Tuesday, May 14, 2013

R1, G7: Guts Beget Glory

Perhaps my favourite photo of the year... hilarious.
On Monday night the Washington Capitals spent the first period of Game 7 hitting everything that moved. They forechecked, they backchecked, they tried to inflict as much pain as possible - Ovie even attempted a Claude-Lemieux-on-Kris-Draper-like head drive on Ryan McDonagh. But McD missed all of one shift, and the Blueshirts came out of the opening frame up 1-0.

The Rangers killed off the penalty incurred by their initial goal scorer, then potted a pair of goals over the next five minutes to kill any life left in the Capitals. And that was pretty much that. Two more goals were scored over the remaining 34 minutes and the series was settled: the real red, white and blue won 5-0 and advanced to a second round meeting with Boston.

The Blueshirts took the best that the Caps could throw at them and came away with a win, a familiar theme this year - the rope-a-dope the Ranger Pundit has often observed. It is an ugly way to play, it is an unsettling way to play, but it has allowed this team to find some wins.

And now they need just 12 more.

Late Hits (recycling the first two from last year):

*John Druce, wherever you are, I have one thing to say to you: this.

*You know what would have made the victory sweeter? Tom Poti on the ice. Pooooooooooooooottttttttttttiiiiiiiiiiii.

*Brassard, Moore, Dorsett, Zuccarello - all late-season acquisitions, all massive parts of the Ranger offense now that the main mercenaries have faded. Something they all share? Decisiveness. There is no hesitation, no clenching the stick too tight ... they keep moving, they make plays, they come up with results. Simply, they don't play John Tortorella's brand of lifeless, shot blocking, dump-n-chase, north-south hockey. We'll see how that fleshes out in the end, but they have been fun to watch for now.

*As with Boyle in Game 4, my tw-enemy Asham giveth and he (almost) taketh away. If not for Hank's heroics, Asham's goal would have been wiped out by the power play brought about by his unnecessary penalty.

*Interesting that the Caps cried about the penalty situation in Game 6 - none called on the Rangers - and Ovie wasn't busted for his boarding. In fact, nothing was called on Washington until it was a 4-0 game in the third period. The refs didn't want things to get out of hand so they brought out their whistles. But they had managed to call a penalty early on to give the Caps quite a chance to tie it. I'm one rarely given to accusing the refs for anything (aside from in the heat of the moment, at the game), but it was curious how things worked out.

*The injury theories on Nash were made to look foolish yet again as he skated hard enough to get a few great chances, which he blew. Thankfully he, like Richard$, found other ways to contribute. Seeing as the players aren't getting paid for the playoffs, technically they aren't wasting our money. So any contribution is a bonus, right?

*LOLtby. A mediocre netminder, nothing more. And exposed as such when the team in front of him utterly gave up. No heart.

*Best game of Steve Eminger's Ranger career, wouldn't you say? Nice timing.

*Brassard, Step and Richard$ - three of the four centers. Not a single shot on goal between them, not a complaint about their play to be had.

*Well, one ... all played on the power play and, yet again, there were no power play goals.

*Can you hear us? Loved the Ranger fan presence. Glad to see the True Blue travel so well and add insult to injury, especially as the bandwagon pulled out of the Phone Booth in the third period.

*PHW Three Stars:
3-Arron Asham - one goal.
2-Derick Brassard - two assists.
1-Henrik Lundqvist - 35 saves.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars:
3-Brassard - Creative and confident. And just edging out Cally.
2-Hank - Your Conn Smythe-leading candidate.
1-McDonagh - Never give in.

1 comment:

Steve N. said...

Asham 2.. Nash 0.

That said, Nash is one heck of a decoy... he attracts defensemen like a UV light attracts flies.

What are odds we get Staal back next series? Interesting calculus on that after Eminger put up a nice performance in G7.

Though the PP still sucks, it looks more like a PP with Brassard and Zucc's vision and puck smarts helping drive it.

Good game for Dorsett too, I thought. I was a little worried in his first game when he seemed unable to control his emotions- but perhaps someone gave him a good talkin' to as he know has it in check.