Thursday, May 10, 2012

R2, G6: Nothing Done In DC

As has been the tendency this season, the Rangers proved unable to decisively finish the task at hand. Throughout the year they would take a lead and cling on to it, rather than put the hammer down. And last night, with a chance to close the series against the Caps, they did not put the hammer down. In fact, they didn't even pick it up.

The Blueshirts secured Game 7 revenue for big boss Dolan by tanking Game 6, limply losing 2-1 to Washington in a game that wasn't nearly as close as the scoreline. That isn't to say that they lost intentionally, but their hearts clearly weren't into it - at least after the first 88 seconds. Just as a Brandon Prust fight in the first two minutes has ignited the team in the past, the penalty to Stralman and the ensuing Ovechkin goal extinguished any fire the Rangers may have had at puck drop. They went on to spend the game reacting instead of acting, working on the outskirts of the Washington zone, unwilling to pay the price to make things happen.

Having home ice will be the key to Game 7 on Saturday because there is no way the MSG crowd will allow the Rangers to sleepwalk their way to failure the way they did last night.

Late Hits:

*Dan O'Halloran handed the Blueshirts chance after chance after chance to get into the game. And, of course, the Ranger power play went 0-5, wasting 10 minutes of man advantage time. New York typical.

*The biggest factor in that failure was John Tortorella, of course. He has yet to figure out a power play lineup that works and a philosophy that breeds success. The goals that have been scored this season have come in lucky bursts, as they did in Game 5. Too often the team goes through painful slumps that cost them, as they did in Game 6.

*Del Zaster at the point simply does not work because he does not think quickly enough. Having just one player - Ryan Callahan - willing to plant his ass by the crease does not work. Putting John Mitchell on the ice is just ridiculous. The guy has played 235 career NHL games and has 13 power play points, one being an assist off of that fortuitous faceoff loss in Game 5. Mitch's last power play goal came for Toronto against Atlanta in December of 2010. Yeah. And yet he saw 2:31 of power play time while Kreider, Hagelin and Boyle saw none.

*Kreider, by the way, didn't attempt a single shot in his stellar six minutes of time. What is the point of even dressing this kid if he is not put in a position to succeed? A young scorer saddled with Mike Rupp is going nowhere.

*When shorthanded, there is inevitably going to be one member of the opposition that will be uncovered. The Rangers can not allow that one person to be Alexander Ovechkin. On the opening goal both Girardi and Cally went across to Wideman and the Caps moved the puck across. Cally fell and got caught in Wideman's feet while Girardi went back low to take Johansson (who was smartly screening Hank). Ovie was left wide open. Ugh.

*Brad Richard$, who was almost as awful as DZ on the power play, lollygagged around the Ranger end on the second Caps goal. He was too busy watching the puck to cover Jason Chimera and Chimera cut to the post and scored. And yet the NBC idiots blamed Stu Bickel for not being able to block the shot from Carlson. Perhaps they have spent too much time with Torts and have gotten used to making Stu the scapegoat. Love the look on Chimera's face, even he is shocked he was left alone.

*Washington's minor league netminder had another easy evening of number inflating. Holtby barely had to move the Rangers put the puck in his chest or in his waiting glove. That last-minute glove save was nothing special, as Hagelin did him a favour by skating out of the way so he could see the shot.

*The one puck that did get past Hershey's finest was a gift as Gabby's shot was way off the mark. It luckily hit off of Carlson's ass and ricocheted in. Ugly goals are still goals though ...

*PHW Three Stars
3-Jason Chimera - one goal.
2-Alex Ovechkin - one goal.
1-Braden Holtby - 30 saves.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Alzner/Wideman/Carlson - The top three defenders for DC made things tough enough for the Rangers down low so the Blueshirts didn't even bother battling them.
2-Ovechkin - Yeah, so he's kinda good. Whatever.
1-Backstrom - The Swedish center played in all situations and set up both Washington goals.

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