Tuesday, April 17, 2012

N.Y. Rangers ~ The Life of Brian


NEW YORK RANGERS:  King Henrik Reigns Over Ottawa.

New York Rangers   1
Ottawa Senators       0

I - Rangers 4; Senators 2
II - Senators 3; Rangers 2

Rangers lead series 2-1

Chris Kreider made his NHL and Rangers debut Monday night in Ottawa.  The Rangers' blue chip is just the latest kid to come through the Blueshirts' door and seamlessly fit right in; just like the guy he replaced; Carl Hagelin; did after the start of the regular season.  He played things by the book; committing no mistakes.  And he almost scored a goal for his efforts while playing on the first line with Marian Gaborick and Brad Richards.

In Game Three of this playoff series, the kid witnessed up close and first hand, what NHL brilliance looks like.  In a word, Henrik Lundqvist was - Great.  He made thirty-nine saves and allowed no goals.  After the game, Henrik said he was still upset over letting Game Two get away from them. Meanwhile, spent the better part of Monday night taking out his frustrations on the Senators, and had a few choice words for the Stripes the more Ottawa bumped him as well.  Most of Henrik's saves were of the incredible variety.  And too many came in the game's final two minutes from point-blank range.  But Henrik stopped them all.  He carried his team with only one goal scored on the night.

That goal came from Brian Boyle.  He did it again!  The marked man with a bulls eye on the back of his jersey scored his third goal of the series with twelve minutes to go in the third period of an intense Game Three.  He didn't just score the winning goal and play another supurlative game.  He's having the series of a lifetime.  Just prior to scoring, at 7:07 the Sens went on the power play after a Callahan trip.  Boyle intercepted a puck in the Rangers' zone and chugged up ice where got slashed on a short-handed opportunity that negated Ottawa's power play.  That's the kind of night Boyle had.  As a matter of fact, the Fedotenko-Boyle-Prust Line was stellar all night long.  And the King made their effort stand up.

The last two minutes of the game were absolutely frantic however.  At the 2:00 mark, the Sens headed up ice.  But the Rangers forced a turnover in the neutral zone and dumped the puck back in Ottawa's end.  Brad Richards wound up clanking one off the crossbar.

Then, the other end of the ice turned into a heart attack in waiting.  Henrik stopped a pair of shots that get by any other goalie in the League.  What a pair of saves!  Then with their inability to clear the puck from the zone, Henrik made another save; and another; and another.  Finally, with twenty-four seconds to go, Dubinsky made the last clear.

The Rangers win Game Three 1-0 behind a shut-out performance from their goalie, and from a forward who is arguably the Rangers' best player right now; Brian Boyle.  It's his world right now.  We are merely along for the ride.

With this win, and for the moment at least, the Rangers have re-established their home ice advantage again and lead the series two games to one.

The Senators' Craig Anderson was equally magnificent minding Ottawa's net.  He stopped the Rangers cold on a number of occasions.  Like when with 4:55 left in the game, he made a brilliant save on a Callahan breakaway.  In the game, the Rangers had many quality chances the Ottawa goalie turned us away on.

The Rangers recommitted themselves to their defense Monday night.  They regrouped and regained their composure after getting knocked off track last Saturday.  If you take a look at Pittsburgh, who are now down 3-0 to the Flyers, they are presently the poster child for losing composure.

Just keep playing Blueshirt Hockey boys!


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