Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Beastly Loss: Capitals 4, Rangers 1

Just when the 'Beast of the East' Bandwagon was about to pull out of the old barn and start charging down Broadway the New York Rangers lay down and take a nap in Washington. They played like a beast with the least and lost a no-contest game, 4-1, to the Capitals. The Rangers 5 game winning streak ended with a muted whimper. By the way, thank you Puck Daddy for putting the hex on us.

All the flaws that handicap this team were exposed by the Capitals. The GAS line (Gaborik-Anisimov-Stepan) was bottled up and put in check. The strategy to defeat New York is becoming painfully clear. Simply turn off the GAS, and the Rangers' offense disappears.  They do not have a plan B. The only offensive spark was a lone Brandon Dubinsky goal late in the first period to tie the game at 1-1. It was all Capitals after that, they scored 2 goals in the second period, and one late in the third to seal the deal. Alexander Semin had two of the goals to earn the game's first star.

The power play went 0-for-5. It was especially frustrating watching the Rangers flounder in two back-to-back PP's late in the third period, when the score was still 3-1. Callahan kicking in a shot gave us a moment of hope, until it was ruled no goal. A real Rangers' score would have made the the final eight minutes a little more interesting.

The Rangers' power play still needs that big slap shot from the point to lay a hurt on defenders and punish them for standing in the shooting lanes. But, I don't see that happening. Instead the Rangers seem content to try and thread the needle and sneak a shot on goal. I would love to see some other teams take high velocity slap shots to their vital organs and then limp painfully back to the bench. That is a skill set the Rangers have become very proficient at. If the Rangers can't score on the PP, they should at least make other teams pay a price.

Brad Richards played an especially poor game. He was on the ice with Carl Hagelin during three Caps' scores (1,3,4). Torts did not use Richards on the PP's in the third period. If Brad is going to show the young speedster the ropes he needs shake this stinker off quick and figure out how to mesh with Squire Carl. Boyle (15:58) got more ice time than Hagelin (12:40). A stat that will need Richards' help to turn around. Mike Rupp got a token 5:15 of TOI, why bother?

The Scoring Summary:

G Per Time Str Team Goal Scorer Assist Assist
1 1 08:18 EV WSH Johnsson(7) Halpern(7)
2 1 17:16 EV NYR Dubinsky(3) Callahan(14)
3 2 10:24 EV WSH Brouwer(10) Carlson(17)
4 2 13:02 EV WSH Semin(8) Backstrom(24) Ovechkin(14)
5 3 17:25 EV WSH Semin(9) Ovechkin(15) Kalzner(10)

Next, on to Florida.

Some HBO 24/7 Rangers-Flyers items:

Full Episode 3 (video)
Classic preview highlights Episode 3 of '24/7'

Puck Daddy:
Video: New York Rangers’ HBO 24/7 ugly holiday sweater party

24/7: Episode 3 winners and losers 10 memorable phrases from HBO 24/7 episode three

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