Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Rangers give a gutsy road effort, led by Hank and the veterans, and steal game one on the road! What a great victory for the Rangers (though certainly one with a LOT to improve upon). The capitals were the better team for most of the game, finding their way to most of the loose pucks, keeping most of the play in the Rangers zone, and forcing Hank to be great.

The scary thing if your a Rangers fan is, Hank was FANTASTIC tonight...and gave up 3 goals. This isn't going to be a series with 2-1, 1-0 games. The caps are just too good, they shoot too much, they are going to get their goals. A lesser goalie gives up 6 today. (Like say theodore?) Hank was absolutely the difference, keeping the Rangers in the game and pulling off a huge road upset (which I am sure is worrying Barry Melrose and his pick of the Capitals in the Stanley Cup Finals).

Without Chris Drury, one clear area the Rangers got DOMINATED were the faceoffs. All game the caps had control of the puck, beating the rangers, winning 46 faceoffs to the rangers 20!!!!! The capitals also got SEVEN powerplays (going 2 for 7, rangers getting two huge kills in the final ten minutes). Rangers ended up getting outshot 35-21, almost all the good scoring chances went to Washington, HOW DID THE RANGERS WIN THIS GAME?!?! I am not sure there is a really good answer for it, but if I had to come up with a few:

1) Hank. 32 of 35 saves, he was as good as a 3 goal allowed goalie can be.

2) Hits. Rangers outhit the Caps 35-27. The caps were the faster, more skilled team, so the Rangers had to find a way to try and knock them off balance, and they made a concerted effort all game to hit every Capitals player every chance they got. (Ryan Callahan had seven hits, I think to lead the team. For a young player, he had a huge impact on this game. Possibly the emotional turning point: Tied 3-3, Ovechkin staying on for the powerplay for almost 2 full minutes, callahan fresh comes on the ice, and open ice, FLOORS ovechkin, throwing him on his ass. Ovechkin stood up and just stared at Callahan, then slowly skated off the ice, the moment he got off, Antropov led Naslund and Doobie on their rush up the ice for the go ahead goal)

3) Playoff experience. The one edge the rangers have on the capitals is playoff experience. Almost everyone on the Rangers has a couple of playoff seasons under their belt. Aside from Federov and Theodore, the Capitals are a very young team with little to no playoff experience. When the Rangers got down 1-0 they didn't panic. When they blew the 3-1 lead, they didn't panic. And Torts is the ONLY coach of an Eastern Playoff team with a Stanley Cup title to his credit. That has to help big time.

4)...Theodore (or as his detractors call him, "Three or more"). If you switch the goalies in this game, we lose 7-0, 8-1? The rangers legitimately got SIX quality shots on theodore all game. 6 shots where you'd say, it's tough, he should save it, but if he doesn't, I could see why. Theodore allowed FOUR of them to score.

The Rangers have to feel great about stealing a road victory, but I hate the "Everything else is gravy" mentality. Play game 2 like your down 0-1 (because they should be). Take a chokehold on this series, and this young team.

Things I liked tonight:

- Retribution for Mistakes: Naslund and Doobie, both with big mental mistakes, taking bad penalties in their zone that lead to both capitals power play goals. Naslund and Doobie then followed it up by each scoring a goal, and making ammends for their mistakes. Shows a lot of composure.

- With Drury out, Gomez HAD to step up, and did, 1 goal and 2 assists (only one shot on goal, he has to shoot more!)

- Redden. Doesn't show up in the box score (though he did get an assist and was plus one), but he had a HUGE third period defensively, especially on the penalty kill late in the third. After a season of ripping on the guy, a big playoffs could go a long way in endearing himself to Rangers fans.

- The rangers won without their captain, big, gutsy performance. Great games from Antropov and Callahan. Antropov really will not get credit for the great game he played tonight.

Things that stunk:

- Naslund takes THREE penalties. He had a fine game otherwise, but no player can take THREE penalties in a game, especially against the Capitals. Rangers lose and he gets buried as the goat.

- Avery, other than drawing a first period penalty, he was mostly a non-factor. We need avery to be a factor.

- close. He was dominant, best player on the ice. 13 shots! 13 shots on goal! He recorded two assists. Rangers have to find a way to limit his shots, somehow (not sure how), Rangers know he didn't score, but they have to do a better job against him in game two somehow.

Game 2 isn't until Saturday. Gotta hope Drury has enough time to rest up, and get out there because we badly need him on the faceoffs.
DP and Nugman looking good on the penguins pick. Penguins win 4-1 at home, and the Flyers season is a game closer to being over. New Jersey, unhappy everyone is picking them to be upset, beats Carolina 4-1 on home ice. Carolina can still win game 2, if they do, I feel confident about that pick. Blues and Canucks play later tonight but I couldn't care less.


  1. massive game, but I don't want any cockiness to start to develop, I like that the Rangers feel like the underdogs and have to be physical and grind it out

    and it is scary that Hank looked great and gave up 3 goals (Ovechkin is filthy - the same way the Knicks are going to get Lebron, I wish the Rangers could get Ovechkin - he has amazing skills AND hustles - dangerous combination)

    Maybe like Tortorella said - the Rangers were getting used to his system and now are just getting into full stride - Powerplay looked nice tonight - if we combine a powerplay that can actually score with our greatest "weapon" I think we have a shot

    and then if Montreal can beat Boston...ooooohhhhhhhhh

  2. Will, you are correct. The Rangers need to be confident - but not over confident. Hopefully they realize they were out played - certainly outshot - in game one. And they can't count on Theodore to play that badly every game.

    And yes, it would be great if we had some kind of offensive superstar on our side.