Saturday, May 04, 2013

N.Y. Rangers Fall In Overtime; Coach Plays Power Play Blame Game


Rangers   0
Capitals   1
Capitals Lead Series 2-0

NEW YORK RANGERS - Even I Can Not Let Coach Pass The Blame Regarding His Power Play Unit.  The PP Futility Has His Name Written All Over It.

The numbers do not exactly inspire me to run out and play the lottery.  In fact, they suck.  In Game Two, the Washington Capitals overwhelmingly out-shot the Rangers by a 38-24 margin.  The Caps were additionally 1 for 2 on the power play, which happened to include the game winning goal in overtime.  For all sixty-eight minutes of Game Two, the Rangers failed to score a goal against Braden Holtby, to include three power play opportunities.  Nor did the Rangers have any shots on goal during overtime, while the Caps had eight.  Rick Nash and Brad Richards combined to take seven shots on net.  New Blueshirts forwards Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, Darroll Powe, and Taylor Pyatt all combined for another four scattered shots on goal.  Newbie defenseman John Moore added one shot too.  That's twelve shots by the previously mentioned players.  Washington on the other hand was served by Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson who both posted seven shots on goal each.  And the biggest number of them all - the Rangers have scored one goal in the last 128 minutes of playoff hockey.

Even a hockey Captain can not lead if he does not have and army of skaters behind him.  Outside of the blue liners, Ryan Callahan logged in the most overall ice time for the Rangers.  He also led the team with five shots on net, and a team high eight hits.  So where does that leave a king?  Or rather, what more does Henrik Lundqvist have to do?  Score a hat trick?  Instigate a fight?  Clear his own crease?  Go down ice and take out Braden Holtby himself?  Because for the second consecutive playoff series against the Blueshirts, the Caps goalie is putting on a clinic.  Holtby has now recorded his first career playoff shutout, and has stopped fifty-nine of sixty Rangers shots on net.  Meanwhile, I believe the game winning goal deflected slightly off Derek Stepan - Henrik never had a chance against an otherwise straight forward slap shot from the slot.  He'll still receive crap even though he stopped every shot in regulation, and eleven more in overtime.  That's why this game was ultimately destined to incur misguided blame - see below.

Life under John Tortorella has evolved into a one mistake affair - don't make one.  It is no secret that a single mistake is all it takes to ruin a whole night's worth of grunt work.  Washington's PP goal  eight minutes into overtime was just the latest example of that.  Tex's Rangers took it on the chin because of a delay of game penalty against Ryan McDonagh.  Too many mistakes doomed the Blueshirts in Game One, and one huge gaffe ruined them in Game Two.  That delay penalty was like taking a too many men on the ice penalty to start Game One - Ponderous!  I empathize with Coach Torts to a point.  These aren't infractions committed by brutish players behaving badly.  Instead, these are mind numbingly stupid penalties.  For a team that probably couldn't even score in a woman's prison with cartons of cigarettes in hand, and for a team that has less goals than Paris Hilton, mistakes are far more destructive to the Rangers than they should be.

"We're just too stagnant," New York coach John Tortorella said. "We're almost paralyzed." - ESPN
That came in response to a question regarding being 0 for 7 on the power play after two games.  While Coach's assessment may be true to a certain extent, there is only so much he can pass off on the players.  Rangers fans, including myself are familiar with the unit under Torts, so there is no blowing smoke up our posteriors.  Even staunch Coach Torts disciples like myself will admit the problem comes partly from a lack of originality on Tortorella's part.  The fact that numerous players have been in and out of his system over the years, and the results remain the same point towards the coach.  He has been the constant variable in a consistently horrific power play.


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