Friday, October 05, 2007

Rangers Watch: FLA 2, NYR 5

My beloved New York Rangers kicked off the season last night. There are some lofty expectations for the team, with some pundits putting them in the Cup Final. That always makes me extremely nervous. It much easier to exceed expectations than live up to them. Ask the Sharks.

Rosival's goal 37 seconds in set the game off on the right foot. But despite a strong start, the Blueshirts didn't look like a Cup contender. The star laden scoring lines lacked chemistry (to be expected this early on) and the entire team seem to be forcing passes.

What's worse, after Florida took advantage of Ranger mishaps to pot two goals they stopped winning battles for loose pucks. And so New York found themselves down 2-1 going into the third.

The Rangers faced their first test of the season. If in fact this is a Stanley Cup team, they'll stop beating themselves, bear down and get the goals they need to win the game. Witness Ottawa's defeat of Toronto in their home opener.

And so it happened. The Rangers forechecked hard, broke the Jacques Martin trap and took it to the Panthers scoring four goals in the final frame. New York passed the test with flying colors. Can this really be their year?

Rookies: Marc Staal reads the play well but needs to make the quick pass rather than stickhandle out of trouble. Note to Brandon Dubinsky, "The blue ice on your end is for King Henrik. Stay out."

Recaps: Y!/AP, TSN Broadband



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