Saturday, May 30, 2015

R. I. P.

After it ended, number one son looked at me with that dazed look. "These are the Rangers," I said to him. No other explanation was necessary. Look it up. One Stanley Cup in 70 years. It's more years of mediocrity and frustration than there is in success. Think of a bigger game than this since that 1994 Cup and think about as dismal a performance as you saw last night.

Did anyone besides Henrik Lundqvist show up? Possibly Ryan McDonagh with a broken bone in his foot. You would think that would have stirred the troops. Nada. How could that have stirred the troops? Did you see the coach?  Did you see his press conference? It was no big deal, just another game. The guy was again outcoached. He should be fired. Isn't there a guy out there who fits between this guy and Tortorella?

Also, I think it is time the Stealth retired. Let him win the GM of the year award and then send him back to Edmonton. We need youth in the GM and coaches spot. We need new ideas from the GM and we need a coach who can be flexible on the fly and be one step ahead, not behind, his coaching rival.

There was the blabber after the game from analysts and talk show hosts how the Rangers are a player or two away from a championship team. Hey, didn't we do that recently? Isn't Nash the scorer we desperately needed and wasn't Yandle the power play specialist who would lead us to the promised land? And wasn't St. Louis the seasoned vet, with a Cup, supposed to be our guiding light? I thought that this was the championship team.

BTW, if any of these comments are new to any of you, go back in the files, go back over the seasons and you will see it's the same old shit. It is always we need one or two guys, then we get them, and then it's the same. It's in the genes and basically comes from the top. How do you come out flat in a game seven? How do you win the President's Trophy and then lose three out of four on your home ice, two of them shutouts? How are you the coach of this and don't have any ideas during the game to change things?

So now the PR campaign to let the Ranger fans know that the team had a successful year and is only a legitimate scorer away. Nash had 42 goals in the season. Isn't that a legitimate scorer? Oh, goes the line, we need a scorer who can score on his own. On his own? Sorry guys, Gretzky is retired. Gotta sell the tickets for next year. Gotta get the suckers to buy into the most expensive seat in town. Get ready for another revival of the '94 Cup Team. Hey, that's a thought. Messier for GM and Graves, Leetch as coaches. At least we have some fire and not business as usual.

So, it's the same ending at the end of the year. Unless we change at the top we will have the same endings for years to come. The fish stinks from the head and this story is getting fishier and fishier. 2015 game seven for the Eastern Conference title shall live in infamy as the worst big game the Rangers ever played. I only absolve two people from the disaster: Lundqvist and McDonagh. And I damn the coaching staff and The Stealth GM for the no show performance.

Friday, May 29, 2015

It's The Big One, Elizabeth!

Aaah, game seven. What's more exciting? Nerve-wracking? Nail biting? There have been many great game sevens in Ranger history. Remember 1994? That series had two great seven's. The all-time great game seven against the Devils. Matteau! Matteau! Matteau! Then the Cup against the Canucks. However, there will always be that infamous April 23rd, 1950, game seven against the Red Wings. 'Bones' Raleigh hits the crossbar and Peter Babano comes back and the Red Wings win the Cup in double overtime. I can still hear the clank, most disappointing. As Lou Costello often said, "sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose."

This may be the biggest game seven in Ranger history. The Rangers lose this one and 2014-15 will be the biggest flop year in Rangers history, IMHO. Let's face it, this team was built to win the Cup. No consolation prizes like the President's Trophy. This game is a must to shoot for the Cup. It won't be easy.

Yes, we are at home, but have lost two of three to the Lightning in this round. Remember we also lost three out of three to Tampa in the regular season, including two at MSG. So Tampa is 4-1 at MSG this year. Last game at the garden we were shut out 2-0 by Ben Bishop. So, who are the odds with?

Forget that we have won 15 of the last 18 elimination games. Forget that Lundqvist is 7-7 in the last elimination games. This all goes out the window. It's one game. Its one big game by two teams that have taken turns beating the brains out of one another. The Ranger crowd could be over whelming and cause too much of a hype. Could, but shouldn't.

