Saturday, May 26, 2012

We're Not Tired – We're Dead!

I don't know what annoyed me more last night. Watching our first line getting outplayed by the Devils fourth line or the heavy traffic in front of Lundqvist and the relative stress free zone in front of Brodeur. Sure, we outshot the Devils, but too many shots were the pedestrian variety, right at Brodeur. In one instance a shot by Richards, which caught Brodeur in the middle of his body, brought the crowd to its feet with chants of Marty ringing in the air. I think the cheer was more to boost Marty than to praise him.

Our first line let us down again; Richards, Gaborik and Hagelin. The Devils took them completely out of the game. Of course, the Devils completely owned the first period. The fast start that was needed by the Rangers, that was talked about, was nonexistent. I believe we only scored one goal in the first period (in game 5) in this series and I believe the Devils scored eight times. Doesn't sound like a team ready to play. Of course, this puts enormous pressure on our goalie, Lundqvist, to keep the scoring to a minimum.

Speaking of traffic, the winning goal was scored off of a scrum in front of the net. What was Brad Richards doing behind Lunqvist? Standing off to Lundqvist's left he should have held his position and put his body on Henrique. But no, he moved behind Lundqvist and was useless on the deciding goal. But maybe it saved us all a long, long night because the offense was practically nonexistent. In fact, the offense has been bad all year long. The Tortorella master strategy has been blocked shots, and Lundqvist making big saves, and petulant press conferences.

The Garden is going to charge a fortune to see games next year. You want to pay 400 cannolis to watch a team block shots and suffer through a two or three goal game? I don't. I want to see hockey games. We have a coach that doesn't have a clue about how the offense works, about fixing the power play, about building a productive, useful fourth line. But, he has a team that risks life and limb to block shots.

Almost everyone is all excited by the play of Chris Kreider, who has scored five playoff goals. However, remember he has not been Tortorellaized. He has to be taught defense. He has to be taught how to block shots. We will see a different Kreider next year. Trust me

On the way home from Newark listening to the sports guys it was all, "wait 'til next year," when we will do all kinds of wondrous things. They talked about the team like it was the second coming of Stanley Cup Champions past. It ain't going to happen with this coach. It will be more of the same. The blocking shots technique is not going to work. Teams figure it out. Look at how the Devils were passing and faking shots and the success they had.

It was a long night and today has been even a longer day. I am tired and I am writing about a team, my team, who was very tired during the playoffs due to the misuse of key players. The coach will not and did not admit to his team being tired, but the results say it. The Rangers played like a tired team, because they were and now they are dead.

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ICINGS:


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Friday, May 25, 2012

We'll Win Tonight!

I must admit I'm a bit of a dreamer. Also a fan of the nostalgia. That is why I kept waiting for someone to step up and declare and guarantee a victory for tonight. Someone on the Rangers that is. But, lo and behold it was not to be. No Cally. No Gabby. No Richards. Even the great Henrik Lundqvist has been silent on this matter. They are all saying the right, safe words. Someone needs to say it and here it is.

We'll Win Tonight!

There, I said it and it's in print. There is more than just a hint of hope and bravado in that statement. First of all we still have the best money goalie in the NHL and tonight he will step up and give us a vintage Lundqvist game. Game five was an aberration and if we can keep the Ranger defensemen at a safe distance from the King, he will stone the Devils again.

Killing the flat syndrome. We must come out flying and charging, ready to play SIXTY MINUTES of hockey, not twenty or forty. It would help if we saw some consistency in the lines and not the constant changes that the coach is wont to do.

Traffic in front of Marty. The Rangers should look at the tapes of Sean Avery in front of Brodeur and create chaos and all kinds of trouble in front of the net. Brodeur is very beatable, but we need to be more aggressive and forceful. In that regard we need an aggressive forecheck. Put the pressure on the D-men and they will cough up the puck. Pressure, pressure, pressure leads to puck control. Puck control leads to scoring chances which leads to goals which leads to wins.

So there it is, a guaranteed win for tonight. It will be a good night for the Ranger fans in attendance tonight watching Lundqvist with his arms held high. Let's Go Rangers!!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

1994?

The Rangers are playing Russian Roulette this playoff series and I am afraid that right now all the chambers are loaded. In yet another shocking flat opening period the Rangers stood around and watched as the Devils exploded for three goals in the first 9:49. I expected the Rangers to applaud after that opening salvo. Yes, the Rangers came back and tied the score, but the Devils won it with 4:24 left on Ryan Carter's goal and an empty netter by Parise clinched it.

