Sunday, December 31, 2006


I was beginning to think being a Rangers fan meant watching the team swing slowly in the breeze like a South Asian dictator...

Petr Prucha contributed two goals in a 4-1 win over the Capitals in an entertaining, hard-hitting game that featured a lot of body work, and eventually some chippy play. The Rangers and Caps tangled in four fights (Washington's Donald Brashear was the protagnist for two and a half, more on that in a bit), and Henrik Lundqvist lost his bid for a shutout in the last ticks of the clock as Ben Clymer snuck in behind the D Feydor Tutin and snapped a shot off Lundqvist's glove.

The game saw the Rangers' seven game losing streak and 153 minute scoring drought snapped, while the Caps, hampered by injuries and sickness, recorded their fourth consecutive loss.

Brendan Shanahan proved once more he's trying to pick up where Mark Messier left off, taking the team by the reins and driving them. After Brashear goaded captain Jaromir Jagr into a dumb penalty in the third (which eventually saw the Rangers stymie a 5-3 power play), Shanahan made a point of being on the ice for Brashear's first shift after the penalty kill and dropped gloves (and helmet!) right at the face-off. Although Brashear won on points, landing a few overhand lefts, Shanahan ducked the initial onslaught by slipping to his left, and scored some nasty uppercuts, finally falling to his knees.

After the official separated the two warriors, Adam Ward mouthed off to Brashear who was skating towards the visitors lockerroom. Brashear decked Ward with two lefts to his mush, and received a gamer.

Later, Colton Orr did the payback deed, cross-checking Caps star Alexander Ovechkin on the chin. Both cheap shots, Brashear's and Orr's, will likely get reviewed in Toronto. I expect fines.

For the first time in eight games, the Rangers didn't hesitate, and kept driving towards the net. In a division where a four game winning streak (The Devils lead by five points, with two game in hand) would put them back in first place, this was a welcome sight.