STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS - 2012 - QUARTER FINAL ROUND
Series Tied 3-3
I - NYR 4; OTT 2
II - OTT 3; NYR 2
III - NYR 1; OTT 0
IV - OTT 3; NYR 2
V - OTT 2; NYR 0
VI - NYR 3; OTT 2
NEW YORK RANGERS
NEW YORK RANGERS: In Game Six, the Blueshirts Showed Their Way Still Works Just Fine.
Thank you Brandon Prust. Someone needed to finally take-on Chris Neil. And it was long overdue. I thought Mike Rupp would have been the one to drop gloves with that degenerate; as, in the grand scheme of things, Rupp is the more expendable forward. But Rupp never even tried. So all hail Prust for doing what needed to be done.
Game Six was the exact type game Ottawa played against us in Game Two. In each case, and for both teams, that kind of effort made all the difference. Ottawa was able to parlay Game Two into another pair of wins. The Rangers are now in a position to parlay Game Six into a home-ice, Game Seven series clincher at Madison Square Garden.
There may be more men in these boys than we might have given them credit for. Game Six was a prime game to lose. Monday would have been the right way to crash and burn. Instead, the Blueshirts came back with a strong, convincing, game in which they imposed Ranger Hockey upon Ottawa on their ice. It was not the clinging to 1-0 lead late in the game affair that are as predictable as a coin flip. In Game Six, they faced elimination and rose to the challenge. That's very telling. The Rangers showed their way still works just fine.
Similar to the manner Henrik Lundqvist related his disgust after Game Six to the Media, I think most Rangers; and why not - Ottawa fans too; are fed up with the Stripes. I'm still wanting to know who Mike Rupp's first period roughing penalty was against. He basically earned a trip to the box for roughing a mirage. With thirteen minutes left in the first period, the Sens capitalized during the ensuing power play with a (who else) Chris Neil goal, putting Ottawa ahead by one. That Chris Neil was even on the ice to begin with was a slap in the face by the NHL and Brendan Shanahan.
And another thing - Henrik never saw that power play shot coming. But we on TV saw that goal coming from a mile away. Ottawa had TWO skaters camped right in front of Henrik, without so much as a tap, a push, or an "excuse me" from a Blueshirt player. Whether on the penalty kill, or at even-strength, the Rangers need to do a substantially better job of clearing out all that traffic in front of Henrik in Game Seven. In that regard, Marc Staal needs to have a renaissance game and throw his body around a little more.
For their part, the Rangers were two of seven on the power play. Two goals are better than no goals. In the playoffs, we all know PP scoring is paramount. How Boston won a Cup without scoring a power play goal last season is beyond me. But in Game Seven, the Rangers must make Ottawa pay for mistakes. The Blueshirts most definitely need at least a goal, if not a pair, from their special teams. If the Rangers just stay ferocious on the body and relentless on the fore check, the Rangers can goad Sens into the box. Once we let them skate around freely, we'll be the ones in the box wasting time. And we can't let them stretch-pass their way out of their defensive zone either.
The Rangers rode a huge second period to victory Monday night. At nearly the nine minute mark, Derek Stepan scored the first of New York's PP goals to tie the game at one. Later in the period, the Rangers discovered the knockout punch they've been searching within themselves for. At 17:08, Brad Richards showed up to have a big moment upon scoring the Rangers' second PP goal of the evening for a 2-1 Rangers' lead. Just before the period ended, the Blueshirt Blue Chip; Chris Kreider: finally broke through and scored his first goal as an NHL player. After being turned away after numerous high quality opportunities, his first goal since joining the Rangers came at the 19:19 mark.
Marc Staal, Michael Del Zotto, Anton Stralman, Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider, and Brad Richards; the younger gents of this team plus one; all either scored or assisted on the Rangers' three second period goals. Absent from the Game Six roll call are Marian Gaborik and Ryan Callahan. In the biggest game for the Rangers to this point in their remarkable season, they'll need their best players to show up and be factors in Game Seven.
The only real matter of the third period in Monday's game was whether Jason Spezza kicked in Ottawa's second goal of the game, or not. The questionable goal came with just thirty seconds left in regulation time. Incredulously, the Toronto offices said the goal, which to me was clearly scored via a distinct kicking motion, counted. With the way the series has been called so far, who can blame Henrik Lundqvist for being so hot as to speak his mind, for him, in an uncharacteristic fashion. Just add that goal to the long list of horrific calls over the course of this series.
The King faced twenty-seven shots Monday and stopped twenty-five. Ottawa ended the game with five more shots-on-goal than the Rangers took against Craig Anderson; who for a change, looked a little more human between the pipes.
Especially after Game Two, the Senators now seem to revel playing in MSG. That must change tonight! With Carkner and Neil around, the Rangers know they'll need eyes in the backs of their heads. Compromised by a concussion or not, who isn't paying attention to Daniel Alfredsson? But the skater that troubles me is Nick Foligno. I want a set of eyes on him at all times. In Game Six, Nick Foligno, Daniel Alfredsson, Erik Karlsson, and Jason Spezza, accounted for fourteen shots on goal. Foligno had four.
For the Rangers, Brad Richards led the Rangers with three shots on goal. Marian Gaborik and Ryan Callahan accounted for two shots each, as did a few others. If I include Derek Stepan - two shots; and Carl Hagelin - two shots; the five together still do not add up to the Senators top four shot takers. So just shoot! And be in front to clean up any loose pucks.
Otherwise, just go out there and play Rangers' Hockey. And believe, for our boys just may have learned how to seize the moment.