Foolish Penalties Turned Off Blackburning Rangers

Who is that goalie in net? Not Richter. His mask looks very fancy though. Is it Skudra? Playing against the Washington Capitals? No? Who the heck is that goalie!?As shocking as it was to me, 18 year old, and this year’s first round draft pick, goaltender Danny Blackburn was in net tonight, in Madison Square Garden, against the Washington Capitals. Now why in the world would a coach let an 18 year old goaltender, who never played a regular season NHL game, play at home, with bad tempered fans, and face a top Eastern Conference team with big shot players like Peter Bondra and Jaromir Jagr? That is insane. Personally, Blackburn should have played an away game against an underdog team, as a first NHL game.

Even before the puck was dropped, this game was a definite loss for the Rangers. “Poor” Blackburn was going to face the most talented player in the NHL, and big time snipers like Bondra and Gonchar. What could you expect from a goalie like Blackburn playing in this game? I expect for 5 or 6 goals against Blackburn. I guessed right, yet Blackburn put an amazing performance.

No, it was not the offense that lost the game, no it was not the goaltending that lost the game, and surprisinlgy it was not the defense that lost the game. What lost the game then? FOOLISH PENALTIES. Out of the 5 goals that the Caps scored, 4 of them were all powerplay goals. Blackburn let in one very savable goal, yet the rest were impossible to save. Blackburn kept facing shots from Gonchar, who scored two PP goals, Bondra, but not much from Jagr, yet a lot of aggressiveness from Konowalchuk. Late in the 1st period, Ulanov took Jagr down, which led the injury proned Jagr to finish the game in the first period.

In the first period, Blackburn faced 17 shots, and allowed three powerplay goals, one a 5 on 3. The Rangers only took three shots on Kolzig. The game seemed already won by the Caps, but not quite. In the 2nd period, the Rangers scored 2 goals to cut the Caps lead by one goal. Balckburn faced 14 shots, and no goals allowed. In the third period, both teams were playing well, with a lot of hard fore-checking. Unfortunately, the Caps 4th goal turned off the Rangers fire.

That 4th goal was one lucky goal indeed. Dahlen faced the right side of Blackburn, just a few feet away from him. Blackburn made one heck of a low leg save, rebound was a glove save, and the second rebound was a shoulder/mask save where Blackburn fell backwards and brought the puck with him over the red line.

In the end, Blackburn had no chance on the 5th goal which was lucky as well. Halpern took a shot which accidentally hit Simon’s stick that faked Blackburn, then Simon passed the puck to Bondra who had an open net. Blackburn allowed 5 goals, one a soft goal and the others hard to save. Blackburn made 37 saves out of 42 shots. Rangers penalties lost the game, especially Ulanov’s anger in the 3rd period. Blackburn has yet to prove more, but his is on a great path.

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