Monday, May 20, 2013

R2, G2: Down In A Hole, Again

It is always a sad, sad thing when we see that our superheroes are really human after all. And that's what has been happening with Henrik Lundqvist over the first two games of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The King has sank from royalty to the real world, allowing uncharacteristic goals go by him left and right.

While his brother Joel was busy winning a gold medal in Stockholm with Sweden, Hank struggled with the black and gold of the Boston Bruins. Repeatedly exposed by the porous Blueshirts' blueline, Lundqvist let puck after puck get past him in Boston as the Bruins took a 2-0 lead in the series with a 5-2 win.

Shots that he sees, shots that he gets a piece of, shots from bad angles ... we've taken his Vezina form for granted for a long, long time and seeing him struggle with those shots is a shock. Even when he wasn't himself at the start of this asterisked season, Lundqvist was still better than the guy who backstopped the Rangers in Games 1 and 2.

But it's not over yet, there's time for him to reclaim his crown. The boys rebounded after failing at the Phone Booth to start the last series so perhaps a return to the real Garden will hopefully help. The only problem is that Rask and the Bruins aren't half as horrid as Holtby and the Caps...

Late Hits:

*At the start of the year Hank was helped out by the boys in front of them, and that hasn't been happening. The cornerstone of the defense, Dan Girardi, has been making mistakes over the last few weeks as all of the mileage has piled up. G was on for all five goals against, and was directly culpable for at least two of them.

*It certainly didn't help that G was constantly pulled out of position to cover for his inept partner Del Zaster. The two didn't play together too much over the regular season, so of course Torts felt it best to pair them in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Of course.

*Torey Krug, two goals and one assist in the first two games. The entire Ranger blueline, one goal and one assist in the first two games (goal by McD, assist by G).

*Nine minutes and 12 seconds of power play time. Forrest.

*Nice to see people overreacting because Nash finally scored a goal. Remember when those folks celebrated the long-awaited goals by Boyle and Gaborik? What became of them? Just because he found daylight as Rask sagged off his angle doesn't mean Nash still isn't a factor.

*So now Brad Richard$ isn't even taking faceoffs on the fourth line. Too bad there aren't any other real options for the fourth line (Newbury? No.), then Richie could be a healthy scratch.

*Speaking of someone who should be scratched, Boyle. Slow, physically outmatched with hands of cement - but he was given over six minutes of power play time. The same Boyle who has no power play goals in his last 180 games (incl. playoffs). Zero. But he doesn't stink with the man advantage, Carl Hagelin does. Right Torts?

*Nice of Dorsett to show some pride and start a fight, too bad it came two goals too late.

*With him around, what's the point of having Asham? Not that having another man advantage woulda helped anything, but my tw-enemy negated a power play that woulda happened seconds before Boston scored the go-ahead goal in the second period.

*Cally had a nice bounce-back game.

*PHW Three Stars:
3-Torey Krug - one goal and one assist.
2-Patrice Bergeron - two assists.
1-Tuukka Rask - 35 saves.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars:
3-Johnny Boychuk - A goal and some good, physical defense.
2-Krug - Remember when everyone thought DZ or Hobey were going to be big point-getters from the blueline?
1-Bergeron - Must be nice to have a first line center on your team.

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