Friday, April 15, 2011

N.Y. RANGERS ~ Let's Take This To An Uglier Level; Game Two


Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals


Washington Capitals  (1-0)

Previous Post:  N.Y. Rangers - NHL Round One Preview

NEW YORK RANGERS:  The Mission Remains The Same; Win One On The Road.

It's standard operating procedure; win one game on the road.  Game One is over-rated anyway.  Riiiiight.  Let's continue convincing ourselves of that.

The truth remains, during the regular season the Rangers established themselves as one of the best road teams in Hockey.  Secondly, they've shown on numerous occasions, their propensity to rebound when it seems like they are in free-fall.  And third, while it's not ideal, we can still win a game one-nothing.  We'll talk about scoring more goals shortly.  But losing Game One is hardly a dire circumstance.  It went rather well considering the team's inexperience.  Just hope the kids are adjusted now and like the feel of the heat being generated on ice.

Holding the Mighty Capitals to one goal in regulation should win you a game.  But these are the Rangers.  Our goals come either in waves or not at all.  However, we did end the season with more goals scored than they did.  We had our chances against Washington's rookie goalie.  But he was good Wednesday night.  Let's give him that.  Our number of shots for the game was lower than we need it to be.  But the Rangers had chances and that's what you want.  It's up to us to cash in.

The score could have been worse for two reasons.  The first is the fact Washington simply had more of a sustained offensive attack than we did.  Henrik was most responsible for keeping things close by repeatedly making spectacular saves.  And secondly, we got Big Time help from the cross-bar.  Three times Washington clanked the pipes.

We never achieved any sustained momentum.  It was one shot and out whenever we gained the offensive zone.  Being able to double-up, and triple-up on shots, finding rebounds, and slapping at loose pucks in front of the net will get this team some goals.  But they just need to start taking shots.  Part of the reason Marian Gaborik scored over 40 goals last season was because he let shots rip from all kinds of ungodly angles.  Some of them found net.

And let's face it.  We know what needs to be done against a rookie goalie who is high on confidence right now.  That's right boys and girls;  Can you say Crash The Net?

Crash the Net.  If you can't shake a goalie out of his zone, you hit him and make him lose his mind.  Teams do that against Henrik all the time.

Game One went to Mats Zuccarello.  He got us a boarding penalty.  Heck, Sean Avery can do that for us.  Exactly!  But Avery can do more.

Game Two needs to go to Sean Avery.  He's what the Doctor is ordering.  He'll piss of Washington's Neuvirth, play both ways, and give us some more physicality on the ice.  Washington came out more than willing to crunch bodies and we took a bit more than we gave.

I don't think we need to change they way we went about business Wednesday night except for taking more shots.  Who cares about the angle or making one last perfect pass.  Phil Esposito went to the NHL Hall of Fame for his ability to score the sloppiest goals you'd ever see.  The guy was a garbage man on skates.

Get sloppy.  Make it ugly.  Crash the net and cause chaos in front of Neuvirth.  More goals and uglier play might be the way to go in Game Two.  That's it.  Everything else was OK.  That's what I'm thinking.

Let's Go Rangers!!!

NEW YORK RANGERS:  Game One Review

The Rangers handed Washington the first power play opportunity of the game by getting called for too many men on the ice 5:31 into the period.  Lundqvist was required to make a pair of outstanding saves during the kill.  Prior to the penalty and after the successful kill, the Rangers had two quality opportunities against Washington's rookie goalie.

The Rangers gave Washington their second power play opportunity when Mats Zuccarello got whistled for a hit from behind midway through the period.  Henrik Lundqvist made an amazing save off a shot by Green from what seemed like point-blank range.  Green took a pass and skated in clean from the far circle against Lundqvist.  The Rangers executed their second successful penalty kill.

Alexander Semin clanked a shot off the pipes at the 4:50 mark.  Then fourteen seconds later, Washington caused a turnover in the Ranger zone and clanked another shot off the crossbar.  Ovechkin later took a shot that bounced off the backboard and came dangerously close to getting knocked in behind Lundqvist.  Washington kept Henrik busy in the first period, peppering him with nine high quality shots.