The old bugaboo, coming out flat, reared its ugly head and despite our comeback that was the real killer. This has been going on all year and our fearless disagreeable coach does not have a clue about what's wrong or how to fix it.

What was troubling was the performance of Henrik Lundqvist. Four goals is a career against him. But it happens. The guy has been magnificent all year and if it wasn't for him we would not have made the playoffs. I expect him to come back with a big effort in game six.

So now we are in the 1994 template. Down three games to two and going to New Jersey. However, there is no Mark Messier to guarantee a win and I doubt if we have a player that could step up and score a hat trick. But, we will show up and I expect a strong performance. We may even show up for the first ten minutes.

I will also show up. The bad news: I can't skate, shoot or score, but I yell well. In fact, some have accused me of being loud. So I will be there rootin' and tootin' hopefully in a winning effort — 1994 revisited.

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ICINGS:



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Marty Gets Even

Yeah, Marty got the win to even the series, but if you watched you noticed that only one team showed up to play the game and that team wasn't in the road whites. So this is what happens when you are playing goal for the New York Rangers and your name is Henrik Lundqvist. You have given your team two shutout wins and when push comes to shove the team can't help Lundqvist.

The coach claims the team isn't tired, but when asked a relevant question he states, "we never had the puck." So how does one go about getting the puck? You fight for it and you skate for it. Skate for it? There was no skating, no movement, no flow, no cohesion and no goals. Want proof of that? The Devils had five power plays and scored one goal. We had one power play and naturally didn't score. You are not going to draw penalties and get power plays if you are not aggressive and not skating.

Why weren't the Rangers skating? No one was hurt, so that's out. No one on the Rangers is lazy, so that's out. The coach insists the team is not tired, but with last night's performance or lack of, there is a strong case made for a tired team. The best legs on the Rangers last night were Kreider, Mitchell and Hagelin. You figure out why.

So now the template continues, win one, lose one. However, this is game five which is pivotal. We can't lose this one and go to the Rock down three to two in games. There is no Mark Messier on this Ranger roster. Another Mattieu, Mattieu, Mattieu could show up but if we don't show up tomorrow night at game zero, and skate, skate, skate we will spend the summer talking about the what ifs.

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ICINGS: 

 The King is assailed in Jersey, bodyguard goes missing
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 Rangers captain Ryan Callahan exchanges some words with New Jersey's Ilya Kovalchuk after both players were called for penalties at 15:03 of the second period.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lundqvist Stones The Devils

It looked like a replay of game two with a flat effort coming out of the gate. The Devils were swarming, but Lundqvist stood tall turning back eleven Devils' shots. Lundqvist got the Rangers through a tough first period. He also got them through a not too pretty second period. Truth be told, he stole the game.

Yes, the Rangers scored three goals starting with Dan Girardi's power play goal. Then it was the Soaring Eagle, Chris Kreider, who scored his 5th playoff goal, his third this series and basically it was all over. Ryan Callahan's empty netter finished the scoring.

While the Rangers were outshot 36-22, they out hit the Devils 24-15. The Rangers also blocked 19 shots to the Devils 6. But when you only launch 32 shots, what's to block? The Devils launched a total of 66 shots. The D led by McDonagh, Staal and Girardi was outstanding with a goal by Girardi and an assist by McDonagh.

However, this game will be remembered for Henrik Lundqvist's performance. For most of the game the Devils were the aggressors, had the better of the play, and at least for the first two periods had the game under control. Pure and simple King Henrik stole the game. He may have even stole the series. This game will not be remembered for the elbow Brandon Prust put to the head of Anton Volchenkov. Prust should be suspended. We have to put an end to these head shots, accident or otherwise.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Two Little, Two Late, Too Quiet

Don't ask coach disagreeable about his team being tired. In fact judging by another sterling press conference don't ask disagreeable anything. He admitted that his team was slow in the first period to Pierre. However, he wouldn't admit to tired. No, they are not tired. Then what are they? When you are slow its because a) you are hurt. b) you are lazy or c) you are tired. The Rangers are not hurt and they surely are not lazy, so it must be tired. And why not?

Last night four players got less than nine minutes of ice time. Only one player on the Devils, Carter, got less than nine minutes, 8:15, and he scored a goal. The Devils fourth line of Gionta, Carter and Bernier got significant ice time with a goal, an assist and six hits. The funny thing though is the Rangers were tired coming out of the box.

