Friday, May 10, 2013

N.Y. Rangers: Henrik's Turn To Steal Game Five


2012 - 2013
Stanley Cup Playoffs - Quarter Final Round
I - WAS 3; NYR 1
II - WAS 1; NYR 0*
III - NYR 4; WAS 3
IV - NYR 4; WAS 3
Washington Capitals
A Place Named After The Phone Company
Washington D.C.
NEW YORK RANGERS - The King of the Blueshirts Returns to Nation's Capital.

The 4-3 final score of Game Four didn't tell the whole story.  The Blueshirts defense was very good.  Without the services of Marc Staal again, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh and John Moore all played excellent games, once again holding Alex Ovechkin to no goals.  Overall bad play from Michael Del Zotto however, and a pair of soft goals allowed by Lundqvist almost conspired against the Rangers.

Otherwise, mission accomplished.  It was important for the Rangers to deflate some of Braden Holtby's confidence these last two games at the Garden.  In the first period when Holtby foolishly came way out of his crease to play a puck, and was forced to scramble back, he slid right past the goal mouth like Wile E. Coyote in Ice Capades.  Unsettled goalies do dumb things like that.  He then was helpless to stop Carl Hagelin's booming second period slap shot from the left circle.  Holtby allowed a PP goal to Dan Girardi inside the opening minute of the third period.  And before the final buzzer, the Blueshirts punctuated Holtby's night with some tic-tac-toe passing around the crease on Derek Stepan's goal.  That is as wide and varied an attack you'd want to confront a goalie with.  Holtby was way too comfortable during the first two games in Washington.  Eight goals and two games later, we now have ourselves a series.

Except for the last ten minutes of the second period, the Rangers played a rather complete game.  Brian Boyle was brilliant on the face off.  The Rangers won 34 face-offs versus 19 for Washington.  They also laid the body all night long - 38 hits to 20 for the Caps.  They kept penalties limited to two, and created quality shots in open ice.  Three or four times, the Rangers made good passes from the dots into the slot - See Matt Zuccarello.

And now, with Braden Holtby on the ropes, perhaps it's time Henrik Lundqvist steals a game for us on the road.  He can't be that snake-bitten, can he?  There is no arguing Henrik has allowed several soft goals this series.  Tonight, the Blueshirts need their Liege.


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