Wings stave off Rangers
January 14, 2006
Not a bad way to kick off NBC’s NHL debut. The Wings looked strong again today, closing out their series with the Eastern Conference with a 4-3 win over New York.
With the win, they became the only team in the league with 30 victories…for about 20 minutes before Dallas beat Boston in a shootout.
Brendan Shanahan appears back to his old self, registering his fifth and sixth points in two games with goals in the second and third periods.
Shanny was the game’s number 1 star, but that could have easily gone to Chris Chelios. 24 was a force today, running Rangers every chance he got.
If you’re like me, you’ve read the message boards since Chelios re-signed over the summer. You’ve heard the gripes about his age, about his penalty minutes the first ten games.
Well, that crap should stop now.
Chris Chelios is having a fantastic year. He’s hitting every shift. He’s defensively responsible. He’s killing penalties and he’s chipping in on offense.
The Draper line did a decent job on Jaromir Jagr, holding him to a goal and an assist. Not as convincing of a performance as the stifle-job he laid on Floppa, but Draper probably did as well as anyone could againt Jagr–who is not only dynamic, but makes no effort whatsoever to play any sort of defense. Speaking of Draper, I’ll let RWBill–a great poster over at MLive–sum up 33’s day.
Draper set up Wings’ 2d goal by pummeling Rucinsky off the puck into the boards, Shanny picks it up, walks in and scores. Franzen picks the puck off Jagr, runs a give and go with Draper and deflects in Drapers pass for the 4th goal. Protecting a one goal lead, after NYR call a time out with 1:18 left, Babcock puts Draper, Maltby and Franzen on the ice with the game on the line against the NYR best, Draper wins the face-off, the Wings run :35 seconds off the clock in the NY zone so they can’t pull their goalie.
Draper pulls 27 shifts for almost 20:00, mostly against the NHL’s leading scorer, still finishes the game +1, and wins 67% of his face offs (14-7), probably will pull into #6 FO% in the NHL after today, Detroit’s #1 FO guy.
Manny Legace looked sharper than Thursday night. In fact, of the three goals only the first wasn’t a total fluke. Jagr’s first period goal caught Manny slightly out of position, but the Nylander and Ortmeyer goals were each reviewed and unstoppable.
Nylander’s was aided by Ville Nieminan, who appeared to be giving Legace some sort of prison hug as the puck went over his shoulder and in.
Ortmeyer’s shot from the point looked like the magic bullet in JFK. It hit Franzen’s skate, Lebda’s shoulder, Budd Lynch’s ankle and in it went.
While the Datsyuk line wasn’t as dynamic as Thursday, both Pavel and Zetterberg ended up with an assist apiece.
Shanahan’s goals were vintage. His first was a knuckleball off the wing that hit Lundqvist’s blocker, then shaft and found the net with Draper so close it first appeared he knocked it in. Shanny’s second was result of his shoveling a rebound up and over Lundqvist.
Good news on the Lang death watch. It appears the enigmatic Robert may be breaking out of his slump. You can’t even call it a slump really…he’s just been invisible, with the occasional assist here and there. But with a goal in two straight games, it looks like we may be seeing positive trends.
It appeared from my couch that the Wings controlled much of the play. Chelios controlled our zone while the Cleary line played a good puck possession game. Actually, all the Wings continued to impress with positive puck control. Tom Renney must have watched a different game.
“I thought we were the better team than they were. But off the attack, they were outstanding. They kept getting odd-man rushes.”
As Tenacious D would say, I’ve got sour news for you Jack. Wings outshot the Rangers 36-24, outhit them 24-18 and won the faceoff battle 35-27. And New York had 10 penalty minutes to the Wings six. I’d say the better team won.
NBC’s first weekend of hockey was so much better than OLN you can’t even compare the two networks. Graphically, talent wise, creativity…everything about NBC looked polished today.
The Inside the Glass feature is outstanding and will only get better as the reporters–Pierre McGuire in our game–and players get used to it. The Sporting News’ Kara Yorio wrote this week that this novelty will be effective as long as the reporters know their roles.
“We don’t need sideline reporters to tell us something they learned earlier in the week or read in that morning’s papers. We need to go to them when they have something gleaned from the sidelines — and only go to them then. Injuries, equipment issues, bench confusion and controversy, that’s what viewers need people on the sidelines for, not stories about their families or great courage and character.”
McGuire made me wonder at the start of the game when he asked Shanahan if he didn’t agree that the Rangers should be “an easy two points.” Shanny sidestepped that idiocy, but it wasn’t the best of starts for NBC.
His final piece detailed a contentious conversation between Yzerman and Ortmeyer. I didn’t hear exactly what was said because my wife was asking me at that point my impression of the paint job she’s doing in the living room.
Paint job looks great, by the way.
I like the shift cam. It appears NBC will select an impact player from each team and track how long each of their shifts last. Cool idea.
Emrick and Davidson have always been good and today was no different. Doc’s a pro and Davidson is tuned in to the league so it’s a quality combination.
The studio deal was cheesy as most are, and predictable with “hockey’s greatest captain” on the set. But Clement seemed much more at ease than he is on OLN. Ferraro’s not bad.
Wings increased their lead over the idle Predators to four points and maintained a 1 point lead over Dallas for the lead in the West.
The Wings, who are 5-0-0 with three or more days’ rest, don’t play again until Wednesday at Columbus.