There is now a template being set here.The Rangers win the first game of the series, come out flat and lose the second game. The teams go back and forth for the next four games and then it's back to the Garden for game seven which the Rangers win. However, and how come there is always a however, templates have been known to go wrong. One of these days we will lose a game seven, or a deciding game six or a deciding game five.

Disagreeable was outcoached again and had two comments in the press conference. One was "no" and the other "let's keep it in the room" whatever that means. The much maligned Devil coach Peter DeBoer changed his first line, opened up his bench and took away home ice from the Rangers. He coached. Our guy, growled, snarled and got out foxed. Then the usual shtick of a press conference where he faced down the press. How long is this act going to be tolerated? When is the Stealth going to step in? The Absentee Owner? The Commissioner? Do we need a collapse by the team to get rid of this abomination? It's a shame because this season could have been special. It still can be.

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ICINGS: 

#MediaHell - Torturous Tortorella Post-game Press Conference

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Shoot Low Sheriff, They're Crawling!

The blame stream media and the blogs are all abuzz about how tough guy, Fatso Marty Brodeur, decided to get tough and threaten the Rangers with total destruction in tonight's game. He has ordered his troops to shoot at the Rangers and maybe maim or at least harm or maybe scare a few. Marty figutes a few high shots around the face and head might scare a few Rangers into not blocking some shots.

Marty doesn't know the Rangers. Actually he does, its the coach he doesn't know. Could you imagine a Ranger ducking a shot and coming back to the bench to face coach disagreeable and his effusive smile? Hah! Whats more scary, more frightening, than the disagreeable one who now has grown facial hair to give a resemblance of Fu Manchu.

But leave it to Marty to stir up the game. Actually its going to be the fans, the Garden Faithful, who are going to have all kinds of fun with this tonight. Too bad Sean Avery is not in the game tonight. Can't you just see it. The game is tied and Fatso has the puck in front of their net. In comes a hard charging Avery. Fatso shoots the puck, it hits Avery in the head.and goes by Fatso for the winning goal. The NHL puts in Avery Rule Two. A puck off of Sean Avery's head is considered a penalty and the goal is disallowed.

Oh well. Tonight I have an important decision to make. The Ranger game or Gunsmoke. I think I'll choose Gunsmoke. At least I know who the bad guys are. Shoot low Sheriff, they're crawling.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Rangers Resurrected in 3rd Period, Defeat Devils 3-0

Win a period, win a game. That was the story of last night's game, when the Rangers finally scored two goals followed by an empty-netter in the 3rd period to steal a game from the NJ Devils, 3-0. The Devils were doing everything right for the first two periods, except score. The Rangers were pulling their old Tortorella rope-a-dope. That is "stay patient," guard the King, let the other team punch themselves out by keeping the puck in the Rangers end for most of the second period. A brilliant, but flawed, strategy that is held together only by the royal greatness of Henrik Lunqvist.

Lunqvist stood tall and removed the goat horns from the head of Dan Girardi with some help from Ryan McDonagh. Gerardi was doing his walking dead imitation with several early giveaways that were erased by Lundqvist and McDonagh. Girardi was given a near 6 minute timeout by Tortorella midway through the 2nd period to collect his thoughts and his game. Dano quickly redeemed himself in the third period by ripping Kid Kreider's soft setup past Marrr-teee, who was screened by Stepan. The resurrection had begun. Krider followed that up with another bullet past the Broduer, the Donut King, off Anisimov’s slick pass to make it 2-0. The dead men were skating.

The pugilists were given the night off. So Prust and Rupp contributed in other ways, they each took a two-minute minor for roughing.

It's pretty clear that in order for the Rangers to have any success the defense has to score. The Rangers are not getting enough scoring out of their forwards. If the Rangers continue to win it's a bet that the defense is doing the heavy lifting.

ICINGS:

#HotRubber -- Norman "Boomer" Esiason was claiming this morning on his Boomer and Carton Show that the NHL ice expert, Dan Craig, told him the pucks were bouncing around the first two periods because they had not been properly refrigerated before the game. It had nothing to do with the ice conditions. He added that if you noticed the puck action was better by the third period once the pucks had been properly chilled. Okay, so MSG forgot to ice their pucks?

#ReverseTortorella -- Tortorell was asked during his press conference why he took that timeout late in the 2nd period following a roughing call on Prust. Tortorella said they were "tired" and needed a rest. Later Torts was asked if the team was "tired" because of the short rest since the Washington series, he told the report that he didn't believe in any of that "tired" garbage.

