Saturday, February 26, 2011
33-26-4: Six Pack Against The Caps
Before this season started pundits everywhere lauded the Washington Capitals, saying the team needed a little help on the back end to contend for the Cup. Well, Washington has gotten that help with the trade for Scott Hannan and the emergence of Karl Alzner, John Carlson and Michal Neuvirth. Unfortunately for them, somewhere along the way they lost their heart and their love for the game.
The pressure has increased on the Caps and it has crushed the life out of them. When Ovechkin was running around as the straw that stirred their drink and the big blissful belch that came after the big gulp, Washington was a happy-go-lucky hockey club. Now that Ovie has gotten serious - right down to the cleanly shaven face - the Caps aren't as fun and aren't as successful.
I know, I feel bad for them too. (No, not really.)
The Rangers beat the Capitals for the third straight time, winning tonight 6-0 to give them an aggregate score of 13-0 in their last two against DC. Perhaps it was because the Blueshirts played good defense, perhaps it was because they kept finding the back of the net, perhaps it was because there were nine power plays, perhaps it was because the Phone Booth had no atmosphere to speak of but this game was tremendously dull. Let's hope the boys didn't decide to liven things up after the game because they will face one very different, very tough Tampa team on Sunday.
Quick notes on this one:
*I admit it, I missed Tom Poti tonight.
*That the night ended without the news that Erik Christensen was traded should grounds for Sather's firing. His trade value has never been higher and will only go down from here. Mr. Softie is utterly useless 99% of the time - remember, there are no shootouts in the Stanley Cup FInals, much less any of the other playoff rounds, and thy are what we are shooting for.
*Love Mike Sauer but his decision to fight Jason Chimera was astoundingly stupid. Sure he bounced back and had a great game after that but he needs to know when, who and why it is worth fighting.
*If Staal is healthy on Sunday, MDZ should see the bench. Eminger was every bit the solid vet they have needed while Del Zotto took a stupid penalty that could have cost his team and he was mediocre the rest of the time. The Rangers are 8-6-1 in the last 15 that he dressed and 2-6-1 during that last nine game stretch where Torts went with the slumping sophomore.
*While talking defense, Dan Girardi was his usual tough self and Matt Gilroy had a really good, really quiet 20 minutes - his best all-around effort in a while.
*Watched the Stepan hit on Green a dozen times and it still is not suspension-worthy. Hell, it isn't even an offense worthy of a two minute minor. Green knew he was there, Green saw him coming and Green still skated right at him. The cross check Green laid on Step was far worse and even that wasn't egregious.
*Before this season I never would have said this but here it goes: Get well soon Fedotenko, we need you.
*Is there anyone who watched the last two games that believes that the Rangers are a better team with Marian Gaborik in the lineup? Didn't think so.
*Captain Callahan's feed to Christy on the third Ranger goal was quite likely the prettiest pass made by a Ranger this season.
*Arty Anisimov had his best game in a while. Perhaps he was trying to impress his fellow countrymen on the opposite bench?
*Everyone went wild over Wolski after his performance against the Hurricanes, but it was funny, hardly heard his name at all on this night. This team needs consistency.
*Did you see the reaction by Prospal after he scored? Even though it was the fifth Ranger goal of the night, you would have thought it was the first of his career. Kinda nice to see someone get that excited ...
*How many good saves did Hank have to make? Three, four?
*PHW Three Stars
3-Ryan Callahan - one assist.
2-Erik Christensen - two goals and two assists.
1-Henrik Lundqvist - 35 saves.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Ryan McDonagh - The kid slid into Staal's spot and - while he didn't star - he didn't look out of place in the least.
2-Step - Another youngster playing in all situations who acquitted himself quite well. Perhaps it was the hit on Green that set him off but Stepan was more involved buzzer-to-buzzer then he has been in a long time.
1-Christy - Trade him right f-ing now!