Another lunch time post from me! Enjoy the spelling and grammar mistakes. :)
Last night the Coyote faithful were feeling pretty good about the game. Our boys hadn't been playing their best, but they certainly weren't playing their worse. They have done really well against the teams they should have lost to, so everyone was feeling pretty good about the Rangers game. We were wrong.
And it isn't as if the boys played horrible. They had a great first period but somewhere in the middle of the second they fell apart.
Some observations before we get into the game info. I was listening to the radio on the way home and Tyson had said he spoke with Carcillo and Carcillo told him he planned to get into three fights this game. If only he had done that. It may have been the boost we needed later in the game. Also, Mueller was wearing the A in DMo's place. I have to wonder why Mueller would get the A. Is this a way to motivate him? He hasn't been playing his best. He has stopped moving his feet for the most part. Is this from all the muscle he put on? Is he feeling the pressure to perform after a fairly stellar rookie year? It could be that he just needs some kind of motivation, like this responsibility, to kick him in gear. I am not a fan of rewarding poor play, but maybe he has shown some good leadership in the lockerroom and Gretz was hoping this would kick start his play. Bryz was awarded the start even though he has only played NYR once and lost but I guess that could have been the fault of the Ducks players also. I am not really sure, but it is never encouraging to hear your goalie has a losing record with a team, albeit one game.
Ok, the bulk of my entry will focus on the first period, as the boys rocked it. Carcillo did get one ofhis promised fights in agains Dubinsky. Dubinsky was a little upset with how hard Carcillo was driving to the net and they decided to go. Carcillo got in some really good hits before Bubinsky turtled and Carcillo just kind of gave up. It can't be much fun to fight a guy who just kind of drops to his knees after 3-4 good punches.
One of the better lines was Carcillo-Jokinen-Lisin. Jokinen was very visable and having a great first period. Those three seemed to really have some good scoring chances... if only the Rangers didn't have Henrik. I hope Gretzky keeps this line together. It seems to have a lot of potential. Lisin and Carcillo had some chemistry at the end of last season. Carcillo and Jokinen seemed to have some last night. Please Wayne....KEEP THIS LINE TOGETHER.
The other line that really stood out was Fridge-Turris-Tiki. Fridge was playing up in the slot while Turris and Tiki were really working the front of the net (thank you) and digging in the corners. Both seemed to be holding their own fairly well (Tiki better than Turris). Forcing them to play with the big boys in the corner just might be what Turris needs. Does he still get pushed a bit? Yes but at least he is seeing how strong he needs to be on the puck in the NHL. I think he is still adjusting, but he is getting there.
Carcillo and Fridge really seemed to be handing out the hits last night. And of course, Z was taking them. He will take a hit to make a play. He blocks shots like crazy (he is the league leader in blocked shots). Z really should be voted a star in every game. He does his job well, quietly, and efficiently. He doesn't stand out like some players do (Carcillo, Doan, Boedker) but he deserves much more recognition than he gets.
The Coyotes really seemed to out play the Rangers in the first. They were controlling the puck and out shooting them. They ended the period with 16 SOG (although later MSG changed it to 15 and Pang made the comment that 16 SOG would be a season high for Lundqvist...hrmm I will leave that up to you to decide why it was changed...). Lisin also scored the first goal, assisted by Jokinen and Klee. Unfortunately we ended the first tied 1-1 when Betts scored for the Rangers.
The second and third periods were not that pretty for the Coyotes. They weren't horrid but they weren't anything like the first.
Bryz started to look a little rusty/stiff in the second and that is always a bad sign.
The refs also seemed to change after the first period. There were no calls in the first. They just let the guys play. The first penalty was called on Klee because Sjo's stick broke. It was definitely not slashing but the refs always call that when it involves a broken stick. Sjo's stick could have just been weak. I hate that call, seriosuly just because the stick broke, doesn't mean it was a penalty. Later in the third, Carcillo took a high stick to the face (very obvious) but there was no call yet Lisin and Klee get penalties for stupid stuff. Lisin got sent to the box for just truing to get his stick out from between two players. That was considered a hooking call. There have been way too many hooking calls so far this season. It's absolutely crazy. If I think about it, I may do a seperate entry on this. Also, the refs waited for ever to whistle a play dead. Bryz had the puck stopped and it was no where to be seen on the ice yet the refs let play continue for like 10 seconds. It was sad.
But the good news is the PK seems to have improved. Pang mentioned that the coyotes have been reviewing video to see what they need to do to get a better PK. It seems to have worked. They were able to really control the puck. They had real good control, they were even in the Rangers zone for awhile but then it was forced out and Hale gets the puck and just dumps it in, even though they could have kept control. I guess that is a doh! moment. :)
Now where they really need the videos and improvement is the PP. The Coyotes let the other team control the puck much to often on the PP. But one positive point, Rhino was down batteling in front of the net. We need more of that! Imagine what could happen if we could get the puck to the net, rebound goals. It doesn't have to be pretty; it just needs to go in.
The scoring in the second and third was all Rangers. Dubinsky started it off, which was actually a combo of Bryz and Jovo. Bryz didn't know where the puck was, so it was going under his leg. jovo tried to clear it out, but he accidently tapped it backwards into the net instead. Girardi got one in off the post and Gomez got the empty netter to finish the game.
Jovo was hit by the puck late in the third. No one really knew where it hit him, but it seemed to be the midsection. He doubled over and slowly skated over to the bench. With DMo out, we can't afford to lose Jovo too. Who would take his ice time? He may not be the best player out there, but we don't really have another guy who could step in and cover his minutes while DMo is out too.
Speaking of DMo, he is hoping to play in Columbus Wednesday. He is battling a few different injuries (ankle, upper body). Columbus might be to early depending on the conditioning for his upper body injury. In speaking with Todd Walsh, he was asked about doing the interviews with Todd and DMo stated he was too ugly for it. This made me crack up because obviously DMo is much better looking than Todd Walsh. And DMo had a grin on his face as he said it. I think he knows he is better looking than Todd also. :)