#CharityHat -- Dan Girardi ends up wearing the Broadway Hat.


#HockeyPhalanx -- The defensive formation that the Rangers find themselves frequently playing in order to protect The King.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Henrik Reigns Supreme

With the chant of "We want the Cup" ringing out in the Garden the Rangers advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals against their blood rivals, the New Jersey Devils. It was another one goal game, 2-1. It will be the Rangers first Conference final since 1997 when the Rangers lost to the Flyers four games to one. The Rangers and the Devils have met five times in the playoffs with the Rangers holding a 4-1 edge.

Richards and Del Zotto were the goal scorers. Del Zotto may have gotten away with a trip on Ovechkin and sped up the ice and iced the win by putting one past Holtby, who was great, and made 29 saves. The Rangers out hit the Caps 33-27 with Del Zotto leading the hit parade with 8. John Mitchell, with only 6:32 of ice time had 4 hits as did Derek Stepan who got 19:50 of ice time. Chris Kreider with 13:07 had 3 shots on goal. So the kids got meaningful ice time.

Lundqvist,  made 22 saves, and saved the game with a series of saves, as the Caps unloaded a barrage in the second period and Henrik stood tall. On a five on five the Caps had the puck for over two minutes firing shots from all angles. He has a 1.68 GAA in the playoffs. Lundqvist is on a mission and he was aided and abetted by that 'old reliable', the Garden Faithful. The fans were in playoff 'do or die' mode and never let up for a second. So far the Rangers are doing this the hard way carrying each series to seven games. The Rangers will have a big advantage in any more seventh game because the Garden Faithful will be there.They may be the first team in history to play 28 games to win the Stanley Cup.

So it's the Rangers vs the Devils. Stirs up memories of the Mark Messier guarantee and his memorable hat trick. It recalls the famous "Matteau, Matteau, Matteau." Sean Avery harassing and agitating Marty Brodeur, which culminated in the Sean Avery Rule and Brodeur refusing to shake hands with Avery. This series promises to stir up some new memories and some new heroes. However, remember the Rangers have Henrik Lundqvist, The King, and right now he reigns supreme.

ICINGS: I was never a fan of Dale Hunter, but he was a class act after the game going through the line and shaking every Ranger's hand. In fact the hand shaking at the end of the game was the friendliest I have ever seen. The players actually seemed to like each other. This won't happen at the end of the Devil series.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Acela Express Classic

Every big sporting event, or game, has a 'Classic" tag attached. Tomorrow night's showdown between the Rangers and the Capitals is as big as it gets with the winner moving on and the loser going home and thinking and planning for next year. So I hereby dub the game, The Acela Express Classic. Acela Express is the name given the Amtrak train that runs express service from New York to Washington D.C.

After tomorrow's game we will have either The Miracle on 33rd Street or The Slaughter on 7th Ave. We either have a spirited, smiling, and jovial press conference or we will have a one and done press conference. It will either last about 30 minutes or about 16 seconds. The man holding that press conference will have a big part in determining the fate of his team. He, coach disagreeable, cannot be outcoached again. I say again because that is what is happening in this series. The Stanley Cup Championship coach is being outcoached by the neophyte former "Lady Binger," Dale Hunter, who is doing just that.

Hunter is using his entire team. It is rare that more than one player on the Caps gets less than 10 minutes a game. The Rangers regularly have 5-6 players under ten minutes a game. Is it any wonder that the team tires early? Of course the coach lovers will talk about the late comebacks that have produced miracles as proof that the team is fully rested to go a full sixty minutes. The big comeback win was fueled by a double minor penalty.

The Rangers were also fueled by the play of college callup Chris Kreider and second year kid Derek Stepan, who played brilliantly in games where Hagelin was suspended. They pulled a couple of goofs and their ice time is in the 5-7 minute time and they are regulated to third and fourth lines. Has anyone kept track of Del Zotto's goofs and how that effects his ice time?

BTW, no way do I believe that if we win will the press conference be truly jovial. This coach is at war with the press. The blame stream media is coming alive on this issue. Even Iron Mike Keenan criticized the coach for not giving out important info to the press and thereby to the fans. So tomorrow is a big game and a big test for our coach and his methods and his demeanor, before, during and after the game

So will it be, The Miracle on 33rd Street or The Slaughter on 7th Ave? Will it be an explosion of team emotions or an implosion of the coach? Will the handshakes be a smiling Ranger team or a downtrodden Blueshirt team? I picked the Rangers in seven and barring some unforeseen events I am sticking with that prediction. Hopefully we won't lose the game from the bench.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Do You Believe In Miracles

Yes!

