Sunday, April 08, 2012

Staggering to the Finish, Rangers Lose, 4-1, to Caps

The Rangers are not inspiring any confidence with their going through the motions finish to what could have been their greatest season ever. The low intensity, unenterprising 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals, following the 5-2 shellacking by Pittsburgh, leaves a bad taste behind. It was like watching Tiger Woods bogey the last two holes of the first round at Augusta on Thursday. Certainly not a great omen for what's to come.

The Rangers were in a position to pick their poison for the playoffs. Beat Washington, play Washington in the first round. That would justly set up a chance for the Blueshirts to avenge two previous first round losses to the Capitals. But, instead of picking their poison, the Rangers will now take their poison and play Ottawa. Ottawa beat the Rangers three times in four meetings this season, shutting them out once, and out scoring them, 14 goals to 8.

The other disappointment in last night's loss, is that it took a little glow off of Henrik Lundqvist's quest for his first Vezina Trophy. Forty wins would have been a nice round number for Hank. The voices that sing the praises of Johnathan Quick overthrowing The King get a little louder. I don't think it will happen, but in the clubby insular world of NHL GM's anything is possible.

Yes, of course, you have to beat good teams to advance in the playoffs, but I think many of us were looking for some payback against Washington. However, the playoffs are a new season. The Rangers will turn it on again once it counts. The great disagreeable one, Tortorella, will push all the right buttons. That's got be your mantra if you are a Tortorella acolyte. For me this will be a day of prayer too.

So forget the recent past and focus on the near future. The team is healthy and no team in the East has been more consistent than the Rangers over the course of the season. The Senators also finished their season weakly, losing their last three. So, by all means bring on the Senators.

Happy Easter and Let's Go Rangers!

Some views from up North.

Black Aces:
Senators Get Rangers In First Round ... Torts Ready For War --
There's a lot of Senators fans thrilled at the idea of taking on the Rangers but you won't hear a hint of that coming from the players or the Senators organization. If you go by the regular season, Ottawa seems to match-up better against New York than Boston, but nobody wants to provide bulletin-board material for a team that was on the verge of winning the President's Trophy. How can you say you'd rather play the 1st place team than the 2nd? When you overthink the game, anything is plausible.

Ottawa is still the decided underdog going into this series, but like I said on Twitter, if there's one coach the referee's hate more than Paul MacLean, it's John Tortorella. That's worth at least one road victory in the first two games...
The 6th Sens:
With the conclusion of the NHL's regular season, everyone in the city of Ottawa is rejoicing over yesterday's good fortune. Thanks to a Senators loss, combined with victories by the Florida Panthers and the Washington Capitals, the Sens have dropped to eighth in the Eastern Conference and will avoid the Boston Bruins in the first round of the playoffs....

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