Saturday, April 23, 2011

N.Y. RANGERS ~ Facing Elimination; Game Five


April 23, 2011


Washington Capitals (3-1)

The Twilight Zone, D.C.

NEW YORK RANGERS:  Be Afraid.  Be Very Afraid.
The Boogieman doesn't live in children's closets.  That was a myth perpetrated by older brothers and sisters across the country and used to extort and blackmail their younger siblings into silence for having witnessed activities Mommy and Daddy would surely get upset about.  Rather, the Boogieman is a Hockey player.  And he wears #10 for the New York Rangers.  He will haunt us and torture us with nightmares all summer long if the Rangers don't stage a miraculous comeback.

The New Yor.....

New York Rangers:  Take Two; Slipping Into The Abyss.

Three second period goals had Ranger fans dreaming of a tied series and beyond.  They chanted "Can You Hear Us" at Capital's Coach Bruce Boudreau.  Three third period Washington goals later, the MSG crowd slipped into a coma.  Thirty-two minutes and thirty-six seconds into overtime, the Blueshirt fans were dead.  No one could "Hear Them Anymore" because one of our own, Marian Gaborik pulled the plug on them.  There will be no recovery from this double-overtime killer.  Flatline is eminent...  The bodies are scheduled to arrive in Washington at 3pm this afternoon for the......


Wednesday night still haunts me a full three days later.  What I saw was ponderous!  Yea, that's it.

They didn't play a good first period and had a horrific third period.

But, in the losing moment, the lone Capital player to whiz across my TV screen was covered and out of the picture.  There was only Gaborik; the puck; and Henrik Lundqvist left to watch.  Henrik Lundqvist came out of net and was on all-fours about to recover a loose puck in front of him when Marian Gaborik swooped in and committed what I can only describe as an act of sabotage in the second overtime session.  He poked at the puck just as Lundqvist was about to cover it, causing a deflection which resulted in a Washington goal to win the game.  There was nary a Capital player near the play.  The winning goal was one of the damnedest things I ever saw.  The fact that the puck would eventually bounce off a Washington player and into the net is purely aftermath.  The damage was done.

Why Gaborik would interfere with the goalie's primary objective and function on the ice, I'll never know.  What motivation he had to deflect that puck away from Henrik Lundqvist is something we all perhaps will never understand.  But even should we agree with Gaborik's decision to play the puck, he still went about it all wrong.  You don't take a feeble stab at the puck in that situation.  You're supposed to nail that puck into the corner or side boards.  But for this fleeting moment, Marian Gaborik mistakes Hockey with Shuffleboard and weakly pokes at the puck.  He was wrong on two counts in that last play.  No one will remember he scored a goal back in the second period.


The Rangers' Power Play Is A Complete Short Circuit.
If you want to throw blame around, start with the power play.  To include the manner in which they finished off the regular season, they are now TWO for Infinity with a man-advantage; sometimes even two-man advantages.  Sometimes it's one shot and out.  Sometimes they gain the zone without ever really establishing possession.  Other times they never gain the zone at all. 

What I saw Wednesday night infuriated me.  Watching a Ranger skater dump the puck in the zone, with three Blueshirts behind him, and no one following through on the chase part of that equation had me looking for something to break.  The fact that we were dumping and chasing on the power play left my eye sockets sore due to being so wide eyed with astonishment over what I was watching.  So if you want to go somewhere, go there.  Brian McCabe looks like he's skating in a cage!  The Rangers were on seven power plays Wednesday night and ended the night with an equal number of shots-on-goal during those advantages.

That's Ponderous!

I understand the point trying to be made, but I am not among the people who place blame for this game and the series on Henrik Lundqvist.  Nor am I among those who place a heaping portion of blame on Henrik for previous Ranger playoff let-downs.  If Henrik had given up four goals on 25 to 30 shots on goal, you'd have a substantially good argument.  But that wasn't the case Wednesday night especially after 50+ shots on goal by Washington.  We are in the playoffs because of him; not in-spite of him.  Tampa Bay helped us out.  Don't forget that.  But we've been riding Henrik like a mule and he's done his part.

The Rangers now have to go back to Washington trailing this series three games to one and face possible elimination from the playoffs.  Before the start of the eleventh season under Glen Sather, the Rangers have advanced to the second round only once; and lost. They now must win three in a row in order to have a chance at changing that.

Of course they can win this afternoon.  That's not an issue with me.  They also need to win-out.  There-in lies the problem.  And it's probably better for the Rangers and me if I let Game Five formulate any further opinions I might have at this point.

There's little more I want to say after a loss like that anyway.  I'm still not sure which tone to take.  This is a young team on the up-tick and to out-and-out bash them would be wrong even if they blew a three goals to none lead.  You live with young defensemen, and you die with young defensemen.  And when they learn how to make better decisions on the ice, a lot of what transpired during the third period of Game Four can be avoided.


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