Maple Leafs vs. Rangers Observations

First Period

- The NHL rule for high sticking is one of the best rules in sports. If you get hit, it's a two minute penalty, but if you can somehow make yourself bleed, it's four minutes. So basically if you can prove you got hurt they get punished more harshly. Sounds goofy, but doesn't it make a lot of sense?

- That's such a typical Ryan Callahan goal. He has the skill to score in some creative ways, but when it comes down to it he's just a hard worker and he's going to get mostly junk goals.

- It's so early in the season, but the Rangers power play looks so much more coherent than it ever did under Tom Renney. I loved Renney, but that power play was tough too watch.

- My buddy just texted me "Every time Gaborik gets the puck I think the Rangers are going to score." The similarities to Jaromir Jagr's 54 goal season in 2005 continue to emerge.

- That Rangers second goal was a thing of beauty. Brandon Dubinsky with a great job keeping the puck in the zone, Vinny Prospal with another brilliant pass, and Wade Redden with a pinch-in goal that was very reminiscent of his best days with the Senators.

- Artem Anisimov is brilliant in the defensive zone. I was a little nervous about the decision to let Blair Betts go, but Anisimov can do much more and is pretty good defensively in his own right.

- I'll admit it; I rooted for Colton Orr in that fight.

- Well Enver Lisin may not know how to play defense, but he must have watched Darius Kasparaitis at some point, lining up Mikhail Grabovski across the middle. - Great shorthanded play by Chris Drury, who's been extremely quiet thus far this season, getting the puck to Callahan alone in front.

- Lundqvist may have embellished a little when he went down before Alexei Ponikarovsky' goal, but entangled skates is definitely grounds for goalie interference.

- The Rangers have now strung together four dominant periods in a row and dating back to the 8:09 mark of the third period of Thursday's game, they've outscored opponents 7-1. In the last four periods the Rangers have out-shot opponents 53-26.

Second Period

- The Rangers veteran defensemen must have gotten a little annoyed by all the attention the rookies have gotten. Girardi scores his second of the season. - Speaking of the defensemen, Matt Gilroy has been much, much better recently because he's trying to do less. He's doing a better job picking spots to join the rush instead of getting caught deep every possession. He's also been very reliable defensively.

- My goodness Ales Kotalik can shoot.

- Great sign for the Rangers. Grabovski makes a good move and shoots straight for Lundqvist's glove side. The King worked hard on his glove all summer and didn't look phased fighting the shot off with his shoulder.

- Maybe there's something to be said for this end-to-end pace the Rangers are playing. I guess the thinking is if our goalie is better than yours, which Lundqvist is almost every night, we should win.

- Grabovski is pretty good; it'll be interesting to see him with Phil Kessel on the wing later this year.

- Well Lundqvist is on his game tonight. Dragging his leg across the crease to stop Lee Stempniak on a partial breakaway.

- Good forechecking by the Leafs, the Rangers are having problems getting the puck out of their end.

- Shaky period by Wade Redden. Grabovski just blew by him down the wing.

- This is possibly Chris Drury's best game of the season.

- Lundqvist has been extremely sharp tonight, but a great shot by Jason Blake found the smallest of openings to beat him as the Rangers attempted to get their fourth penalty killer on the ice.

- Like last season, it's obvious the Leafs aren't a playoff team, but they battle hard every night.

- How about Chris Drury and Ryan Callahan on the penalty kill tonight? Fantastic hustle by that pair.

Third Period

- Sean Avery gives the Rangers their third two goal lead of the game. Two games, two points for #16.

- Avery scores and Jason Giambi hits an RBI single in a little over a minute…two of my all time favorite players

- Prospsal sets up Redden again only this time Gaborik puts in the loose puck. Vinny Prospsal just has tremendous vision. What a signing.

- Well Jason Blake's goal at the end of the second made it look like the Leafs might stun the Rangers tonight. But two early third period goals took all the wind out of the Leafs sails.

- I expected the Rangers to score a lot more goals this year, but what's been surprising are the relatively few goals against. I'm sure at some point this all-out-attack offense will cost the Rangers, but so far it looks great.

- At this point, the Rangers really need to find a way to get Chris Higgins a goal. With the exception of Higgins, the offense is firing on all cylinders.

- Kotalik definitely had a kicking motion there, but I thought since the puck deflected off his other skate it might be legit…

- Gaborik has bent in weird ways a few times tonight, still terrifies me every time

- Great, great offensive shift by Anisimov and Avery leads to Girardi's second goal of the game. Started with a great no look past by Avery to Anisimov who waited just a bit too long to shoot.

- Very interesting situation there. Jason Blake bowls over Lundqvist, and the closest man to protect his goalie was Sean Avery. Avery just won a libel suit over Howard Berger who alleged that Avery made some kind of comment to Blake about his recent bout with cancer. Have to wonder if that was in Avery's head because he had a very mild reaction there in retaliation.

- So Tortorella does have some semblance of sensitivity, Brashear on the power play along with the goal-less Chris Higgins.

- Man the Rangers are pouring it on tonight! Avery scores again, 7-2. When was the last time the Rangers scored seven goals in a game?

 Kevin Baumer writes about college and pro sports.  He lives in New Providence, NJ.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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