Don't worry guys. I'll play the first two periods and then you play the third. Works every time. (Photo: Bridget Samuels/flickr)
I’m going to start by saying the Rangers didn’t deserve to win this game. Wait…that was my start to the recap of Game 2 and this was a mirror of Game 1. Either way the Rangers, other than Lundqvist, didn’t deserve to win today. As a Rangers fan, those first two periods were almost unwatchable. Yet somehow they woke up in third.
Which brings up an interesting point – thank goodness the Rangers best period is the third but I just don’t get how they look exhausted and uninterested in the first two periods and then manage to wake up in the third. Isn’t that backwards?
I’m not going to detail the first two periods. To quote Torts from earlier in the season they “sucked from head to toe”. (The second was a little better than the first as the Rangers started to get their legs but I still think they were horrible for the first 40 minutes.) The only reason they were in the game is Lundqvist stood on his head. I don’t know what it is about seeing Marty on the other side but he ups his game even more everytime he does.
During the second intermission I saw a lot of comments on twitter that this felt like Game 1. My favorite was from the Sporting News’ Sean Gentille that said “if Girardi scores early in the third, I think it means we’re stuck in some sort of parallel universe/time travel situation.” Well it wasn’t as early as Game 1 but four minutes into the third Richards won a face-off back to Girardi who stepped into a slapshot and it was once again 1-0 Rangers. Things got freakier from there as two minutes later McDonagh took a shot that got tipped in front by who? Chris Kreider, the same guy who scored the second goal in, you guessed it, Game 1. Who knew we could time travel?
From that point on it was all defense from the Rangers. I know it’s effective and what teams should do when leading in the third but doesn’t mean I like it. One bounce and you regret not attempting any offensive. But the Rangers pulled it off. Then with two minutes to go, Marty gets pulled and Fedetenko gets the puck to Boyle who this time shot for the empty net. He missed but Callahan got the rebound and once again it’s Rangers 3, Devils 0. (By the way, Anismov scored the empty net last time so it was 24 instead if 42. Close enough.)
So some stats from the game (cause who doesn’t love stats):
- Dan Girardi now has three goals in the playoffs. All of them are game winners. No one has more game winners this playoffs.
- Chris Kreider has five goals making him the first player in NHL HISTORY to score five goals before playing a regular season game. I will readily admit I was wrong about bringing him in. I thought it was a bad idea. We all make mistakes.
- The Rangers now have 11 goals from their defense, most in the NHL this playoffs. Three teams are tied for second with 5 (Nashville, Washington and Phoenix) and none of them are still playing. (Well technically the Coyotes have a game tomorrow but if they play the way they did through games 1-3, I can’t consider that actually playing. And before you attack me, this is coming from a Coyotes fan.)
- Henrik Lundqvist has three shutouts which leads the NHL for this playoffs.
Fun stats, right? Well here’s one that isn’t. Brandon Prust probably won’t be playing in Game 4. I honestly don’t know what he was thinking or how the refs missed it so he avoided a penalty but Prust definitely got his elbow up on Volchenkov and hit him in the head. I’m sure I’ll have time to talk more about this over the next two days but needless to say I’m not too happy about it. Guessing Bickel gets back in. Not sure he should’ve been taken out in the first place since Torts trusts Eminger as much as he does Bickel but that’s another story for another day.
At the end of the day, it wasnt pretty but the Rangers got the job done and now lead the series 2-1. They need to play better if they want to go all the way. This may get them past the Devils but they won’t have a chance against the Kings. (Yes I’m assuming the Kings will win the west. Pretty sure it’s a safe assumption.) But as I said after Game 1, a win is a win so we take it and move on. I will however ask again Rangers if you could PLEASE show up before the third period. Pretty please?!?