Friday, May 04, 2007

Not This Time

Maxim Afinogenov went from the dog house, benched game four, to the penthouse with the game winning goal at 4:39 of OT to give the Sabres a 2-1 win and a 3-2 lead in the playoffs. The loss was devastating to the Rangers as Chris Drury scored the game tying goal with 7.7 seconds left in the game. Martin Straka had given the Rangers a 1-0 lead and seemingly the win with a goal with 3:17 to play but the Rangers could not hold on.

An unnecessary icing by Daniel Girardi with 16.2 seconds gave the Sabres an opportunity to tie it up. Girardi had time to move the puck or just flip it lightly to center ice but instead iced it and the Rangers had a tired group on the ice and even though Nylander won the faceoff the Sabres were relentless and when Thomas Vanek was stopped by Lundqvist the rebound went to Sabres 'old reliable' Chris Drury who drove it home, his sixth of the playoffs, to tie the game.

The Rangers have only themselves to blame. They had a goal waved off on a needless and questionable goal tending interference call against Brad Isbister. Their power play was 0-7 and they took very few shots and went back to the old habit of perimeter game, tic, tac, toe play. Remember Michal Rozsival who won the first OT game of this series with a blistering 50 footer? Tonight he had no shots on goal despite getting 7:01 of power play time. Nylander had no shots on goal with 22:47 of ice time including 6:56 of power play time, he had the goal that was waved off by the interference call. While Straka had the Rangers only goal, that was at even strength. He had no shots on goal with 6:55 of PP time. Paul Mara, with 6:22 of PP time had no shots on goal. Is it any wonder that the Sabres stopped the Ranger power play? Look at the differential in shots on goal.

The Rangers were out shot 40-23. The Rangers blocked 16 shots and Buffalo 12. Buffalo missed 13 shots and the Rangers 11, so the Sabres had a total of 69 shots and the Rangers 46, so the Rangers were badly outshot. If not for Lundqvist the game would have been a rout. Buffalo put 30 shots on goal for the last two periods of regulation and the Rangers had 9.

In OT the refs called two bad penalties one on each team. They called Drury for hooking at the 27 second mark and decided to make it up with a hooking call on Betts at the 4:28 mark and that was it. Both calls were questionable. Neither should have been called for a playoff OT game. Meanwhile Dainius Zubrus pushes the envelope and hits Jagr every which way he can and there isn't a Ranger available or willing to protect Jagr who drew a two minute roughing penalty for punching (?) Zubrus. Maybe its time to get Orr back in the lineup and bench Isbister. The Sabres were 1-6 on the power play with the one being the winner.

Tonight it can truly be said that Lundqvist was The Lone Ranger. Maybe if one Tonto had showed up the Rangers would be looking to wrap up this series Sunday instead of having to win and go back to Buffalo one more time to see if they can get it right on the third try. I know their goalie will show up. Will the rest of the team?

ICINGS:

May 5, 2007
Newsday
Nylander's Illness Passed Along By Family
Sabres 2, Rangers 1
Sabres Winner Of Presence Trophy Too
Daily News
Blueshirt Shocker
NY Post
Maxim-Um Agony
This Loss Caused By Panic Attack
Journal News
Rangers Let Chance Slip Away, Lose To Sabres In Overtime
Rangers' Nylander Still Battling Flu



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