Monday, April 12, 2010
38-34-10: We Are Who We Thought We Were
The Rangers proved they were the team that we thought they were on Sunday afternoon: a team that just wasn't good enough for the playoffs. Despite a heroic performance by Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers couldn't score and ultimately fell to the Flyers 2-1 in a shootout. They were officially eliminated from the playoffs and did just what most of us dreaded: they made us believe in them before breaking everyone's hearts with failure.
The lesson here is that a team can't start playing three weeks before the end of the season and think they will make the playoffs and that we should never believe in the Blueshirts, at least not until they really give us a real team to believe in. This collection of mercenaries and not-ready-for-primetime players managed just 25 shots in 65 minutes and couldn't get more than one goal past Brian Boucher. Brian Boucher. And that one goal? It came off of a goon crashing the slot, not the superstar sniper, not the gritty kids, not the highly paid albatrosses who damn this team to sail the seas of mediocrity.
But there is plenty of time to pick apart the carcass of the 2009-10 Ranger season - make sure you check back for report cards and all sorts of fun offseason fare - so here are some notes on this match:
*The selections for the shootout pretty much says it all: waiver wire pickup Erik Christensen, minor leaguer P.A. Parenteau and Calgary cast-off Olli Jokinen. No matter their past successes in the skill competition, none of them are products of the system and none of them the big money free agents signed by the franchise.
*As I said prior to the game, Parenteau simply couldn't match up the bigger, stronger Flyers. It showed in his two penalties, the second of which was the equalizer.
*You would think that Tom Renney was still the head coach of the Rangers the way they took the early lead and sat back and tried to hold it.
*People's Champ Aaron Voros fought Ian Laperriere at the beginning of the second period apparently for the sole reason of electrifying the Flyer faithful even further.
*Vinny Prospal didn't manage a single shot against his former team and Gaborik managed just two. Brian Boyle had two shots and Brian Boyle is, well, Brian Boyle.
*Apparently Arty thought it wise to attempt a feed to Boyle and his mistake ended up in the Ranger net on the aforementioned power play goal. I'm still not sure what either one was doing out on the ice killing a penalty in the most important game of the year but that just goes back to coaching.
*Anders Eriksson was rock solid yet again. It'll be sad to see him go with R&R still on the payroll.
Is there anything else worth agonizing over on this one? Feel free to plug it in in the comments. As mentioned above, there will be more post-season posts where I'll do a postmortem.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Matt Carle - one goal.
2-Henrik Lundqvist - 47 saves (46+1)
1-Claude Giroux - shootout goal.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Carle - Carle ate up the ice time and kept the Flyer offense pushing forward. Sure he wasn't as thuggish as some of his teammates but Carle, along with Timonen, didn't let their team dilly dally in their own end for long.
2-Peter Laviolette - The Flyer bench boss didn't have his team consistently giving up their own blue line or making line changes on rushes. He wanted them to put on the pressure and they did all game long.
1-Hank - The Rangers had no place being in this game and yet the King put on one of the best performances of his career to give them a chance. And they blew it.