Friday, April 17, 2009

Setting Up For Saturday

The Rangers had a light practice today and will have another day on the ice before Saturday's matinee Game 2, thank you NBC.

As much as that extra time will be nice to get Chris Drury back into the game, it also allows Washington to look at what they did wrong and find ways to fix it. They are still going to run and gun, take pot shots at Sean and throw puck after puck at Hank. But for as dopey as Bruce Boudreau may seem, he really is a helluva coach.

So I would wager a guess now that Ovie took all of those shots (28 total attempts or something like that) and showed that tendency to Hank and the Blueshirts, Bruce will persuade him get his linemates more involved next game - if only a little bit. Nick Backstrom kept lurking around the net and a slap-pass or intentional miss might set up a slam dunk for him. Although, talking Ovie into intentionally missing the net might be a hard sell.

It might be in their best interest as you have to imagine Bruce is unhappy with his team's power play. It was held to two goals on seven chances. It doesn't sound so bad but they were able to exhaust the Ranger penalty killers on several occasions and couldn't take advantage.

For all of their speed, the Washington transition game wasn't all that impressive and they had trouble maintaining pressure. Once they broke into the zone, they weren't able to sustain any pressure. Hank stopped every shot that he saw so the Ranger defense will likely have to deal with more traffic this time around. Two of the three goals against came with Washington bodies planted in the slot and with Rozy and Redden not being known for their physicality, the Caps may key in on them.

They will also need to stop bring obsessed with a certain number 16. Avery's work (and his 'accidental' bump) pretty much negated the Mike Green factor. Anytime Avery was on the ice with Green, he was in the defenseman's face and the overrated Norris candidate was knocked off his game. If he can avoid falling for Sean, then the Rangers will have to watch out for him as he can quickly take advantage of any turnover anywhere on the ice and turn it into an offensive opportunity.

The Rangers scored four goals in the game but were still limited to 10 total shots in the first and third periods. Boudreau has to be happy with that but defensive gaffes allowed the Rangers to get through so he may stress better awareness from his blueliners and perhaps even more defensive responsibility from the forwards. I doubt it, as the Caps rarely played like that all season - preferring to run and gun instead - but you never know. Perhaps Poti will play and firm things up in the Washington zone.


One can only hope, one can only hope ...


Graying Mantis said...

You hit the highlights with your observations.

After watching these 2 teams play this season, I find it surprising how evenly matched they are. The big advantage for the Rangers is #30.

I worry that the Caps will find a way to put more traffic in front of the net. The Rangers did a better job keeping the Caps out of the slot than they did in the 2 games against the Flyers.

On a positive front, the Rangers came close to scoring 7 times on Wednesday thanks to the post stopping Callahan twice. So a little more uptempo offense should pay off nicely.

Tomorrow the Rangers likely will face an energetic Caps team that will try for the knockout in the first period.

If the Rangers can hold on, then it will be quite a game.

Anonymous said...

We signed gilroy, the honey baker winner. Maybe we'll buy redden out next yr. We may have a nucleus of a good young d for a change: staal girardi gilroy sanguinetti del zotto sauer & potter.

Unknown said...

hey scotty are you going to be doing any live game blogs for the playoffs, i remember at least one some time ago but nothing recently.

Scotty Hockey said...

Hey Keith,
You are right, it has been a while. To be honest, I doubt I will do a live blog again in the near future. I Mean, it could change but today I spent the game having out in the gameday threads at Japers Rink and Blueshirt Banter (both linked on my home page) and it is significantly easier. If I go to a game to "cover" it live, then I may bring the live blog back but till then, check out the SBN sites ...