Saturday, April 22, 2006

Swamped!-Self Destruction

Devils win Game 1Imagine playing a game where your opponent gets a whole period on the power play. That is basically what happened today in New Jersey. The Rangers committed thirteen, yes count them, thirteen, giving the Devils 18:29 minutes of power play time. The Devils scored five power play goals and the sixth was one second after an expiring penalty.

In my 68 years as a Ranger fan I don't believe I've ever seen the Rangers play a more undisciplined game. Considering the stakes this was the most disappointing Ranger game I have ever seen. The game also comes under the heading of be careful what you wish for as Tom Renney, talking about refs calling penalties, was quoted as saying, "I think we need zero tolerance." Tom got that with dividends.

With Gary Bettman and the chief of officials in attendance you just knew that every little infraction would be called. Think about this. In a game that featured one of the most penalized team in the NHL (Rangers), against the least penalized team in the NHL (Devils), whom do you think would benefit? Were there questionable penalties? Of course. But thirteen penalties, give me a break. Four of our first six penalties were by our forwards that usually kill penalties.

However the Rangers did little to help themselves. Their penalty killing was strange and awful. The Devils were 5-13 on the PP. No the Devils didn't score on every PP, it just seemed like they did. Rather then get in close to their goalie the Rangers forwards insisted on chasing the point men back and forth and left the defense having to handle the other three Devils, two of which seemed to be planted in front of Lundqvist at all times. It is hard to say whether the Devils PP is that good or the Rangers PK that bad. Either way the Rangers must rebound in game two.

The Rangers were presented with an opportunity in the first period when Colin White was injured and had to leave the game, leaving the Devils with only five defensemen but alas Renney failed to exploit this situation. The obvious move was to send the forwards in deep and pressure the Devils D. No such adjustment. Renney stuck with his game plan, whatever it was. Also for the second time in a week Renney decided to shuffle the lines and for the second time, first time against the Flyers, the team looked disoriented. That will also cause penalties, but disoriented or not there was no excuse for the endless penalties.

Can the Rangers recover? Will Jagr be able to play? Listening to him after the game it doesn't sound too good. Also the status of Jason Ward is also unknown. Jagr or not the Rangers must go back to basics. Can they go back? Will it matter the way the Devils are playing? Lets face it folks, this Devil team will not beat itself. But there has to be concern in Rangerland. The Rangers have now lost six in a row and can not put together a solid sixty minutes. The Devils are determined, the Rangers seem to be befuddled.

Will Renney make a goalie change in game two? While Lundqvist was not to blame he doesn't seem to have the flair or confidence he had before his injury. Weekes has been successful against the Devils. Changing goalies now may shake up the team but this team right now is so fragile its doubtful that a change could help. This hardly seems to be the time to hope for a Lundqvist revival, not the way the team is playing now. The bet is to stay with Lundqvist. He along with Jagr got us here. Stay with him.

ICINGS: Good for Ryan Hollweg for going after Cam Jannsen who had hit Kasparaitis. Hollweg went right after Jannsen knocking him down and brawling with him. Hollweg also took Janssen down in the scuffle. Remember, Janssen had promised to beat up Hollweg for his hit(clean) on Brylin in the last regular season game. Didn't bother the cannonball one bit, he immediately went after Janssen. With Ward possibly out it may be a good time to dress Colton Orr and maybe we will have a bonafied brawl.

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  • Anonymous said...

    It seems that the clock has struck midnight for Cinderella. The last week we've heard the same thing.. they don't play 60 minutes, they're undisciplined.. could the team be too sick from the flu? Let's think about getting some players with grit and character for next year and watch some good teams like the Oilers this year.

  • mike said...

    To anonymous-A team built around Two players, Jagr and Lundqvist has simply run out of gas and remember Lundqvist was a surprise bonus. You are right about next year, Chara looks appetizing, but we ain't dead yet.

  • Anonymous said...

    As good as the Devils have been as of late, They don't scare me and they shouldn't scare the blueshirts at all. It's just going to require them to play a relentless 60+ minutes (much like Buffalo, Edmonton and Montreal play). Even with the injuries, the lingering effects of the flu and the stripes working against us (although they called a good game 1) - they can still fight hard. I just don't want them to roll over and give the Devils a free pass.

  • niteislander said...

    I am concerned about the rangers toughness. While I agree about the Hollweg stepping up was great. Who do they have that will do that the whole game? Who will clear the front of the net? Kasper is only guy who will hit anyone. That does not float in the playoffs. Jagr got hurt trying to do what the rest of players didn't. It is sad to see your superstar try and answer physical play. The penalties were insane, but your goalie does not stand a chance if you allow 2 forwards with skates in the crease to hang out. If the Rangers want to survive they need to have a hard hitting, clean, statement game tonight. (as you can see by my name I am impartial)

  • mike said...

    To anonymous-I don't think the Rangers will roll over and play dead. This team, unlike past Ranger teams , seem to have built character

  • mike said...

    To niteislander-Right on target my friend. You go to the head of the class.