How else to explain last nights win? An accidental high stick by Joel Ward with 22 seconds left in the game gave the Rangers a four-minute power play. A tying goal by Brad Richardss with 6.6 seconds left in regulation. The winning goal at the 1:35 mark of OT by Marc Staal. Two power play goals in less than two minutes. Wow! What are the chances of the inept PP scoring two power play goals in less than two minutes?

So now the game becomes an instant classic to be played over and over on MSG. And all because of the finish. It was a hard charging game between two teams more intent on blocking shots than on doing anything else. The Caps lead all playoff teams with blocked shots. The Rangers are second. The Rangers tried mightily to break open the game early out shooting the Caps 17-4 in the first period. When the first period ended the Rangers had a 1-0 lead. So it was the typical shooting blanks. Until the end. Holtby had 35 saves and Lundqvist 16.

It was great seeing the winner come off the stick of Marc Staal. He has been slowly working his way back to the top of the NHL's best D men. Perhaps Brad Parks sitting in the stands inspired him. Richards has been clutch down the stretch and in the playoffs and knows how to win big games. As I have said often, Lundqvist is Lundqvist.

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ICINGS:

Richards ties game with 6.6 7.6 seconds remaining


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Scoring Summary
G Per Time Str Team Goal Scorer Assist Assist
1 1 10:44 EV NYR Stralman(3) Staal(3) Stepan(6)
2 2 08:15 EV WSH Laich(2) Ovechkin(4) Brouwer(1)
3 3 04:20 PP WSH Carlson(2) Wideman(3) Brouwer(2)
4 3 19:53 PP NYR Richards(5) Callahan(3) Del Zotto(5)
5 4 01:35 PP NYR Staal(2) Mitchell(1)
 
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Staal wears the Magical Broadway Hat

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Capital Demise

Two old bugaboos killed the Rangers today and allowed the Caps to tie the series at two games each. Instead of having a stranglehold 3-1 lead the Rangers now have to fight for their playoff lives. All the pregame talk from the disagreeable coach was that the word tired was not to be muttered. Well if the Rangers weren't tired, what was it? The first period was played like it was a Ranger defensive drill with the Caps skating at ease through a tired Ranger team. The Rangers were out shot 14-3 and Lundqvist was brilliant making 13 saves.

And what happens when you are tired? You make mistakes, that's what happens. Unfortunately, rookie phenom Chris Kreider made the boo boo, clearing a lazy pass onto the stick of Alex Ovechkin, who launched a laser past Lundqvist and the Caps took the lead, which they would take two more times. Kreider would pay for this with only 7:34 of ice time. Three other Rangers had less ice time than Kreider. The Caps low man was Mike Knuble with 8:57 of ice time And you wonder why we get tired.

The much maligned Artem Anisimov played his best game of the playoffs, tying the game, 1-1, with a goal from in close on a beautiful deke and assisting on Gaboriks tying 2-2 goal by racing down the ice to negate an icing. However, after battling back twice the Rangers were doomed when Hagelin took a questionable slashing penalty and Mike Green scored the game winner. The Caps were 1-2 on the PP and the Rangers were 0-2. The other bugaboo.

The Rangers had a great chance when Ovechkin was whistled off for charging into Girardi. Ovie was given two minutes. He should be given more, because he definitely left his feet and hopefully it will be reviewed by the NHL. Don't hold your breath on anything happening. So it's on to NY for game five and there will be no discussion about being tired. After all, tired is a frame of mind, and if the  Rangers have the same mind set for game five as they had for the start of game four this series might well be over.

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ICINGS: 

Scoring Summary: 
G Per Time Str Team Goal Scorer Assist Assist
1 1 12:43 EV WSH Ovechkin(4) unassisted
2 2 01:10 EV NYR Anisimov(2) Girardi(5) Boyle(1)
3 2 11:54 EV WSH Backstrom(2) Chimera(2) Ward(4)
4 2 16:43 EV NYR Gaborik(3) Anisimov(4) Staal(2)
5 3 14:12 PP WSH Green(2) Wideman(2)
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Artem Anisimov prepares to shoot the puck past the right pad of Bradon Holtby

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Gabby Grabs Glory, Rangers Outlast Caps, 2-1 (3OT)

The Rangers won a three overtime yawner, 2-1, over the Washington Capitals. Yawner, because the game ended at 12:14AM and Rangerland was fighting to hang in there and stay awake to see the conclusion of this epic game. The game 3 victory gives the Rangers a 2-1 series lead over their marathon DC grind house dance partners.