It should be a classic. Our edge, if there is one, is Lundqvist. He has risen to the occasion so many times. Does he have one more big one in him? I think so and he remains our hope. So positive thoughts and Let's Go Rangers!

It's the big one Elizabeth!

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ICINGS:

CBS NY:
Rangers-Lightning Game 7 Is Hottest — And Priciest — Ticket In Town --
The get-in price — in other words, the cheapest ticket available — for Friday night’s Game 7 between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning is currently $519.95 on StubHub.com...

“It’s the most expensive non-cup final game,” Chris Leyden of SeatGeek told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell. “It’s a hot ticket.” ...

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

ECF Game 6: Blueshirts Blitz Bolts, 7-3

If I were the Rangers I would petition the NHL to play the seventh game in Tampa. We all know the Rangers have the best road record in the NHL, but look at the results in Tampa. We have won two out of three and have out scored Tampa 17-10. Our third period blitz, out scoring Tampa 5-2, was a thing of beauty. Had it happened in the Garden we would need a new round of renovations.

The third period blitz is a highlight film all its own. The Rangers were relentless. To me the goal of the game was the 4th. The fourth line of Moore, Glass and Sheppard were outstanding. They must have kept the puck in the Tampa zone for about two minutes culminating with a Sheppard goal in front of the net. In front of the net. Wow! The Rangers spent most of their time in front of the net, in front of Tampa goalie Ben Bishop. Bishop may have seen more rubber than the plantation owners in Malaysia.

The line of Brassard, Nash and Miller was all world. Five goals, thirteen points. Brassard, three goals, two assists. Nash and Miller, a goal and three assists each. Of course, there was Lundqvist. 36 saves and again winning when the Rangers were at the brink of elimination. Facing elimination 18 times the Rangers have won 15. Talk about Houdini.

The clan was texting all night and the biggest comment centered on Steven Stamkos cheap shot on McDonagh. When the Rangers retaliated, two, Kreider and Stepan, were sent off. What is it with the NHL refs, always protecting the stars? Stamkos has the potential to be the next Sid Crosby, in more ways than one.

So now it's another showdown in the Garden for the right to go to the Cup finals. Maybe we can't play in Tampa, but how about wearing the road whites?

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ICINGS:
Nash gives Hank the Broadway hat for game 6 win

Monday, May 25, 2015

ECF Game 5: Rangers Tank! At The Brink!

Disappointing. There is probably a better word to describe last night's debacle, but I'll be kind. How do you not show up on a big game like this? How do you not bring your A game? How? How? How? After Thursday's big 5-1 win, I expected something better. The Ranger fans expected something special. We got a special all right. We got a special dud.  We got a tank job.

There was no grit. No crash. No organization. No style. No coaching. Yes. No coaching. Our guy was out coached by their guy. Their guy coached like he was Jacques Lamaire.  The hi powered offensive team turned into a defensive steel trap. We got 26 shots on goal, mostly pedestrian. They blocked 24 shots. We were 0-4 on the power play, reverting to pre-playoff form and our penalty kill had a chink giving up a power play goal.

We must have left our gas, our grit in Tampa during the 5-1 win. That's good because we are back there again Tuesday night for a do or die sixth game. We came back three times against Washington and now we will have to come back again. Of course we can do it. But we have to get back to our roots. Its all out there now. One game to survive. One game to move to the championship seventh game.

One game. Sixty minutes. One shift at a time. Time to let it rip. Time to let it all hang out. If not the 2014-15  season will go down as one of the more disappointing seasons in Ranger history. There is that word again. Disappointing.

Friday, May 22, 2015

ECF Game 4: Rangers Bounce Back

So what do you think? Remember the names. Lundqvist, 38 saves. Nash, two goals and an assist. St. Louis, his first goal this playoff, plus numerous chances and a gutsy game. Yandle, his first playoff goal, plus two assists and Krash Kreider. Aah Kreider, what a force and another big goal and another imposing force. But, all the Rangers were great, gritty and tough. Would you believe two power play goals?

So, the Rangers have scored five goals in each of the last two games. You think the Lightning should replace Bishop for game five? Probably not, but I bet the Lightning brass now knows that they have a tiger by the tail. We outscored  the highest scoring team by a wide margin. Like I mentioned before we had  a tied game Tuesday and lost in OT in a game that could have gone our way.

Lundqvist was, well Lundqvist. What can you say about the King? He was depressed after game three but while he was not up to his game, the team let him down. Tonight his second period heroics will live in Ranger lore as the period that turned this Eastern Conference playoff series around. The Rangers still were too generous with the puck and Lundqvist had to stop too many breakaways, but stop them he did.

So the hand wringing will stop tomorrow, but who knows what the blame stream media will come uo with. All I know on a big night in a critical game the big guys came up big. Nash, St. Louis, Kreider and of course the King. But listen to the Ranger attitude. Before the game, Carl Hagelin said, they have had their fun with us and now its time to shut them down, Wow! Talk about predictions.

Before the game I texted my clan to have a positive thought at 8PM, EST. They did and it worked. We won. So stop that whining and think positive. We now have control of the series and the doubt is in the other guys head. Besides the King, Nash and St. Louis had outstanding games and Kreider continues to grow into a monster.

Let's Go Rangers!

Time To Bake the Donuts

Okay, so it looks bad. Six goals against, two games in two nights, a total of twelve goals against the King, the premier money goalie in the NHL and everyone panics. We even have the blame stream media talking about possibly changing goalies. Remember the score was 6-5 in OT.

6-5 in OT. We tied the game with less than three minutes to play to send it to OT. A little break and we would be up 2 games to 1. Remember we were down 1-3 against the Caps and the Grate O and stormed back to take three straight.

Do we have to play better? Of course. Does the King have to be sharper? Of course. Does the D have to be more disciplined? Of course. Do the forwards need to be more focused, more resolute more in control? Yes! Yes! Yes!

So big game tonight. Aren't all the playoff games big? All hands on deck. Remember that statistically we are the number one team in the league. Lets play like we are. Lets play like we are number one. Lets play with discipline and a purpose.

Time to bake the donuts!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

ECF Game 2: Lightning 6, Rangers 2

The Tampa Bay Lightning's blowout win over the NY Rangers, 6-2, is getting some terrible reviews for this latest Rangers Broadway performance:

Larry Brooks / NY Post:

It wasn’t as much Tampa Bay’s talent, though it was abundantly clear just how plentiful it is, as it was the Rangers’ outright carelessness and lack of discipline that was infectious throughout the lineup and infected the performance pretty much from start to finish.
Mike Lupica / NY Daily News:
the Rangers played their worst game of the playoffs, their worst by an awful lot, taking bad penalties and making bad, sloppy plays all over the place, and wasting a game in which they outshot the Lightning the way they did.
Brett Cyrgali / NY Post:
It was a substandard performance in discipline, execution and overall desire that led to a brutal 6-2 loss to the Lightning in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final...
Steve Zipay / Newsday:
Ryan McDonagh was livid. So livid that the Rangers' captain was searching for words after Monday night's 6-2 trouncing by the Tampa Bay Lightning...
Rick Carpiniello / Rangers Report:
Can’t recall another game, at least in recent history, where the Rangers were so angry at themselves. We’ve seen plenty of not-good-enough efforts in playoff series these last four years, almost all of them following wins. But to have an out-and-out lazy, brain-free game like that, especially from some of their top players? Wow.
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So, the Rangers had a stinker. It happens. Could they have played consistently good hockey throughout the entire playoffs? Come on, these are the Rangers. What is a Rangers playoff run without a healthy dose of agita.

The show must go on. If you are a Rangers fan all you can do is hope your team pulls itself together, like they have done many times in the past, and rallies to play good hockey the rest of the way.

Let's go Rangers.
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ICINGS:

Scoring Summary:

G Per Time Str Team Goal Scorer Assist Assist

1 1 5:38 SH T.B 9 T.JOHNSON(9) 17 A.KILLORN(7)


2 1 8:50 PP NYR 20 C.KREIDER(6) 26 M.ST. LOUIS(5) 22 D.BOYLE(3)

3 1 11:15 PP T.B 9 T.JOHNSON(10) 91 S.STAMKOS(8) 86 N.KUCHEROV(6)

4 2 8:17 EV T.B 9 T.JOHNSON(11) 18 O.PALAT(6) 86 N.KUCHEROV(7)

5 2 14:17 PP NYR 21 D.STEPAN(5) 26 M.ST. LOUIS(6) 22 D.BOYLE(4)

6 3 3:09 EV T.B 17 A.KILLORN(4) 77 V.HEDMAN(7) 51 V.FILPPULA(5)

7 3 6:28 PP T.B 91 S.STAMKOS(4) 55 B.COBURN(2) 86 N.KUCHEROV(8)

8 3 17:58 PP T.B 17 A.KILLORN(5) 5 J.GARRISON(3) 51 V.FILPPULA(6)


NYR Penalty Summary:

# Per Time Player PIM Penalty
1 1 10:00
20 C.KREIDER
2 Roughing
2 1 11:00
21 D.STEPAN
2 Tripping
3 1 15:14
16 D.BRASSARD
2 Hi-sticking
4 3 1:02
21 D.STEPAN
2 Tripping
5 3 4:40
16 D.BRASSARD
2 Hi-sticking
6 3 17:10
15 T.GLASS
2 Roughing
7 3 17:10
15 T.GLASS
10 Misconduct (10 min)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

ECF Game 1: Rangers 2, Lightning 1

Derek Stepan of the NY Rangers scores a 2nd period goal against Ben Bishop of the Lightning
The well oiled Rangers playoff machine cranked out another tense 2-1 victory today. This  ECF game 1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning followed a familiar script. A script the Rangers have copyrighted. It was a goaltender dominated game from the get go, with a new Rangers hero, Dominick Moore, notching the greasy game winner off his leg with just 2:25 left in regulation. It was the hard working Moore's first goal of these playoffs.

Scoring Summary:
1st Period: None
2nd Period:
19:47 NYR Derek Stepan (4) ASST: Chris Kreider (1), Ryan McDonagh (5), 1 - 0 NYR
3rd Period:
06:45 TBL PPG - Ondrej Palat (4) ASST: Tyler Johnson (5), Victor Hedman (6), 1 - 1 Tie
17:35 NYR Dominic Moore (1) ASST: Kevin Hayes (2), Derick Brassard (4), 2 - 1 NYR
 
The conventional wisdom is that the Stealth GM did not upgrade the team when 28 year-old Anton Stralman was swapped out for 38 year-old Dan Boyle on defense. Just based on Boyle's play today you could argue it was fair deal. Boyle played a very strong game. Especially coming of the bell ringing he suffered in game 7 against the Caps. Today Stralman had 25 shifts for a total on ice time of 22:59, Boyle had 25 shifts with a TOI of 17:56. Both were on the ice when Dom Moore scored the game winner. If Boyle can keep this up the Rangers D is in great shape.

Steve Valiquette's MSG analysis that all the goals scored today came off of plays that crossed the "Royal Road" was insightful. "Royal Road" crossing plays are one of the few ways to beat top goaltenders like the King and Bishop.

Possession across the "Royal Road" equals better scoring chances
Possession across the "Roal Road"
For a refresher on the "Royal Road" and green area scoring check out the Blueshirt Banter's: Video Breakdown: How Steve Valiquette will change how we think about goaltending

It looked like the Rangers were getting more time and space against the Lightning than they were against the Caps. Could we dare say this might be over in less than seven?

Seeing Callahan trying to stay with Kevin Hayes on his pass to Moore for the game winner is reminder that size and youth does have its advantages. Still Cally could not have been 100% coming off an appendectomy 5 days ago. And what's up with Brian Boyle's injury? Could it be that recurring Dutch elm ailment?

Three more 2-1's are fine. Let's go Rangers.

