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The Wrap from MSG: A wild 6-5 loss


           So when the Rangers were struggling to score, which has seemed like all season, the defense and superb penalty-kill kept them in games.

           Last night, reversal: the hellish PP comes outta nowhere to score four, the D crumbles and the PK allows three in nine ops to the Capitals, including two in the final period. Yikes.

           "Plug one hole and a couple others spring up, mainly on discipline," said John Tortorella.

              Here's Vinny Prospal, after his first four-point night (and voted third star) as a Blueshirt about the power play: "We just shot the puck more and went to the net and we got some bounces. We got some rebounds too, one was a five on three, and one was a tip in. We have been struggling on the power play, that's why it's such a shame."

           Henrik Lundqvist: "I will take out the tape tomorrow and see what I can do better, but like I said, I don't feel like I played that bad...but you can't be too satisfied when you give up six goals."

          Olli Jokinen, who played with Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky in his second game as a Ranger, after playing in L.A. with Marian Gaborik and Vinny Prospal, said:

          "You play with whomever. You come to the rink and you play hard, but I think there is some chemistry with those guys."

          "We have to find a way to win because everyone knows where we are in the standings."

            Which is 10th place. 


            Marian Gaborik had two assists...Sean Avery was a minus two and played 10:31, Chris Drury was a minus 2 ad was Wade Redden and Brian Boyle...Jokinen had seven shots...Brandon Prust played 5:10..Enver Lisin played 7:56....Alex Ovechkin is tremendous, but Nicklas Backstrom had a heckuva night with the game-winning goal (his 24th) and four assists. ...The four PP goals were the most since Dec. 29, 2007 in Toronto...The Rangers are 25-26-7 and 12-14-4 at home...Staal has seven points in the last 10 games...



                           Seven-for-82. Three-for-48. Zero-for 25. Dismal numbers for the Rangers power play leading into last night’s game against the potent Washington Capitals.

                           That was one of the reasons that general manager Glen Sather wanted Olli Jokinen, who was acquired from Calgary late Monday night.                           

                           And for a while last night, the Rangers’ play with the man-advantage busted out of the shackles, scoring four times and providing a 5-3 lead over the Washington Capitals, who had won 11 straight games, with time ticking down in the second period.

                           But Alex Ovechkin grabbed a loose puck, made a nifty move, putting the puck through Michal Rozsival’s legs and flipped a one-handed shot that went off Henrik Lundqvist’s stick, up over his shoulder and across the goal-line with just nine seconds remaining.

                           “Coming in here (to the locker room) 5-3 or 5-4 is a big difference….because of a tough bounce,” said Chris Drury. “Olli (Jokinen) tries to put it in their zone, it hits a foot and away they go.”

                            It turned out to be a momentum changer, as the Rangers took five penalties in the third and Tom Poti and Niklas Backstrom scored on two of the power plays for a deflating 6-5 comeback win, the Rangers third loss in four games.

                           “That’s one of our main points, not to take too many penalties,” said Ryan Callahan, “and it came back to bite us.  We played great five on five, but we’ve got to stay out of the box. We gave those guys too many chances. Our PK has been great all along, but when you take that many penalties, you’re not going to be able to stop them all.”

                             Lundqvist, who held his head in his hands for several minutes in the room post-game, said Ovechkin’s goal was tough to swallow. “They don’t get many shots, but they find ways to score,” said Lundqvist, who made 28 saves, as the Rangers outshot the Caps 38-32.

                             “We’ve got to stay positive, we scored five tonight,” said Jokinen, whose wrister from the right point was deflected by Callahan in front past Caps goaltender Jose Theodore gave the Rangers a 1-0 edge at 8:58 of the first. Vinny Prospal, with his first of two goals in a four-point night, countered Boyd Gordon’s goal 10 second later at 16:50 of the first for a 2-1 lead. The Caps scored the next two goals but Jokinen scored his first as a Ranger on a power play at 12:19 of the second to tie the game at 3. Prospal’s second came on a 5-on 3 from the post,  and Brandon Dubinsky scored at 18:48 with Alexander Semin in the box before Ovechkin scored his league-leading  

38th at even strength.

                             But the over-riding problem, coach John Tortorella agreed, were the nine penalties.“I thought some of them were phantom calls and some were lack of discipline,” he said. “I thought we forechecked much better but we gave up too many scoring chances ourselves. We have to continue to work on defense.”

                            Jokinen, who took three of those penalties, has been productive with the man advantage. He scored 13 power play goals in 2002-03, 14 in 2005-06, and 18 in 2007-08. In Calgary, Jokinen said, he was used upfront on the power play for the first time in his career. In Florida and Phoenix, he said, he was always on one point. “That’s where I feel comfortable, for sure,” Jokinen said.





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