Mercifully Marion Gaborik slipped the game winner past Caps goalie Bradon Holtby with 5:19 remaining in the third overtime. Gabby's glory goal was set up by the ever resourceful Brad Richards, who manufactured the game winner with a well timed play off the boards with Girardi, followed up by a deft centering pass to Gabby. The Slovakian sniper, who has been hunkered down in his fox hole for eight games, finally scored his first playoff OT goal.  It happened so quick that many in the crowd at the Verizon center didn't realize for a few moments that they were going home unhappy. 

The night belonged to the goalies, Lundqvist (46 saves) and Holtby (47 saves). They both had full game shutouts if you count scoreless periods 3, 4, and 5 as one game.

No one beats the King in eight consecutive playoff OT games. No one.

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ICINGS:

Not many score sheets show a 6 for the period when the game winner was scored.

Scoring Summary:
G Per Time Str Team Goal Scorer Assist Assist
1 2 06:41 PP NYR Callahan(3) Del Zotto(4) Gaborik(5)
2 2 11:10 EV WSH Carlson(1) Semin(1) Kalzner(2)
3 6 14:41 EV NYR Gaborik(2) Richards(5) Girardi(4)
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#IronMan Ryan McDonagh played the most of any Ranger with 53:21 of ice time.

#grating Michael 'Doc' Emerick, Sam Rosen lord do we miss you. Sometime around 11:00 PM I turned the sound off and just watched the game. Three plus hours of Doc was enough.

#comingupbig Brad Richards has been involved in 44% of the Rangers post season offense.

#endingthedrought Rangers finally win an overtime game for Lundvist. Lundqvist wins first OT after 7 straight losses. Rangers improve on their shabby 31 wins in 70 playoff OTs. Rangers finally beat Caps in playoff OT after 5 straight losses.

#luckfactor Ovechkin hitting iron was a good omen

#RumpRoast Boyle blocking Rupp's shot with his keister was not a good omen.  Milbury quote that I found myself repeating, "the big men couldn't get it done."

#One4theRecordBook 2nd longest victory in NYR history. The longest win in Rangers history came way back on March 26, 1932, when Bill Cook scored at 19:32 of the third overtime to beat Montreal 4-3.
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 Rangers Win

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Ovechkin's PPG Sinks Rangers, 3-2

Alexander Ovechkin only had 13:36 of total ice time and 18 shifts last night. In fact, his 13:36 for the night was the lowest of his 46-game Stanley Cup playoff career. The 'defense first' philosophy of Washington Capital's coach Dale Hunter has found The Great 8's game wanting. Ovie scored the game winner off a faceoff win, on his 17th shift, with 7:27 remaining in the game. His reward for scoring was to be virtually benched. He only had one more shift of 23 seconds after his slapper for the 3-2 lead. Thank you very much.

Alexander Semin, a 21 goal scorer for the Caps during the regular season, only had 12:27 of ice time last night. The Capitals are stealing a page from the John Tortorella hockey handbook. The defenders shall inherit the earth or at least all the ice time. The only reason Chris Kreider is getting his time (17:54 last night) is that he can play Tortorella defensive hockey. If Ovechkin played for Tortorella he might be called the Great 8, because he would be averaging only 8 minutes of playing time a game, and that mostly on the power play.

So, both teams are settling in for a grind house defensive war. Can the Capitals beat the Rangers at their own game? They did last night. If the series is decided by special teams, like power play units, I think you have to give the edge to Washington. Turning number 8 into a special teamer gives him plenty of incentive to make his PP time count for something. AO took 5 of his 7 shots on the PP.

If you are a 'defense first' team like the Rangers, you can't suffer defensive lapses. That's what happened on the first two Washington scores. Stu Bickel and Del Zotto teamed up to gift the Caps their first goal off the odd man rush that was set up when Bickel's lazy cross ice pass was intercepted. Bickel (3:07 TOI) was reward with just one more shift for the rest of the night. Thank you very much.

If this series is determined by the PP, then having number 8 blasting from the point will turn out better for Washington. Michael Del Zotto will not trump Ovechkin in playing point on the PP.

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ICINGS:

Chris Kreider, No. 20, hits a Washington Capitals player



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