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ICINGS:
Dom Moore celebrates his game winning goal

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Stepan! Stepan! Stepan! – Rangers Win 2-1(OT)

Holtby down as Rangers celebrate game 7 overtime win
(Photo: Kathy Willens / RMNB)
The Rangers got a magnificent game seven overtime win for the ages, 2-1, against the Washington Capitals on lucky May 13th, 2015. The last hero was Derek Stepan, who potted a rebound off a Girardi slapper at the 11:24 mark of OT. The game winner came off a faceoff win by Stepan – win the faceoff, win the game, oh the irony.

The list of game 7, elimination game records is long and getting longer. It is a testament to Henrik Lundqvist's peerless performance in pressure-packed playoff hockey. Long live the King.

  • NYR: 1st team to win series after trailing 3-1 in back-to-back seasons
  • NYR: record 4 OT wins in single post-season
  • Last 10 Home Elimination Games, NYR: 10-0 record
  • Lundqvist: 10-0, 0.96 GAA, .968 Save%, 2 Shutouts
  • NYR: 6 consecutive game 7 wins, ties NHL record (Detroit, Boston)
  • NYR: 14 straight playoff games decided by 1 goal (extends NHL record)
  • Game 7's: NYR has 9-5 All-time record, won last 6, 9 of last 10, 7-0 at MSG
  • Lundqvist last 6 game 7's: 6-0, 0.80 GAA, 0.973 Save%, 1 SO
  • Lundqvist's 6 game 7 wins is tied for most in NHL (Brodeur, Roy)
  • third consecutive May 13th that the Rangers have won a Game 7 with Lundqvist stopping 35 shots (2013 vs Caps, 2014 vs Pens)

Ovechkin's well publicized game 7 guarantee of a victory goes away with a whisper:
“I don’t know what to say about it,” said a barely audible Ovechkin after the game. “It’s tough, it’s a tough situation. There’s nothing to say.”
Bill Price, NY Daily News on Ovi's guarantee: Mark Messier he ain’t.

Yes, we know Mark Messier, and you Mr. Ovechkin are no Mark Messier. Excuse us while we genuflect.

The list of accolades to be handed out is long. The young guys Hayes and Miller were superb overall and vital in securing the game-tying goal. Everyone on the defense was solid, even McDonagh after Ovechkin's goal. Hope Dan Boyle was not concussed by the Brooks Orpik head shot. And it would be nice if Orpik pays a stiff price for that one.

Also, by the way, NBC Sports please turn-off the microphone that is picking up all the fans pounding on the glass behind the goal. We know it is instinctual to pound the glass when standing next to it, but please spare the home viewers from that nicety.

Okay then, bring on the Lightning. Bring on Brian Boyle. Let's Go Rangers.
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ICINGS:
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Thank you Stephanie Vail @myregularface

John Matisz / Toronto Sun:
Tireless GIF creator making her mark on hockey world

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Hottest Ticket in Town: Rangers vs. Caps Game 7

CNBC just did a story about the record setting high ticket prices for tonight's game 7, Rangers vs. Caps, at Madison Square Garden. According to Eric Chemi of CNBC, tonight's Rangers-Caps tickets are the most expensive non-finals tickets, in the 4 major league sports (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL) going back in recorded seat price history. Here are some numbers provided by SeatGeek:

Average Ticket Prices
Non-Finals --

  • MSG Tonight: $708
  • 2012 Giants at 49ers: $692 
  • 2011 Packers at Bears: $688 
  • 2014 49ers at Seahawks: $650 

Average ticket prices
2014 Finals --

  • NHL: $1,448 in NY, $777 in LA 
  • NBA: $679 in Miami, $616 in San Antonio 
  • MLB: $941 in San Franciso, $837 in Kansas City

Average Resale Prices for Rangers v. Caps Game 7 tickets:

  • Club Platinum: $2,750
  • Club Gold: $2,005
  • Club Blue: $1,684
  • Club Center: $1,318
  • 100 Level, Non-Club: $872
  • Chase Bridge: $579
  • 200 Level: $536
  • 400 Level: $417

Bottomline: NHL hockey is hot on Broadway.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Rangers Hold On for Game 6 Win, 4-3

The Rangers did it again. They live another day, and forced a game 7 by defeating the Washington Capitals, 4-3, in a heart-pounding game 6. Despite having the luxury of a 3 goal lead mid-way through the 3rd period, the Rangers also found a way to let the Capitals back into the game. Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his fifth playoff goal at 7:40 of the third, to make it 4-2. Then Joel Ward lifted the Caps back to within one with a greasy one at 10:33. 

