Sunday, November 04, 2007

Prucha Beats Brodeur in Shootout

The New York Rangers beat the New Jersey Devils 2-1 in a shootout at Madison Square Garden Saturday night.

Petr Prucha has been spending most of his time this season on the third line with rookies Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan, but was the hero of the game Saturday while skating on a line with stars Scott Gomez and Sean Avery.

Prucha assisted on Gomez’ goal in the first period and won the game during the shootout with a shot over the left shoulder of Devil’s goalie Martin Brodeur.

This was not the first time Prucha notched the game winner in a shootout against Brodeur. As a rookie he won a game on November 5 when he beat the future hall-of-fame goalie between his legs. That season Prucha got attention as he scored 30 goals, but up till this point this season he has not looked anything like that promising young star. Going into Saturday night’s game he had only one goal and one assist.

It was a good night for Prucha’s line-mates, Gomez and Avery, as well. For Gomez it was just the second game he has played against the team he won two Stanley Cups with and this time he made a big impression scoring his first goal against them.

The Rangers scored after they gained the zone with some speedy skating by Prucha who made a couple of moves to beat Devil’s forwards into the zone before getting off a strong backhanded shot. Brodeur made a good initial save, but he allowed a rebound high in the slot which Gomez pounced on to put the Rangers up 1-0.

After the goal the camera turned to Avery who was celebrating not only the goal by his center, but his return to action as well. Saturday night’s game was the first appearance by Avery since he was injured on a hard hit by Ottawa Senator’s defenseman Chris Neil on October 6. Without Avery in the lineup the Rangers looked very similar to the same passive team they had early last season, not able to protect finesse players like Gomez and Jaromir Jagr.

With Avery back in the lineup things are different. During the second period Devil’s defenseman Vitaly Vishnevski landed a big hit along the boards on Gomez and it wasn’t long before Avery and Colton Orr came down on Vishnevski in retaliation. Orr was the one who ended up scraping with the six foot two inch Russian, but the message was clear that when you mess with Rangers skaters now you will have Avery to deal with.

Aside from that line Henrik Lundqvist was once again a star on Broadway. He stopped 28 shots allowing only one goal. He has allowed one goal or less in six of his last seven games picking up three shutouts over that time.

The lone goal he allowed came just 33 seconds after Gomez put the Rangers up 1-0. Sergei Brylin tied the game at one when he got off a shot from the slot after receiving a strong pass from Johnny Oduya who was circling the net after carrying the puck into the zone.

Both goalies were strong during the game as Brodeur would like have been awarded a star of the game had they been playing in Newark, New Jersey. The Rangers were getting opportunities all game long, but he was a constant presence keeping the puck out of the net.

In overtime, about one minute in, Brodeur kept his team alive while making a highlight reel save on Chris Drury. Drury was on a breakaway thanks to a nice play by Dan Girardi in the Ranger’s defensive zone taking the puck away from the Devils before hitting Drury far down the ice. Then it was all Brodeur as he turned away the slap shot attempt.

For more sports news including regular Jets and Giants updates checkout Hot Stove NY.

No comments: