Monday, April 20, 2009

Don't Wake The Monster

You don’t need me to tell you that to root for the New York Rangers is to experience unbelievable emotional highs and lows – often in rapid succession. But right now I’m actually feeling great and terrible at the exact same time.

We have a 2-0 lead in our 7 game series with the heavily favored Washington Capitals. We beat a team some were projecting would go to the Stanley Cup Finals. And we beat them on their home ice – twice. We shut out one of the best scoring team’s in hockey. We’ve kept the leagues arguably best player (Ovechkin) off the scoreboard (though the guy has launched an entire team’s worth of shots at Lunqvist).

The Caps must win 4 out of 5 now to beat us. They have 3 of those games on the road – in our home ice. They are now fighting momentum and history in addition to the New York Rangers.

I couldn’t have asked for more than 2 road wins in our first two games. It’s honestly more than I even hoped for.

So what am I upset about?

Just this. One loss tonight and everything changes. If the Caps can steal one back tonight – a whole bunch of things happen. All of them bad:

1 – They’ll have proved that can beat us.
2 – They climb back in to the series
3 – They’ll be just one game away from regaining home ice advantage.
4– They’ll have proved they can beat us on our home ice – so they may not even need that home ice advantage
5 – They’ll suddenly swing the pressure back onto the Rangers.

The Caps are very talented. And after last week's performance, they’ve already read in the press and heard from the media that their season is over. All the bad news is in already. So at this point - they’re a very talented hockey team with a very big chip on their shoulder. And they don’t have to worry about the pressure of getting booed on home ice. They can finally – almost be a little loose out there tonight.

I will admit that it’s not all bad news. The Caps still have the pressure of the monumental collapse on their shoulders. So I really think the Rangers best chance of beating them is putting them away quickly. Poke check them when they're down. We all remember in the regular season when we were leading them 4-0 and ended up losing 5-4. We can't let up - we can't think past them - and we can't for one second believe that we've won anything yet.

So win tonight fellas. Win tonight - or risk waking The Monster.


  1. There is always the chance for the let down, but the fact remains, I'm glad were up 2-0. I'm going to take the optimistic viewpoint here:

    1) The rangers have won 5 in a row, and were a strong home ice team all season long.
    2) The caps know if they lose tonight, they are done. While it will cause them to be extra agressive, there is also extra pressure. Where as in the rangers lockeroom, they know they can essentially end the series with a win tonight
    3) The rangers still have the goaltending edge. It's VERY hard to beat a great goalie 4 times in 5 games. Especially with 3 in MSG.
    4) The way the Rangers are winning dictates no extreme fall off. If the rangers had won the last two games 6-5, and 5-4...I'd be worried. It would mean the Caps weren't having problems with the rangers D and Hank, just with the Rangers offense. And there is no way the Rangers will consistently get offense in this postseason. So a let down would be expected. But the rangers are winning with a team concept of blocking shots (which Torts is getting all the credit for for some reason, but that was Renney's mantra). They are out gutting and playing more physical then the caps. That sort of style doesn't allow for long losing streaks infront of a great goalie.

  2. Oh, and another thing. I think we are fine with the Flyers and Penguins pick. I expected it to be a series where the home team won basically every game, or the penguins stole one, penguins in six sounds more than reasonable.

    As for the devils, kind of surprised they pulled it out last night, but it just means the series goes longer. Which is fine by me.

    In a sport like baseball, where they play everyday, long layoffs in the playoffs (where one team sweeps, and the other goes 7 games, so one team has almost a week off before they start their next series) can be damaging. Hitters lose their timing at the plate, since it is the first time in 7 months they went that long without a game. But in a more physical sport like hockey, one where players are used to only playing sometimes 2, maybe 3 games a week, and where the rest has little to no effect on their timing, I am all for seeing all of these series go 7 games, and the Rangers get it done in a completely improbable 4.

    It will give Drury time to rest that clearly damaged "wrist" of his, and I imagine Hank is going to be exhausted by the time this one is over. (Not to mention, we know as Rangers fans, whether the rangers have lost ten or won ten in a row, whether with a long layoff, or no layoff, they are going to come out flat as can be in the first period of the next round anyway)