You knew, of course, this would have to end up being yet another one goal game. That's all this team knows – living on the edge.

Then as Lundqvist said, "mayhem" ensued for the rest of the 3rd period. The Caps camped out in the Rangers end, aided by a blown delay of game penalty at 17:16, for James Sheppard sending a puck over the glass. The small problem being that the puck did hit glass and the penalty should not have been called. The striped blind ones were spared the full, fair, and forever wrath of Ranger nation when the Rangers again found a way to shut down the vaunted Caps power-play. This even with Holtby pulled and Blueshirts facing a 6-on-4 situation. God bless the Rangers penalty kill. The dunderheaded officials should send some special thanks the almighty's way for sparing them from eternal damnation.

After the game Henrik Lundqvist was drenched in sweat and said, "I'm so tired." The heat and humidity at the Verizon Center had completely depleted the King. Someone please find the King some hydration in a hurry. Because, we are going to need Hank at full strength on Wednesday back at the Garden for game 7.

Sweat soaked, depleted, and tired King holds court after game 6 win
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Notes:

Lundqvist stopped 42 of 45 Caps shots for a .933 save percentage, and stood on his head in the 3rd to preserve the Rangers win.

Ovchkin had 6 shots and 5 hits. The hit on McDonagh was hard, fast. and looked clean at full speed (in slow-mo, he might have jumped a bit), and it caught him in a bad position. I think we all worried for awhile that might have cut the Captain's night short. But McDonagh put himself back together in the locker room and came back to play big in the rest of the 3rd.

NHL Public Relations / Twitter ‏@PR_NHL:
Lundqvist is 1st #NYR goalie in NHL’s expansion era (since 67-68) to make 42 saves & win a playoff game in regulation when facing elimination.
Elias: @ChrisKreider was 1st in #NYR history to score in both 1st and last min. of a single period in a playoff game.
It was also nice to see Rick Nash get on the board for his 2nd playoff goal, with assists from St. Louis and Brassard. For the first time this series Holtby looked like he was starting to crack. The Rangers had  scored three goals on their last nine shots against Holtby from Kreider's game-tying score late in the third period of game 5, to his first in this game. Cracks that hopefully turn into major fractures on Wednesday.

Okay, how about we play this song again on Wednesday. Let's go Rangers.
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Scoring Summary:
1st Period
00:40NYRChris Kreider(4) ASST: Jesper Fast(3), Kevin Klein(1) 1 - 0 NYR
19:59NYRPPG-Chris Kreider(5) ASST: Derick Brassard(2),Derek Stepan(5)2 - 0 NYR
2nd Period
00:28WSHJason Chimera(3) ASST: Evgeny Kuznetsov(2), Joel Ward(5)2 - 1 NYR
3rd Period
00:54NYRRick Nash(2) ASST: Martin St. Louis(4), Derick Brassard(3)3 - 1 NYR
04:24NYRDan Boyle(2) ASST: James Sheppard(1), J.T. Miller(2)4 - 1 NYR
07:40WSHEvgeny Kuznetsov(5) ASST: Karl Alzner(2), Joel Ward(6) 4 - 2 NYR
10:33WSHJoel Ward(3) ASST: Jason Chimera(4), John Carlson(5)4 - 3 NYR

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ICINGS:



Friday, May 08, 2015

Captain Crushes Caps Hopes in Game 5, 2-1(OT)

Rangers Captain Ryan McDonagh celebrates OT winner
We were asking for some leadership and some scoring and the Rangers Captain Ryan McDonagh delivered a two-fer. He blasted an OT winner that deflected past Capitals goalie Braden Holtby, for the 2-1 OT win. It was his first career playoff OT winner. He also did some motivating in the locker room between periods. Good job by the captain.

Chris Krieder's game-saver/season-saver with 1:41 left in the third to even things at 1-1, was a massive redemption from his game 4 performance.

