Friday, April 13, 2012
R1, G1: Opening Up With A Win
The Rangers opened their quest for the Cup with a 4-2 win over Ottawa on Thursday night at MSG.
Not a lot of time so just into the Late Hits:
*Hagelin to Richard$ ... that was hot.
*Ottawa commanded play for long stretches of the night but Craig Anderson did them in by allowing three bad goals. So much for his 6-0-0 record with a 1.13 GAA and two shutouts in six career starts at MSG ... Certainly have to wonder how much rope he has in this series when his highly skilled backup Ben Bishop performed well against the Rangers a month ago.
*I have no idea why Hank received a bit of a standing ovation after giving up that goal from Erik Condra. Hank was higher than usual in his crease and made an atrocious attempt at a diving two-pad stack or something as the puck was crossed to Condra for the one-timer. And people at the Garden stood and applauded. When the shutout was broken by Alfredsson there was a brief Hen-Rik chant but nothing lasting. But when Hank pulled a Biron and allowed an awful goal the fans showed their appreciation. Utterly dumbfounding to me.
*The Ranger fans in general were pretty good, clearly giddy to get free t-shirts and towels. The USA chants for the soldier who was given a house were nice, the USA chants because the Rangers were winning were stupid - the Sens have seven Americans on their roster, the Rangers have seven Americans on their roster. Happy to report that I counted less than a dozen Sens fans in attendance.
*Mike Rupp was signed for his playoff experience and he came through big time. No, he missed a wide open net but that is to be expected when his hands are as filled with cement as his head. But Rupp contributed more than he did in any other indoor game this season by taking Chris Neil off the ice for 10 minutes at the outset of the third period. Ottawa was forced to mount a rally - or try to send a message - without their toughest player.
*Another great trade off was Boyle for Karlsson late in the first period. Ottawa had just received a power play thanks to Stu Bickel's unnecessary cross check and Boyle goaded the Sens best player into a roughing penalty. It all but ensured that the Rangers would take their lead into the first intermission - a definite factor in the win.
*Poor Stu. You have to wonder if he is getting tired of Torts' idea of accountability. Stu took a bad penalty and saw four shifts the rest of the game, just one in the third period. Brandon Prust and Ryan McDonagh both took a bad penalties and neither one missed a shift.
*Arty Anisimov had two assists in his previous 28 games but came up with a pair in this one. The first was a secondary point on the Cally goal but the other was the smart set up for Boyle. A quick toedrag and an awkward shot across the grain gave the Rangers a 3-0 lead into the second intermission.
*The Ranger power play, featuring the usual Del Zastrous quarterback, went 0-4. Zack Smith's slashing penalty seven minutes into the third period provided the perfect opportunity for the Rangers to put a nail in the coffin. But, instead the man advantage men did nothing and Alfredsson scored 21 seconds after Smith returned to the ice. So the Sens gained something to build off of while the Blueshirts staggered to the final buzzer.
*More proof that +/- is more often a stat of circumstance and not skill? Anton Stralman +3, Ryan McDonagh -1. McDonagh had himself a pretty damn good game too.
*The Garden music was godawful.
*If Kreider is blowing a year of his contract, he should be playing - especially when the fourth line guys were getting limited minutes anyway.
*15 more wins to go.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Artem Anisimov - two assists.
2-Ryan Callahan - one goal.
1-Henrik Lundqvist - 30 saves.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Girardi - Rock solid defense by Dan-O kept the top Sens off the board.
2-Boyle - Donning dastardly facial hair must be the key to keeping him motivated and involved ...
1-Callahan - Did the captain want to win or what?