Thursday, May 24, 2012

R3, G5: It Ain't Over, But It's Close

The Rangers moved one loss away from summertime on Wednesday night, losing 5-3 to the Devils in Game 5 of the best-of-seven.

In typical fashion, the Rangers stumbled out of the gate and gave up three quick goals to fall behind the eight ball. In typical fashion, the Rangers got their act together to mount a rally. They even tied the game ... before blowing it.

Supposedly it was wildly entertaining, but that is not what I would call it. I found it like many of the games this season: infuriating, and ultimately heartbreaking. The coach can't get the guys to show up on time, they struggled to establish their forecheck and for long stretches they made it all too easy for the opposing goaltender to make saves. But when they got their act together, the Blueshirts looked great - they looked like a team that could challenge Los Angeles for the Stanley Cup. The inconsistency killed them and it put the franchise in a perilous situation.

As someone said after the game (apologies to whoever it was), 'I look around out there, and I don't see any Messiers to make any guarantees. And that sucks.' It does, but this team doesn't need a singular saviour, they all need to step up their game and play the way that they can. For 60 minutes. For once.

Late Hits:

*The Mmmaaaarrrrttttyyyy chant after Gabby's game-tying goal was perhaps the loudest ever, definitely the loudest I ever bore witness to. So awesome.

*Finally saw the replays, shocked that Cally's goal counted. Absolutely shocked. Happy! But shocked. He clearly kicks that puck in with his left skate. Guess it just goes towards the whole 'going to the net is good' thing ...

*How did Cally not score on that power play?!? Damned post, helping out Brodeur. Red post, red jersey. Coincidence!?!?

*The power play went 0-for-2. Ugh. The Devils' kill is at 72.9% - 13th out of the 16 playoff teams.

*Not sure what was funnier, Brodeur's whale out of water flop on the Prust goal or Pruster's second period dive. The replay showed he kinda fell over the skirt on the net but, still, that looked hilarious.

*Hagelin is goal-less in his last 28 games.

*Rupp is pointless in his last 45. Check that, he has always been pointless.

*Richard$ doesn't have a goal in this series but damned if he didn't try to get one. On Henke. Whoops.

*Don't get the decision to start Stu over Eminger, as Torts' reasoning to insert Eminger still stood - Stu is so slow.

*After the 2-0 timeout, the Rangers had two exceptional chances keyed by Ruslan Fedotenko. The first he fed a sneaky, sneaky Gabby but the Slovak sniper was off the mark. The second he just shot the damned puck and forced a rebound that neither Kreider nor Gabby could jam past the girth of the goaltender. Despite seeing those chances squandered, the Ukrainian later threw the puck into space and Prust picked it up to score. Feds has more than earned his season salary with his performance in these playoffs.

*For all those who hold +/- in high regard, your hero was a Del Zastrous -3. But, unlike the last game, all was not entirely his fault. He went in for an unnecessary hit, abandoning his position on the 1-0 Gionta goal - which could also be hung on Step for giving up on the play after taking a stick to the face. On the 3-0 Zajac goal he was trying to help guard the 3-on-2 and Travis just blew it past him and Hank - Hank has to stop that. And DZ won the race to the puck on the game-winning goal but didn't bother addressing it with Kovalchuk coming. He took his hand off his stick to try to hold off Kovy, the stick came up and he didn't make any contact with the puck at all, allowing Gionta to feed it to Carter - a feed that went past Girardi and Richard$ to a player who got a step on Hagelin. Plenty of blame to go around for all. But I still hang him for two of the three (not the Zajac) and for the fact that, despite being an "offensive defenseman," DZ pissed away two minutes of power play time, wasn't on for a single goal for and didn't get a single shot on net.

*Saw that Boyle won 13 of 14 faceoffs. Honestly, didn't notice. Good for him.

*PHW Three Stars
3-Ruslan Fedotenko - one assist.
2-Ryan Callahan - one goal.
1-Ryan Carter - one goal.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars:
3-Elias - Sure his goal was a fluke but he was involved all night. Have to hope that doesn't jumpstart the Czech back into being his usual Ranger-killing self.
2-Feds - Aside from Hank and mayyyybe McD, the best Ranger of these playoffs. There's no panic in his game, just all-out effort.
1-Little Gionta - Little Gionta, that's redundant. Stephen channeled 'big' bro Brian to actually be relevant for the first time in his NHL career. Nice timing. Jerk.

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