So, the Rangers tee-times for this weekend will have to be cancelled. All the friends and relatives who thought their boys-in-blue would be home for Mother's Day – sorry, there is more hockey to be played. And isn't that what we all wanted, more May hockey.

Yes, give us more on the edge, tense, fingernail-biting, tied, or close one goal hockey for every single period that we have left. Forget about the mythical 2 goal lead, that doesn't seem likely with these two goal tenders as stingy as Uncle Ebenezer.

The Rangers and Lundqvist have spoiled us with their stellar performances in elimination games. Can we ask for two more miracles? Past is not present, but these stats tell a compelling playoff story for NYR:

  • NYR: 9-game home winning streak when facing elimination, dating back to game 4 of 2008 Eastern Conference Semi's versus Pittsburgh
  • Washington: 3-9 in series clinching games since 2010
  • Lundqvist: 9-0, 0.97 GAA, 98.6% save percentage, 2 shutouts in home games facing elimination
  • NYR: allowed 2 or fewer goals in 8 consecutive playoff games, 2nd longest streak in the team's history, 21-games from 3/31/28 – 3/31/31

By the way, McDonagh's talk on Thursday was prescient, you could even say Messier-like.

Hartnett / CBS NY:
Ryan McDonagh Is Determined To Be Game 5 Difference-Maker –  
“I’m expecting to be an impact player and be a difference-maker here,” McDonagh said during Thursday’s conference call. “I’m going to be playing in a lot of situations and a lot of different roles. I need to be as sharp as anyone here and try and step up; continue to make effective plays and make the right plays, give my team and help myself be part of hopefully a win on (Friday) night.”
He also declared: "This series and this season isn't over."

Encore, Encore...

ICINGS:

The Russian Machine: Nope. Not Going to Analyze This.
Glencross: "Brooksie was all alone wide. I get it past that guy and he's gone in. Get better next game."

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via Kristy Shields:

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Where have you gone, Mark Messier?

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, our nation turns it's lonely eyes to you. Oh where have you gone, Mark Messier, Ranger nation turns it's teary eyes to you.

Where indeed is the Mark Messier type leader on the Rangers, who will pull this team out of the fire of an early 2nd round elimination?

Following the game 4, Capitals 2, Rangers 1, road loss the Rangers are staring into the abyss and there is no one on the team who seems able to rally the boys. Two consecutive 1 goal losses at the Verizon Center, put the Rangers back in a déjà vu situation to last year.

Was Zuccarello the straw that stirred the Rangers drink? So, without him our sweet Spring Fling has turned into a Campari Bitter?

We want answers, but we apparently have no one to provide any.

Alain Vigneault and the Rangers locker room needs to find some scoring and some leadership in about 32 hours or it is goodbye Mrs. Robinson, wo wo wo ...

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Can't Score. Can't Win!

The Rangers have a big problem. The more obvious one is that they are in a 1-2 hole playing a team that they haven't had much success on the teams home ice. In the last 15 playoff games at Verizon Center the Rangers have only won 4 times. So much for being an outstanding road team. The main problem is scoring, or the lack there of.

In the eight playoff games this year the Rangers have scored a total of just fifteen goals, not quite two a game. In only two games have they scored as much as three. A 4-3 loss to the Penguins and a 3-2 win over the Caps. Hence, the pressure on Lundqvist to be perfect. Last night he almost was, getting beat on a fluke behind the net shot by Jay Beagle that first hit Yandel's skate and then went in off of Lundqvist's skate. The play was set up when Girardi lost the puck in the defensive zone on an ill advised play. So everyone on the Rangers has to be perfect.

On the other hand the Caps set up a fortress like defense around their goalie Braden Holtby who made thirty saves. The Caps blocked twenty seven shots, rarely left their goalie alone and also crowded Lundqvist every opportunity they had.

The Rangers got Nash to score goals, playoff goals, and he only has one this playoff. Yes, he threw a thunderous check on Cap D-man Brooks Orpik, but we need the goals more than the hits. The Rangers got St. Louis to score points, playoff points, but he continues to overpass and miss wide open nets. The Rangers got Yandle to jump start the power play and that hasn't happened and on defense he seems a step behind.

