Tuesday, April 28, 2009
R1, G7: It's Over Folks
Sean Avery turned in one of the best individual performances of the entire season and it wasn't nearly enough as the Rangers fell to the Washington Capitals 2-1 to complete a self-destruction of epic proportions. John Tortorella doomed them to failure two games in a row and had no answers to fix what was wrong in the ultimate game. Granted, he was working with a squad that was flawed from the start but the chips had fallen into place for victory and the incompetence of the man in charge handed it back to their opponent.
It is truly difficult to type this recap. The Rangers artificially raised everyone's hopes - mine included, no matter how many cracks I pointed out over the course of the season - and then they knocked them down. Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, Markus Naslund, Nik Zherdev, Wade @#$!%! Redden ... thanks for nothing. That my season ticket money (and all of the other cash I spent) helped go to pay their salaries pisses me right off. Then again, it really is quite remarkable that the team made it to the playoffs, much less to seven games against Alexander Ovechkin but when the inevitable downfall came it was still crushing. There will be more analysis of this season and report cards and all that fun to come here but I don't have much more for tonight, it's over. It's just over. Just some quick notes:
*Hank didn't win the game for the Rangers but he didn't lose it for them either. He made several amazing saves against a fierce team that was all pressure all the time in the third period.
*Avery, Dubinsky and Callahan ... you just can't say enough about these guys. How the veterans couldn't bother to dig deep and put up half the effort that that trio did is beyond me. I would have included Staal and Girardi in that but they just fell apart in the final minutes and didn't give their team a chance to mount a counterattack.
*The fans wearing ponchos behind the Rangers net? Brilliant.
*Credit to Rozy for toughing things out. His partner actually played decently before screening the goaltender on the game-winner.
*Both goals against come seconds after the Rangers rush down a wing and miss the net. It would be shocking if it didn't happen to the team at least a half dozen times over the course of the season. You would think they would work on that - either on hitting the net while skating at high speeds, spreading out the attack or how to recover in time. But they didn't, and they lost.
*When did Milan Jurcina learn how to play?
*It always sucks when the last game is on the road so the team can't get a proper sendoff.
*Seeing Fedorov score the game-winner made me miss Brendan Shanahan that much more. Cagey veterans who have been there, done that don't get flustered this time of year. They put their noses to the grindstone and do their jobs. And Shanny never shied away from shooting the damned puck and that woulda been nice. He certainly would have contributed more than Voros...
*PHW Three Stars
3-Henrik Lundqvist - 22 saves.
2-Sergei Fedorov - one goal.
1-Simeon Varlamov - 14 saves.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Callahan - Even though he had the bad luck of the first goal going off of him, Cally was remarkable considering he was out there alone. His linemates did nothing and I kept waiting for him to get Borat's spot with Avery and Dubi and it never came, even when Borat ran out of energy in the third period. Pathetic.
2-Varlamov - For the first time in the series, I will give the kid credit. He helped his team weather the attack in the first two periods with solid positional play and never got flustered. Even though he faced 14 shots. Just 14 shots. That is criminal. Goddamn Rangers.
1-Avery - He took a beating and he kept playing. He kept working, he kept battling, he kept taking the game to the Caps. For all of you non-Ranger fans out there, this is why we worship him. All heart and all effort.