The Rangers went on their first power play when Washington took a hooking penalty with a little less than two minutes left in the period.  The Blueshirts did not get a shot on goal during the man-advantage.

The Rangers played a rather unsettling period.  They had to kill-off two power plays, defended several even strength odd-man rushes and spent too much time in the Rangers' defensive zone.  The fore-check was lacking and they really could not establish any flow offensively.  It seemed as if the younger Rangers were playing well; at least on defense,  but were suffering from nervous energy.  They had two quality chances turned away by WSH rookie Neuvirth.  The Rangers had five shots on goal for the period.  Henrik Lundqvist kept the Rangers tied with Washington at zero apiece.  Some nifty saves by the King and help from the cross-bar kept the Rangers in this game so far.  Washington dictated pace over the last half of the period.  The Caps were unable to cash in on two PP opportunities over the first half of the period.

McDonagh supplied the Rangers with their first shot on goal of the period.    With four minutes gone by, a Washington shot and save by Lundqvist put the King on his posterior.  But the Rangers managed to clear the zone.

The Rangers had three consecutive quality shots against WSH Neuvirth.  Around the 14:00 mark, Henrik kept the Capitals off the scoreboard again with another brilliant save off a quick shot after losing the puck in the neutral zone.

Looking more relaxed, the Rangers best chance of the game came when Boyle won a puck battle down low and found Gaborik with a centering pass.  Neuvirth stopped Marian Gaborik cold with a beauty.  Neuvirth stopped a Prospal shot three minutes later.

Protecting the puck from the defender with his body, Semin came storming in against Henrik on a two man rush.  Once again, Lundqvist denied Washington the first score of the game.  Then later a beautiful glove save off yet another Semin slap-shot thwarted Washington with a little over 8:00 left.

Henrik Lundqvist made a blocker save resulting from a neutral zone turnover inside the 5:00 mark. 

Then the biggest save of the game; - Lundqvist stopped Backstrom cold on a breakaway opportunity for Washington.  A neutral zone pass from Ovechkin to Backstrom who was skating right down the middle, led to the best chance Washington had of breaking the scoreless tie.

The last two minutes were wide open hockey.  Both teams traded big chances.  At 1:30, Vinny Prospal started getting angry.  He and Gaborik mounted furious pressure around Washington's net but could not score.

The Rangers continued to make Washington defend their end.  They were managing the neutral zone better and staying in the offensive zone longer to start the second half of the period.  Except for one true mistake leading to a breakaway opportunity for Washington, the Rangers tightened up in the second period.  They were a more relaxed group.  They controlled the neutral zone better.  And had sustained time in the offensive end.  Derek Stepan continued to have a very effective night.  There was much more offensive zone pressure by the Rangers this period.

The battle between Staal and Ovechkin was fierce through two.

After two periods of play, the Washington Capitals had seventeen shots on goal.  The Rangers managed eleven.

Heading into the third period, more and more, it started to look like a Rangers kind of game.  The Rangers were just biding their time trying not to make a mistake.  They were waiting patiently for an opportunity to present itself.  In the mean time, Washington was somewhat outplaying the Rangers through two and the Rangers were holding.

In the opening minutes, Vinny Prospal launched a nice looking wrist shot from the right circle.

At 1:56 Matt Gilroy Scored!!! -  off a pass from Wolski. 

The Rangers maintained the puck for the first three minutes.

Lundqvist made the 1-0 lead stand with 3:50 gone by with another brilliant save.

Gaborik made a great defensive play to thwart a centering pass as action came back into the Rangers' end with 5:00 off the clock.  Girardi supplied another defensive gem.  He and Marc Staal had shut down Ovechkin's line to this point.  Ovechkin laid a big hit on Staal who was working down low in the corner after Washington lost possession in the Rangers end.  Wolski answered on the other end with a shot on goal.

Michael Sauer continued a strong game blocking an Alexander Semin shot at the 12:30 mark. 

Ruslan Fedotenko drove the net hard and knocked it off it's moorings.

