Tuesday, March 12, 2013

13-9-2: Too Close In The Capital

After sweating out their hangover on Sunday morning the Rangers collected themselves enough to defeat one of the worst teams in the NHL, the Washington Capitals. The 4-1 win should have been by double digits but, as we have seen time and time again, Tortorella's team would rather rest on a lead than extend it.

The way Washington was playing, the Blueshirts should have burned out the goal lamp. The Caps team defense was terrible, they weren't particularly physical and their offense was anemic to say the least. It was perhaps the most uninterested performance I've seen Ovechkin put on. Ever. It's like he's given up ...

Well, that is their problem. The Rangers are ours.

They need to find a killer instinct because good teams mount comebacks. Even this game against a bad team wasn't put to bed until there was a minute left thanks to that Richard$ goal. The Blueshirts have the benefit of playing in the LEast so they have a good shot at a spot in the playoffs. But, as we saw last season, this group isn't big on pressing the advantage which will mean another early, unfortunate exit - something that can not be accepted.

Late Hits:

*The Nash effect is being lauded around the NHL at this moment but the fact is that racking up points over this asterisked excuse for a regular season isn't much of an achievement ... Alex Zhamnov was second in points in '94-95. Nash has four postseason games under his belt and he underwhelmed. But he is not with that expansion afterthought anymore. How he will fare in May - in a real city, with a real chance to make a run - will be the biggest question mark going forward and no one should be anointing him savior until the real season starts.

*Lest ye be thinking I'm just crusading against our savior from Columbus, Nash's release on the power play goal was amazing. DZ's setup was to his back foot, forcing Nash to adjust and he twisted, ending up on his knee. Despite watching the replay roughly 16 times, still not sure how Cally got credit. Did it hit his leg?

*Nash also deserves notice by drawing the awful Washington defense on the fourth and final goal. Two Caps came towards him, a third came back to watch Hagelin's spin-shot and no one picked up Richard$.

*Interesting how the same people who cried out that 'Gabby was back!' after scoring that Callahan-screened goal against the Isles are the same ones lauding Brian Boyle now. One lucky shot past a poor goaltender does not mean much. Gaborik was all but invisible in this one, and Boyle's go-ahead goal came because Ovechkin embarrassed himself with a shotblock attempt.

*The one time Gabby was noticeable was on the Stepan goal, not because he got an assist for dropping the puck to him the second a Cap came near, but because Step was trying to pass the puck back and got lucky it hit of Holtby's skate. The NBC staff rambling about Ovechkin's skipped hit on Step in center ice was ridiculous as it had ZERO to do with the play.

*More dumb penalties. And ones taken by guys who get paid to kill them. Unacceptable.

*Marty Biron may be a nice guy but he is not a particularly good goaltender, not anymore at least. It is amazing how the stink of the Islanders still lingers over him as he botches easy stops and allows soft goals. The goal against was a marshmallow from the point and Marty made several saves look like wild adventures.

*On that soft goal Dan Girardi skated with Jason Chimera all the way up the boards, without laying a single hit on him. Really uncharacteristic of him.

*Hmm, Tom Poti or Matt Gilroy ... hmm ...

*The Ribero/Del Zaster exchange was quite amusing. DZ got a roughing call for being punched in the face. Tee hee.

*Despite winning 14 of 14 faceoffs (at least that's what the box score says) Backstrom was largely invisible. He had one nice dangle in the third period and nearly shocked Biron with a shot to the goaltender's neck. But he is definitely better as a complimentary player and there was no one out there with skills he could compliment.

*Wonder if Matt Hendricks would be available as a rental this season ... he'd be helpful, especially if Asham's 'back spasms' keeps him out of the lineup much longer.

*It is just infuriating that the Rangers let Washington, and that awful embryo of a goaltender of theirs, take them to seven games last spring. It's not like Alex Semin had any impact.

*PHW Three Stars:
3-Steve Oleksy - one goal.
2-Ryan McDonagh - two assists.
1-Marty Biron - 28 saves.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars:
3-Hagelin - Bork! Swedish kid continues to contribute.
2-Nash - By far the most skilled player on the ice.
1-McDonagh - Best blueliner on Broadway, and he hasn't even played two full seasons in the NHL yet. Amazing. 

1 comment:

Robert Fletcher said...

Scott! It's been fun reading your negative-first, positive-never blogs and tweets this season (yet a compliment to Nash today? Doth mine eyes deceive me?!). I emailed you a month ago and got no response back, ya bum! Check your junk mail, and write me back! - Rob F. (BU '99)