Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Don't Give Up - Don't Ever Give Up

Feeling doomed, over-matched, hopeless? Starting to agree with the so-called experts who told us the Rangers have no chance at 3-3?

Well, don't. (The same experts said the Caps were done at 3-1 and look how that worked out.)

We can win tonight. And here's why:

Coaching. John Tortorella is a very good hockey coach. He's won the cup - something no other US born hockey coach has ever done. He's tough. He's smart. And because of what happened in games 5 and 6 (he got spit on by fans and got suspended for reacting to it) John is now very very angry at the Washington Capitals and their fans. And there is nothing that he wants more in the whole world than to beat the Caps in their own rink in front of those same obnoxious fans. And he had the unique opportunity to really watch the game six from the skybox without the distractions of, say, coaching a hockey team. I'm betting saw a few things he can use.

History. The Capitals have a really terrible record in game sevens. In their history they've played six game sevens and have lost five of them - including the last 4. Last year they were down 3-1 to the Flyers - struggled back to 3-3 and lost game seven at home in OT.

Pressure. The Caps have not done all that well in this series in games they were expected to win. They didn't win a home game until they were down 3-1 and expected to lose the series. Now they are the heavy favorites and all the pressure is on them to win. The Rangers, on the other hand are the underdogs expected to lose. They won 2 games in DC in exactly that scenarios earlier in the series

Goaltenders. No way Henrik will play three bad games in a row. No way. And Varlamov - there's playoff pressure and there's game 7 playoff pressure. This is his first taste of that - coming off his 3 goal - worst ever - performance against the Rangers.

The Lead. In the end this is very very simple. The Caps play pretty well when they're up a goal or two. But so do we - the Rangers have never lost a lead in this series. In game one the Rangers were down 1-0, then up 2-1. After that there have been zero lead changes. None. So the first goal is everything. Give our boys the lead and we get a different Hank - and a different level of team defense. And the Caps, when losing, expend a lot of energy without scoring a lot of goals. To win this series we are going to need one more lead. One more lead and this could be a very different hockey game than the last three. Get Hank that lead and the Rangers will win this series.

Puck's Prediction. When this whole thing started I said - in print (well, in pixels, anyway) that the Rangers would win this series and might need to steal game 7 to do it. Well, we are in exactly that scenario. I said we'd win more than once in DC - and we have. I said we'd lose at least one game at home - we lost 2. (And I also predicted that the ShamWow Guy would end up getting arrested and he did.) In short - Nugs and I have been calling these series pretty well so far - and we both said the Rangers would win.

So here we go. Our boys back in the battle one more time. At the end we'll have handshakes all around - and one team advances while the other heads home. I'd say - may the best team win - but I don't want that - because I'm picking the Rangers!


  1. Here's one more key to the game, be leading after two periods.

    So far in the playoffs this year, including this series, the team that leads after two periods is... 29-0.

  2. Of course - even better than leading after two periods is leading after three periods...

  3. I am not going to look it up, but almost positive that teams leading after 3 periods are undefeated as well.