So, for a few minutes there, I was worried that this game was going to turn into the Boston-Toronto game, where Boston came back from a 3 goal deficit to win in overtime. But that didn’t happen. Lundqvist scored his second shut out in a row and the Rangers broke their streak of never winning a game 7 on the road with a 5-0 victory over the Washington Capitals. Congrats boys. Now we head to Boston for round 2….
Going into this series, I thought these two teams were similar. They both were expected to be contenders but barely made the playoffs, with the Caps getting a higher position because the Southeast really is a horrible division. The Caps were better up front, the Rangers were better on the back end and while Lundqvist is a better goalie, Holtby becomes a brick wall when he sees the Rangers. Pretty even, right? Yet watching this series, I’m beginning to wonder if I was wrong. That maybe the Rangers truly are a team who deserves to just make the playoffs and the Caps are one who should have home ice in the first round. It looked that way tonight. Fortunately the score doesn’t always show the way it looks.
The Rangers started the game with all the momentum on their side. They had the crowd, who was even more pumped when they heard Marc Staal was in the starting the lineup. The first shift or two didn’t look bad. Then Washington took a penalty and it was all downhill from there.
The penalty was on Ovechkin. My first concern was him coming out of the box and going on a breakaway. Of course, after having a semi-competent power play, the Rangers bobble the puck and it squirts out of the zone as Ovechkin comes out of the box. He didn’t get a clear cut breakaway and Del Zotto was able to stop him from getting a clean shot. A minute later, the Rangers got pinned in their zone and the Caps took advantage to take the 1-0 lead.
Sooo that was an ugly game. No score through regulation and then an overtime loss on a stupid penalty. On the plus side, we got Boyle and Dorsett into the line up to replace Newbury and Kreider. On the minus side, well, they got shut out by Holtby. Thanks a lot NHL for making deflecting the puck into the crowd a delay of game penalty. Ugh.
I always love when I can place Dan Girardi and Marc Staal in the same sentence, especially when it’s regarding good news. Yesterday, the New York Rangers’ chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association announced that Staal had been nominated for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy and Girardi was the recipient of the John Halligan Good Guy Award.
What a game! The Rangers gained two points and their first shut out of the season in a hard-fought overtime victory against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. Dan Girardi scored on a high rising shot to the upper right corner of the net at 3:11 of overtime with a nice pass from Brassard setting him up to go to the net. Nice work by Brassard, showing more of the talent gained in the Gaborik trade.
Today the third oldest Rangers turns a year older as we celebrate Arron Asham’s 35th birthday. (The oldest one, Roman Hamrlik, turned 39 yesterday so happy belated birthday to him as well.)
So how do we plan to celebrate Arron? With videos of course!
“We weren’t good enough.” “It’s really disappointing… let’s leave it at that.” “We can’t start playing midway through the third.” “I had some key opportunities and I don’t score.” Just a selection of quotes from last night’s post-game interviews after a 3-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators. The entire team is frustrated and it’s coming to a head. The Rangers are still in a playoff spot, trailing behind the Devils (who just lost half of their top players to injury). What’s the problem with the Rangers? Well, I can’t tell you that, but I can tell you what happened with them this week.
It’s….. the week in review:
All night I listened as the Rangers outhit and outshot the Capitals through the final 40 minutes of the game. That’s great. They didn’t outscore them and not only gave away a valuable extra point, they gave a team that is chasing them two. This season, they just can’t keep doing that.
For those who haven’t heard, the Rangers roster changed slightly since the boys last game. Jeff Halpern is now in Montreal, Stu Bickel is in Connecticut (where he had 6 shots on goal during the Whale’s win earlier today and played in all situations including the power play) and Kris Newbury is with the big club.
As for the lineup, Arron Asham came off of IR to return for the first time in over a month (last game was 2/19 vs. Montreal) and J.T. Miller missed his first game since being called up due to his left wrist injury (and possibly the fact that he told the media what the injury was; just kidding).
For a day off, today was a busy day in Ranger world.
First, we said goodbye to Jeff Halpern as he was claimed by the Montreal Canadiens. I said he would be claimed by someone but expected him to go earlier than that. (Waiver claims go by reverse standings meaning the Panthers had first grab and the Canadiens were toward the bottom of the list.)
I hope I’m wrong about this but I think the Rangers will regret letting him go. He wasn’t anything spectacular but for a fourth line center who killed penalties, he was solid. Case in point – he was never scratched and would regularly be moved up in the lineup if Torts felt a spark was needed. Guess we’ll see. In the meantime, I actually hope we get no power plays next Saturday night as the Habs now have Prust and Halpern.
Before last nights game, Tortorella spoke at length about Chris Kreider saying the Rangers didn’t want to jerk him around and needed to make sure he was ready before bringing him back. Less than 24 hours later he was on his way to NYC.
I’m not completely against bringing him up. Personally, I think he needs more time but the staffs in New York and Connecticut see more than I do so I’m going to trust them. The question is where in the lineup will he play?