Saturday, May 11, 2013

R1, G5: Failed Philosophy

The Blueshirts were sent to the brink on Friday night when they fell 2-1 in overtime to the Caps.

The first 60 minutes were full of mind-numbingly boring hockey, with the Rangers seemingly playing for a shootout that would never come. But once they hit the OT, things suddenly opened up and it was a edge-of-the-seat, heart attack-inducing, utterly terrifying sudden death stanza. And you know what? The Rangers were just fine. Hank made some big saves - he can do that, you know - and the boys were in it.

It was only when they went back to being Torts' team and followed his failed philosophies that they lost. They collapsed deep in their zone, clogged the middle, allowed the Washington point men time and space, and focused on blocking shots rather than pressing the action. They penalty killed at even strength and the NHL's top power play players took advantage.

Poor John Moore blocked a shot, found himself stranded and then out of position as Mike Ribeiro slid into the slot to slam home the game-winner. And now the Rangers return to MSG Sunday - at the odd time of 4:30 in the afternoon. I know I'm repeating the cliche: it's not over until the home team loses and if they lose Sunday, it's over.

Late Hits:

*Mentioned it after last game, how Clowe was taking a risk playing at less than 100%. Skating around with a bullseye on his head he was one hit away from trouble and he took that hit in the first period. The terms "upper body" and "lower body" were created to protect players because, in the playoffs, opponents would target weakness to knock them out. Everyone knew Clowe had a concussion so it is little surprise that one of Washington's warriors, Jason Chimera - would take advantage of that knowledge.

*Five games down, still no sign of Rick Nash. But I'm sure he'll show up again in October.

*Boyle giveth, Boyle taketh away. Another goal for, another mistake that led to a goal against. Credit due him for being more involved than he was during the regular season, I guess.

*Richard$ has been horrid but to put him with Asham and Pyatt? How can you spark a playmaker if you put him with guys who can't play?

*That being said, having Richie and DZ out on the power play is getting ridiculous. The team went 0-4, including virtually four straight minutes of man advantage time in the second period. The unit is slow, predictable and about as harmless as a puppy. All told, seven shots in eight power play minutes, none by Nash.

*Thought Dorsett skated well, he's slowly finding his fitness and should be terrific after a full training camp.

*Anton Stralman is too soft and incapable to be a useful second-pairing blueliner. That was him getting outmuscled by Troy Brouwer on the final play, allowing for the tip to Ribeiro. But at least he is better than Del Zaster, right?

*Guess I wasn't just being cruel when I pointed out DZ's various deficiencies? Or can he still play the age card? By the way, this was his 275th NHL game ...

*Why does it seem that Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin are often the only Rangers on the ice when they rush over the Washington blue line? Every attack appears to be one on three or one on four.

*Crazy numbers for Matt Hendricks: 9:12 of ice time - 3:29 of it was shorthanded - four hits and seven blocked shots. That's one helluva playoff performance.

*PHW Three Stars:
3-Henrik Lundqvist - 33 saves.
2-Joel Ward - one goal.
1-Mike Ribeiro - one goal.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars:
3-Ovie - Fifteen shot attempts, nine of which went on net. Damn.
2-Hank - Where Holtby was hardly tested, the King found himself under siege and can not be collectable for the loss.
1-Ribeiro - Won a ton of faceoffs and helped make Hank's life hard. 

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