fired up because the Ducks are taking so many penalities... and there are so many Ranger offenses that are getting overlooked. It just isn't right, it fires up the Ducks and makes them play like a swarm of angry bees, and just leaves a bad taste in every Duck fan's mouth.

And again, another Ranger power play goal. And at the end, a Ranger empty-net goal. It's a 2-4 loss for the Ducks, but I think everyone can agree, they fought hard on this one.


My Zimbio
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