This is one of those stories that just cannot be made up.
Fellow writer and New York Rangers fan Chris “Gootz” Hoeler always brings this to my attention, so it was about time I wrote something about it. It is an inside joke among us fans that when backup goalies face the Rangers, especially at Madison Square Garden, they have the habit of playing like a hall-of-famer. Every time the Rangers face Alex Auld, Chris begins to sweat and shake, because Auld, a veteran of a whopping 220 games in nine seasons, always seems to hand the Rangers their collective butts on a game by game basis.
Up until now, I never really took it seriously—I know rookies always seem to score their first NHL goal against the Rangers, or a star who is on a fifteen game slump breaks out of it, but Alex Auld? Really? Let’s take a look at his career stats against the Rangers:
7 GP (6 GS); 4-0-2; .963 SV%; 1.02 GAA; 1 shutout
Those are just unreal numbers, and now every time Auld is in net, I have to pay attention. When the Rangers faced the Canadiens on Sunday and lit up Carey Price for five goals, to take a 5-1 lead after the first period, it looked like the Rangers were off to a smooth and easy victory. Think again. Why? Because Montreal put Auld in net to start the second. Not only did he give his team a chance to win by stopping 18 of 19 shots, he played absolutely brilliant hockey, leaving Chris having an aneurysm in his seat in section 420. He told me before the game that he would die if Auld started, so when Price was pulled I called him up and left a voicemail to the effect of, “Hey Gootz, look who’s in goal! It’s Alex Auld! I hope we have enough goals!”. Lo and behold, the Canadiens would respond with two goals to get the score to 5-3 before the Rangers would finally send a freedom-fighter over the Berlin Wall to make it 6-3.
Auld is a secret weapon. He is Liam Neeson in Taken. He is Chuck Norris in…well, Chuck Norris.
The GM’s around the league should arrange it so that whatever team is playing the Rangers gets to have
Dryden Auld in net. He would win 82 games a season if they did that. Besides Martin Brodeur, what goalie has ever owned the Rangers like this?
I think the troops on Normandy Beach had an easier time fighting the Nazi’s than the Rangers have at scoring against Auld, the modern-day Ken Dryden (who is pictured on his mask). Tonight, when the Rangers barely defeated the Florida Panthers 1-0, I received a text saying, “Vokoun had an Alex Auld moment”.
Throughout his career, Auld has faced all 30 NHL teams and the Rangers are one of only two teams he has never lost to, the second being the Florida Panthers. His save percentage and goals against average are career lows against the Rangers.