Wednesday, April 30, 2014

N.Y. Rangers: With Nash In A Funk, Game Seven Needs A Hero


Philadelphia Flyers
New York Rangers

NEW YORK RANGERS: The Smallest Players Continue Playing A Big Role, While Rick Nash And His Size Remain In Obscurity.

Wayne Simmonds Played Big When His Team Was Faced With Elimination.
Now Rick Nash Must Do The Same For The Rangers.

The Rangers generated more shots - as many as they did in the first two games, and won more face-offs than Philly, which is something they've struggled to do this series.  Unfortunately, the Steve Mason they faced in Game Four showed up, and not the Mason the Rangers faced on Sunday.

That might work out well for the Rangers heading into Game Seven.  Steve Mason does not play particularly well in Madison Square Garden.  The Steve Mason the Rangers played on Tuesday and in Game Four has proven to be a far more formidable net minder when on home ice.

Other than that, things went horribly wrong in Philadelphia.

Whether Dan Carcillo should have played in Game Six is a non issue - not after a game like Tuesday's, because once again, the 4th line was the Rangers best line.  So, there's no use haranguing the issue.  But, in Game Seven Coach Vigneault might have to insert his energy, and grit into the line-up.  No one else on this team throws his body around like he does.

Let's face it, the final score of Game Six read 5-2, but that was effectively a whitewash, because the Rangers main player continues to get shut out.

Jakub Voracek carried the Flyers early in the series, and now (with a hat trick in Game Six, and 4 goals in the series) Wayne Simmonds is taking charge.  For the Blueshirts, I guess you can say Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis took early charge of the Rangers, however, Rick Nash remains mired in obscurity.

How is it that the Rangers smallest guy, Mats Zuccarello is the Rangers best player?  He got knocked around like a pinball in Game Six, but still scored a goal, and has authored some nice passes as well.  Martin St. Louis, Carl Hagelin, and MatsZucs should not be playing a more physical game than Rick Nash, who seemingly refuses to utilize his size.

All I hear out of Columbus is thank goodness Rick Nash is gone, and that they love Brandon Dubinsky. And, just to throw it out there, Brandon Prust is headed into the second round.

Let's just hope Coach Vigneault's power play wakes up tonight.  The Rangers will no doubt get opportunities.  But, the Flyers have been playing smarter of late, and are committing less penalties.  So, the need for the Rangers to capitalize on their dwindling chances this evening is paramount.  It also would not hurt if Coach Vigneault readjusts to Philly's adjustments.  The Flyers have taken control of the chess game. The next move is Vigneault's.

Clearly, the universal way of dealing with a Game Six loss is to let it go, and act like it never happened.  Life is now a one game matter now, which boils down to 60 minutes and intestinal fortitude.  It's gut check time. Let's see who shows up tonight, and who doesn't.


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