Wednesday, April 15, 2009
R1 G1: Well, A Win Is A Win ...
The Ranger 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals to open up their playoff series may have been one of the worse playoff games I have ever seen. The penaltyfest had whistle after whistle on nickle-dime calls while big stuff went unpunished. This was an early season game where the officials wanted to make their presence known. I was annoyed to the point of boredom just waiting for the next stoppage.
The Ranger defense was mediocre, the offense was weak and the goaltender gave up three goals but thankfully, Jose Theodore was horrendous. The Washington netminder looked like a ShooterTutor out there with all of the wide open holes. But as terrible a game as it was, at least the Rangers got the needed result - a road win.
*The Ranger offense was quite weak - taking silly penalties, making terrible passes, missing checks - but Dubi's game-winning goal was fun to watch. He took a bad pass, set Jeff Schultz spinning like a top and put yet another intensely stoppable shot between the near post and swiss cheese Theodore. Maybe Schultz caught a rut, maybe he just couldn't keep up with the streaking Ranger, maybe Staalsie looked just as bad later, who cares - Dubi made Schultz look like an amateur and his goaltender couldn't bail him out. It was awesome.
*All four goals by the Blueshirts were stoppable by a good goaltender. Their best shot of the game was by Cally and it hit a post. Gomez one-on-one blows the puck by Theodore with a wrister that hit maybe 65 mph, Borat's open shot sailed over his shoulder and the former MVP waved at Markus Naslund's shot as it went by him.
*My how things have flipped around for Naslund. He used to be able to get a hat trick of goals and take one penalty; in this game he got one goal and three penalties. When you jam on the gas as hard as you can, the car goes a little out of control. Nazzy is emptying the tank with the pedal to the metal and he just needs to keep his hands on the wheel for just a few more weeks before he rolls into retirement (hopefully).
*All of the credit that I gave to Gomez for his interview the other day was completely obliterated in this one. How the smug bastard can sit and rip on the journalist deigning to speak to him during a game of such magnitude is petty and immature. I thought he had grown up after the classy interview during the Flyer game; instead he reverted back to this. It's not funny, it's rude and unprofessional.
*Now you want comedy, Tom Poti confronting Sean Avery after a whistle was priceless! What is Poti going to do, hit him with his purse and call him a big meaniehead? You brute!
*The Viktor Kozlov goal to make it 3-2 was a perfect redirect after he slipped past Staalsie. Sadly it came after a clear elbow slipped past the officiating. Green took a page from Chris Pronger and nearly decapitated Freddie Sjostrom on the boards but there was no elbowing, no boarding, no nothing. Sergei Fedorov cross checks Avery from behind after a whistle, in front of the ref and no penalty. And yet the stripes saw an infraction 20 seconds into the game when Dan Girardi touched the Capital with his loose hand.
*MSG - I like Amstel, really, I do. I drink quite a lot of it. But every commercial break? Surely there are more ads available in the inventory?? Dadadadapdadadadadap. Damn do I hate the Fratellis (the group who wrote the song). Maybe that will be the next poll - what is more annoying, that commercial or the damn Geico campaign with the stupid money with eyes?
*And you guys laughed at me for being a Blair Betts fanboy for all those months! Let's see, 7:41 of his 12:20 of ice time was shorthanded and he was fantastic. Five blocked shots! Hard work pays off kids ... too bad Nik Zherdev isn't listening.
*With the NHL's insistence of secrecy on injuries, we have no idea what kept Chris Drury out. So, of course, I will think the worse. He is just a weakling who wanted a night off. What ever happened to hockey players as warriors? He was able to skate in warmups and you are telling me he wasn't well enough or motivated enough to take up that stellar three minutes that Aaron Voros got? When Drury got his Cup, Peter Forsberg finished a playoff game with a burst spleen!
*During the postgame Maloney said that the "much-maligned" defensemen Michal Rozsival and Wade Redden were incredible. No, they weren't. But they weren't bad. Sure, Rozy turned away from some hits, Redden fumbled the puck a few times and made two or three bad passes but neither one took stupid penalties or abandoned their posts in the defensive zone. Amazing how good they can look playing average games after they've set the bar so very, very low.
*Stat of the night: I could go with the obvious - 11 power plays in a game that really didn't have much violence (a few hits but not a whole lot of venom) - but instead 30%, the amount of power plays that the Rangers won. They lost 46 of the 66 draws, allowing the Caps to dictate the action.
*How much pressure do you think there is on Brent Johnson to get better? The injured netminder was better than Theodore before undergoing hip surgery and would be huge in this series if he was 100%. He is a streaky netminder and if he was to get hot, he could play just as good as Hank. Good thing he is still cooling off on the IR.
*Many thanks to Allen at Off Wing Photo for all of the pics used with this post. Some great work dude.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Brandon Dubinsky - one goal.
2-Scott Gomez - one goal and two assists.
1-Alexander Ovechkin - two assists.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Hank - The King was fantastic. The first goal against was tipped, the second was on a power play and the third he had no chance at stopping. Every time he had to make a big save, he did and unlike Theodore, he gave his team a chance to win.
2-Cally - The most motivated Ranger, Cally again threw his body around making hits, blocking shots, clearing pucks, pressuring puckholders, taking shots, hitting posts - an incredible effort.
1-OV - He really is a hockey god. I mean, he was everywhere. Everywhere. OV lost his helmet, finished a tough shift, took a rest for a few seconds, grabbed someone else's helmet and got right back into the fray. Wow.