Maybe a change would help. Put Hunwick in for Yandle. While not an offensive player he is a defensive rock and might help in the offensive zone around the Caps net. The Rangers are in trouble. It's not time to panic but game four is a must win for us to regain home ice advantage again. But we have to score goals. Can't score. Can't win.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Rangers Hold Off Caps

The Rangers are even going to DC but the Caps now own home ice advantage. Kris Kreider played a monster game with his second goal of the playoffs in the first minute of the game, was one of five Rangers with three shots on goal and along with Kevin Klein dished out four hits. Ovechkin led everyone with his 4th goal of the playoffs, 4 shots and 9 big hits. He was also hit a few times. Alex comes to play and takes no prisoners.

Ovechkin led a late Cap surge with a spectacular goal to cut the Ranger lead to one but this time there was no Ranger letdown, Lundqvist held the fort, and the Rangers tied the series. It's hard to single out any Ranger. Brassard got the black hat for scoring the winning goal, his 4th of the playoff, but Boyle got some revenge with his first, a power play goal, to give the Rangers an early two goal lead.

Lundqvist was outstanding with 30 saves, a few acrobatic, Fast was all over the ice skating with Stepan and Kreider. The top line of Brassard, Nash and St. Louis played their best hockey and 4th liners Moore and Sheppard were active and scrappy.

The defense was unbelievable dishing out as much as they took. The Caps out hit the Rangers 38-30. The Cap coach wanted 50 hits. No cigar coach, but a lively, feisty, chippy affair. The refs still left much to be desired. The Caps were 0-1 on the power play while the Rangers were 1-4, the big goal by Boyle on a canon from the point.

So get your Zantacs and Tums, this one is going to be brutal for as long as it lasts. The Rangers proved today that they will be there and go toe-to-toe with the battering ram, Alex, and his cohorts.

Let's Go Rangers!

Friday, May 01, 2015

Caps At The Buzzer

Sure that was a penalty on Backstrom on his hit on Boyle, but what do you expect from NHL refs. However, what were the Rangers thinking? Their play was sloppy all night. That was the second time Joel Ward was all alone in front of Lundqvist. The first time he hit the post after getting an unexpected pass from JT Miller  from behind he goal line. In fact, if it weren't for posts, crossbars and Lundqvist the Rangers would have been embarrassed.

Alex Ovechkin skated around the Garden ice like he owned it, practically untouched. The last time I saw a performance like that it was Sonja Heine practicing for the Ice Follies during periods. The stats say that we out hit the Caps 34-32. Where? On the babes in the local bar? Ovi was given too much room, especially on the goal he scored in the first period. Give Cap coach Barry Trotz credit he moved Ovechkin around, double shifts to keep him away from Girardi, McDonagh and Staal. Ovechkin scored the goal on Boyle who gave him too much room.

 That is all well and good but the fact remains the Rangers are offensively inept. Thirty four shots? Yeah, Braden Holtby was good, but the traffic in front of him was pedestrian and it was maddening it front of Lundqvist. Big games bring out big names. Ovechkin, a goal and the winning assist. Nash, nada. I'm not picking on Nash, but he has to be the man, has to come up big and he was practically invisible. His playoff prowess is negligible.

The power play was the deciding factor. The Caps were 1-2 the Rangers were 0-2. Sure we should have had more pp's. Many penalties, holding, clutching, interference were not called on the Caps but does it matter? We can't score. Our power paly sucks and our coach doesn't have a clue how to fix it. Remember when I wrote a while back that the power play will be the death of us?                 

Another thing, there was a big shuffle of players by the Rangers. St. Louis to the second line, Fast, the goal scorer, to the third line and Sheppard off the bench to the fourth line. Not until the third period did there seem to be any cohesion. Klein came back on defense, but he seemed out of sorts.

Game two at the Garden Saturday. Watch it on NBC, turn off the sound and put the radio broadcast on. The TV announcers are awful. I really had a bad night. Let's Go Rangers.