The first war of Lord Stanley's Cup 2013 is over. The NY Rangers led by their resolute rock, their king of the crease, their royal protector of the net, Henrik Lundqvist, routed the Capitals of DC, 5-0, in an epic game seven battle to win the series 4-3. The King stopped an intense Caps barrage of 13 shots in the first period, which then gave his loyal foot soldiers a chance to launch the counterattack and commence the sacking and pillaging of the net of squire Brandon of Holtby.
The Rangers' yeomen, grinders and gofers had their day of glory. Arron Asham started the assault with a beautiful screened slapshot off a Chris Keider back pass. Next, at 3:24 of the second period Taylor Pyatt notched his first goal of the playoffs, with assists from Derek Dorsett and Steve Eminger. That was also Dorsett and Eminger's first points of the playoffs. Del Zotto scored his first goal of the playoffs just over two minutes later, with a lucky deflected pass, to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead. The lowly foot soldiers had risen, the lesser lights were shining bright and the rout was on.
You could hear and sense the Washington team and their building deflate after Del Zotto's 3rd goal. Coming back and scoring three goals against the royal rock, Lundqvist, just to tie it up, in a game seven was not going to happen. The Captain, Ryan Callahan, led the mopping up operation with his nifty steal and the Rangers 4th goal just 13 seconds into the third. The villagers started fleeing the building after Cally's torching of the net. Lastly, this tale of victory concludes with the wee Hobbit of Oslo scoring his first playoff goal, 6:39 into the third, off a beautiful setup from Sir Derick of Brassard.
Musings and Mutterings:
Yes, Derick Brassard has been knighted. He is now Sir Brass in the Royal Court of King Henrik Lundqvist. Seven assists, two goals, in the last five playoff games, and +4, earns that honor. Ironically, it was surprising to see that Sir Brass was not credited with any shots during game 7. He will also be allowed to keep the number 16 without further comment.
Since he was not going to score against the King, Alexander Ovechkin became a beast. Henceforth he will be know as "The Ovechkin." The Ovechkin had a shift where he hit everything in sight. (See: The Russian Machine Never Breaks, hit GIFs, including the boarding of McDonagh). Ovechkin had only one shot on goal in 20 shifts (19:08 of ice time), but was not on the ice for any of the Rangers goals. The Ovechkin's final line in the seven-game series reads one goal in Game 1, an assist in Game 2 and then five straight games without a point.
It was a bloody victory. The Ovechkin's brutal boarding of Ryan McDonagh left a nasty mark, but the beast was finally slain.
The Rangers play best when the Earl of Angry, the Lord of Pout, John Tortorella, says and coaches the least. He unshackled them in the first period and by all accounts simply told them to be aggressive and go after the Caps. What, no rope-a-dope in game seven? What a novel coaching concept: let's go out and win the game, instead of clustering around Lundqvist and playing for the tie and shootout.
The power play (0-3) is still wickedly cursed. Someone or something will need to be sacrificed in order to break the evil spell that lingers over it. Looks like it needs to be Richard$.
While a banishment to Hartford is now in the cards for Richard$, he can still salvage something from this year, if he can muster some points against Boston. Brad gave us some great moments last year. Please, Brad, if you have any gas left in the tank, now is the time to use it. #RedemptionAwaitsThee
Brian Boyle, -1, in six games; Brad Richards, -1, in 7 games; and Ryane Clowe, -1, in two games are the only Rangers forwards with a minus rating after the first round.
Please, Lord Pout sir, may we see some more of the line combination of Brassard, Zuccarello, and Nash before they get stale?
If Taylor Pyatt (16:16 of ice time) and Derek Dorsett (15:32) can keep it going and continue to earn this increase in playing time, then the Rangers may have a blueprint for victory against Boston.
So much for those other pundit wannabes saying that it had to be one of the big name players (like Nash, Richards, Backstrom or Ovechkin) stepping up in order to win the game. #CheersForTheLittlePeople
Ryan Callahan's steal and score off John Erskine was sweet justice.
Of the eight teams remaining alive in the playoffs, four are original six teams: Blackhawks and Red Wings in the west, Rangers and Bruins in the east. This was the first season since 1996 when all of the Original Six Teams were in the playoffs.
King and squire shake hands: