Monday, April 14, 2008
R1, G3: You Know You Have To Play OT Too, Right?
Two games to one is still a nice lead, right?
After the Rangers allowed the Devils to press the action in the third period, they came up on the wrong side of a 4-3 score but still have control in the series. There are a lot of random things so I will cut to the chase:
*To be blunt, the game-winning goal came off of the skate of Marc Staal, and that sucked to see. You don't want to lose a game on a goal like that but this is the NHL playoffs and any goal is a good goal, ugly or not. It was heart-wrenching to see that it was Staal that was the culprit but in the long run I do think it will help him be a better defenseman. The same goes with his ill-advised clearing attempt that led to the second goal against. He had rebounded with a huge hit to put a Devil into his own bench and several smart defensive plays that broke up the Jersey attack. We all-too-often forget that he is a rookie and that this is a learning process for him. Norris Trophy winners aren't made overnight folks, and this kid has the tools to one day win one so this could be a good thing, in the long run.
*At the same time, that was a bad goal to give up, but it wasn't as bad as the Devils third goal. Hank seemed to lose his balance, going down way too early, and couldn't swim his way back upstream to make the save. He made some good stops other than that but wasn't the superstar that he was in the first two games of the series. We need that Swedish sensation if we are to go all the way - or to even get past the Newark nancies.
*Those dastardly Devils did well enough to win but were certainly helped out by the officiating in this one. I hate, hate blaming the stripes but they certainly didn't help the matter and didn't seem to call the game evenly. They allowed some clear interference calls go, while calling Tyutin for 'closing his hand on the puck'? Give me a break, it wasn't like he grabbed it and threw it down the ice at Maaaaarrrrttttyyyyy.
*That overrated excuse for a goaltender gave up what I am sure Devil fans will say were two soft goals. He also managed to dive several times and he drew a penalty by attacking Sean Avery. Amazing how that works, he draws attention to the pest and, since the newer officials in the league call the games as much upon reputation as what they actually see, that was enough to give Jersey the advantage.
*As for the Rangers: the boys played a good game, up until the overtime. Maybe they were too used to playing for the point and the shootout, but up until the last few minutes of the third and the overtime, they skated hard. Chris Drury continued to prove he will do whatever it takes to get the job done, Brandon Dubinsky played a hardnosed game that belied his inexperience and even Marty Straka skated well and got a few good scoring chances. The fourth line was exceptional, Ryan Callahan was a force all over the ice and Avery was ... well, Avery. He battled, he postured, he pestered, he scored; we really should resign that guy ...
*Christian Backman was a disgrace to the uniform again, taking not one but two stupid penalties. And this time he wasn't able to redeem himself on the offensive end so his ledger sits deep in the red.
*Scott Gomez wasn't as dominant a force as he was in Newark. He had some issues as he carried the puck through the neutral zone. He seemed to either lose possession as the defenders closed or made an ill-advised pass that didn't help out his linemates. I am not sure if those troubles were his fault or a symptom of improved New Jersey defense.
*The in-house 'entertainment' was horrid with a guitar seemingly dueling the organ for most obnoxious sounds they could manage. Now jack up the volume on their horrendous playing and you have deafening noise that is even worse than the canned crap pop music that they insist on blaring at obnoxious decibel levels.
*However, I will give them some credit for allowing Dancing Larry to make an appearance. Larry is just another true blue fan and his routine has become as much a part of the Garden experience as the goal song. We missed you Larry, homo or not.
*Some other blue blooded fan, who some say is dashingly handsome, put up a fun banner at the back of section 329/330 ... who could that have been??? (Me!)
*PHR Three Stars
3-Jaromir Jagr - three assists.
2-Brandon Dubinsky - two goals.
1-John Madden - game winning goal (were they serious? He got lucky, that wasn't skill, ugh!)
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Sergei Brylin - just what I get for ragging on the guy the other day. He scored a goal, had three hits and was noticeable on the ice in just 10 minutes of ice time.
2-Avery - at this point, what more can you say? He does everything he can to give his team the advantage, and we love him for it.
1-Dubi - he had two goals, six hits and a blocked shot and won 17 of 27 faceoffs. Enough with the numbers, the kid dominated. Jason Arnott Redux.