Saturday, November 05, 2005

Inside BlueShirts

Prucha Helps Rangers Win Shootout: Rookie Petr Prucha scored the winning shootout goal to lift the Rangers to a 3-2 (2-1 SO) victory over the archrival Devils Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. The 23-year-old Czech beat Devil goalie Scott Clemmensen five-hole to clinch the shootout, taking Third Star honors.

"Last time I was in the shootout, the goalkeeper made a kick save so now I decided to try to get the puck between his legs," Prucha said to reporters afterwards.

He also tallied his third goal of the season via a five-on-three power play setup from Jaromir Jagr for a slam dunk to get New York on the board late in the second period en route to the comeback win.

Betts Scores Tying Goal: Trailing 2-1 in the third, Blair Betts notched his third goal of the season with 9:52 remaining to force overtime. On a hardworking shift, Betts found a Jason Strudwick rebound and deposited it upstairs before Clemmensen could cover up. In 13:12 of ice-time, the two-way center won eight of 11 faceoffs, killed 2:45 of penalties and blocked two shots to go with a plus-one rating.

Weekes Wins Second Straight Start: Coming off a stellar 30 save effort in a 4-2 win at New Jersey Thursday, Kevin Weekes backed it up with his second strong game in a row. The 30-year-old Toronto native finished with 23 saves Saturday and earned Second Star honors.

"It feels nice to be able to play the way you're capable of playing," he said. "I have a great partner in Henrik and it's really fun to be a part of."

He also stopped three of four Devils in the shootout, including a sprawling save on Jamie Langenbrunner to setup Prucha's winner.

"I knew I had it, and then I heard the crowd start yelling so that's always a good sign," Weekes said. "They weren't yelling at me they were yelling for us."

Jagr Extends Point Streak To 12: Jaromir Jagr continued his torrid scoring pace with a primary assist on Prucha's power play tally which cut the deficit to 2-1 with 3:32 left in the second. He now has a 12-game point streak with 12 goals and seven assists for 19 points over that span. The five-time Art Ross winner leads the league with 14 goals and paces the Blueshirts with 23 points. In 24:24, Jagr had a game high 10 shots and was named the game's First Star.

Strudwick and Ward Assist On Tying Goal: Jason Strudwick and Jason Ward picked up assists on Betts' tying goal in the third. Strudwick, who played on the blueline Thursday, was used as a forward Saturday. His sharp angle centering pass rebounded out to Betts, who knotted the score. It was Strudwick's second assist of the season. In 8:11, he registered one hit with a plus-one rating.

With some hard work in the corner, Ward notched his third assist of the season to atone for three undisciplined penalties earlier in the contest. In 15:03, he had one shot with two of the Rangers' 10 takeaways and was plus-one.

Moore Continues Solid Penalty Killing: Dominic Moore helped kill four of five penalties on the day. He logged a team high 4:20 while shorthanded and blocked two shots. In 17:51, the 25-year-old freshman was seven-for-16 on draws and a minus-one.

Kasparaitis, Malik and Rozsival Chip In: All three defensemen were steady presences. In 18:43, Darius Kasparaitis had three shots and blocked a team high four. His setup of Marcel Hossa on the doorstep nearly resulted in the go-ahead goal late in regulation.

In 24:31, Malik had two shots, two hits and one blocked shot. In particular, he was very effective while shorthanded (3:58).

Rozsival logged a game best 27:45 including 5:34 on the power play and 4:10 shorthanded. He had one takeaway with three blocked shots.

Power Play Success Is Winning Formula: With a Prucha power play goal today, it marked the 13th time in 15 games the Blueshirts have scored on the man-advantage this season. They are 7-3-3 in those contests.

Rangers To Face Pens Monday: New York (8-4-3) takes on Pittsburgh (3-6-5) Monday night at MSG. It is the first of eight meetings and will be their first look at rookie Sidney Crosby. Crosby paces all rookies with 18 points (4-14-18).

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