Rangers survived two shots by Washington after losing a face-off in their end.  Back the other way, Staal was stopped by Neuvirth.  Staal poked at the puck and Ovechkin took exception.  Both he and Staal engaged in shoving.

In the second half of the period,  the Rangers denied Washington the offensive zone on back to back shifts.  But Lundqvist was still needed for another big save at the 7:45 mark.  Washington was denied the zone two more times.

The Ref hadn't acknowledged a goal, but Washington celebrated as if they scored.  Ovechkin's original effort, and subsequent slaps put the puck over the goal line at the 13:44 mark.  The play was reviewed.  The net came off it's footing.  The Refs never gave a clear signal.  There was a whistle blown.  The red light came on.

Outcome ~ The play was ruled a goal.  With a little over six minutes left, the score was tied, off a stuff-in by Alex Ovechkin.  The net stayed in place long enough for the goal to count.

Ovechkin took a penalty for hitting Brandon Prust with a stick a little too high in the face.  The Rangers were afforded their second power play with 4:43 left.  They'd get two quick shots on goal.  Bryan McCabe launched another shot from the point.  Washington cleared.  Back in the zone, shots by Gaborik and Boyle went wide.  Washington killed the penalty.

Fedotenko took a wicked-spin shot which was slapped away by Neuvirth.  The Rangers came in again and crashed the net with 1:20 left to go in regulation time.  The Rangers kept pressure on Washington getting a few more shots on Neuvirth.

Regulation time would end with the teams tied at one goal apiece.

SHOTS ON GOAL ~ Washington 23;  New York 19

Anisimov and Gaborik got stopped by Neuvirth to christen the overtime period.  Off a neutral zone turnover, Gilroy launched another shot Neuvirth's way.

Washington missed a big chance set up by Backstrom and Ovechkin.  Henrik made a left pad safe off a later shot and Girardi blocked yet another Washington shot.

Neuvirth came out to shove Dubinsky who was camped out in the crease and harassing the rookie goalie.

Anisimov centered a pass but no one was home.  The puck went the other way and Henrik made an outstanding glove save.

Brandon Prust thought he beat the Capitals to a puck to negate icing, but the Stripes didn't see it that way.  The Caps and Rangers traded possessions when icing was called against the Caps.

Semin caused some trouble in the Ranger zone but the Rangers cleared.  A Prospal shot went on goal.  Then they traded possessions a couple of more times.

Anisimov gave the puck away in the Rangers zone but turned out not being costly. 

They began the second half of the overtime period at 10:34pm.  More back and forth ensued.  A Lundqvist save finally stopped action and out came the ice crews to work the surface at the midway point of the period.

A Washington shot went wide of Lundqvist.  Then another shot by Ovechkin was stopped cold by Henrik.  And then..., another.

Neuvirth stopped a good chance by Prospal off a loose puck with 6:30 left.

A scrum of five bodies drew a whistle from the Stripes.  Bradley (WSH) and Boyle exchanged pleasantries and shoves.  Then another whistled nailed Washington on a hand-pass.

The Rangers blocked a shot in front of Henrik.  Henrik helped his own cause with another save.

At the other end, the Rangers lost an offensive possession.  Later with four minutes left, things got a little hectic around Lundqvist, but the Rangers managed to get out of the zone.  A whistle at 3:17 went against Washington for a deflected puck that left the ice.  A slap-shot by McDonagh was caught by a stretched out Neuvirth.

Henrik stopped a shot with 2:30 left in the first overtime.  Then Boyle had a hard time recovering from a blocked shot.  That hurt!

The Rangers got stuck in their own zone and with less than two minutes remaining,  Jason Arnott set up Alexander Semin for a shot that beat Henrik Lundqvist for the game winning goal giving Washington victory and the series lead.

The Washington Capitals were just a little more dominant offensively than the Rangers.  Henrik Lundqvist made some pretty ridiculous goals trying to keep the Rangers in the game.  The Rangers had breaks going their way as the Capitals hit the cross-bars three times.  The Washington attack was just more sustained, where as the Rangers' was more sporadic.


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