Backs Against the Wall
Lightning Lead Series 3-2
I - NYR 2; TBL 1
II - TBL 6; NYR 2
III - TBL 6; NYR 5
IV - NYR 5; TBL 1
V - TBL 2; NYR 0
New York Rangers
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Century Village Ice House
I thought we established there was no use in playing the same style as Tampa?
The Blueshirts have the superior goalie, but, they generally can't out-skate the Bolts, and they can't afford to get into a shoot-out against the Bolts. And for one game at least, Tampa also played superior defense - the Rangers forte.
Yes, much to their discredit, all the Rangers have accomplished this year is win more regular season games than any other NHL team, except that none came against Tampa.
I - TBL 5; NYR 1
II - TBL 4; NYR 3
III - TBL 6; NYR 3
FINAL - TBL 15; NYR7
In a clear departure from their regular season selves, and fresh off a tough series against Washington, the Rangers finally emerged victorious over Tampa in Game One of this series because they played big boy hockey.
Games Two and Three, however, reiterated the Rangers were coming up a goal and a game short by sticking with their preferred style, which is also Tampa's style. The head-to-head match-ups say it all. The Rangers consistently got beat when they employed Alain Vigneault's preferred system.
Game Five now makes it three times this series they've reverted back to Blueshirts Light, and twice that they've lost home ice advantage in their building. As a result, they must now win on the road to force a Game Seven, or, turn in their skates and sticks for flip-flops and BBQ tongs.
Nothing changes; everything I wanted to say is here:
The Rangers are in this position not for a lack of execution; not because of failed face-offs; not because of a failed power play; and not because of an obvious failure to score any goals in Game Five....
The Rangers took 26 shots on goal to the Bolts 22 shots, and posted a 10-7 advantage in the final period. Technically speaking, opportunities presented themselves. However, that's different that say, forcing the action, establishing position in front, stamping out roaches along the boards, or creating turnovers and opportunities off the forecheck.
Tex's Rangers are in this predicament because of an ill-conceived, or ill-advised, and utterly ponderous change in tactics.
In truth, Ben Bishop is being lauded as a hero for shutting out the Rangers in Game Five partly because of Tampa's blocked shots, but particularly because the Rangers all-star game like sense of urgency provided Bishop with a relatively easy night. The Rangers settled for shots Bishop had no problem seeing, and stopping. In turn, Bishop stopped shots the Rangers had no business taking. It was as if they were in practice against Henrik.
Where was the traffic in front? Where were the disruptive bodies? Why weren't a few select forwards crashing the net? Where was the freakin' bull in a china shop? That goes for the power play as well as even strength.
Bishop probably didn't even need a shower after the game.
The Rangers are in this dilemma because the several players whom can step-up this team's overall physicality chose do so only sporadically, if at all, or are restrained for sake of Coach's preferred style of play.
That's frustrating considering we know the Rangers have the grit and grinding spirit within them to break down speedy play through physicality.
The Rangers pulled the same now you fear me, now you don't routine in games Three and Four against Pittsburgh. and again after games Two and Five against the Capitals. Three times is now a trend. When things get hot, they muster an effectively physical and smartly played game only to follow up next time on the ice with another deflating ice-capades Smurf gaggle. They're sometimes guilty from period to period as well.
What the Rangers needed was physical consistency out of Rick Nash, Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes, and a few others, but what they got instead was a stubborn reboot of the kid friendly standard operating system.
I thought the physicality that defeated Tampa in both games One and Four was understood to be the best way to slow the Lightning down and achieve victory?
What happened to that? I was working so well.
Why did the Rangers go away from what worked......, again?
I feel like Charlie Brown when Lucy pulls away the football.