From the desk of:
RAISE GRESCH WITH THE GREATS
...just my periodic reminder.
Capitals lead series 1-0
I - WAS 2; NYR 1
II - Saturday @ MSG
NEW YORK RANGERS
Thursday's Crime Scene
33rd Street at 8th Avenue
NEW YORK RANGERS: The Stripes Have Maintained a No Blood/No Penalty Policy Throughout the NHL Playoffs. Thursday's Non-Call Was Merely a Continuance...
...it's the Rangers who don't seem to be laying any questionable hits.
Hello fellow Rangers fans, Killjoy here again.
On the one hand, I do not like any team coming off a lengthy lay-off. The Caps turned back the Islanders in 7 games, while the Rangers defeated the Pens in 5 games, leaving them with nearly a full week between games. So, it's not a Rangers thing, it's a rust and timing issue for me.
You might say I expected to lose Game One, considering Washington was still on a high, and overly acclimated to being in New York after having played the Islanders for seven games.
On the other hand, Alex Ovechkin was a major factor for his team, while Rick Nash was not for his. If I may, Ovechkin plays like a bull in a China shop. His style is reckless sometimes (less so these days), but his interior destructiveness is prolifically thorough.
Rick Nash meanwhile has been getting pushed aside. He is now inside his 3rd playoff run with the Rangers, and has demonstrated a glaring lack of post-season tenacity. Watching him, you'd think this was game #47 of the regular season.
I been fretting and predicting his disappearance since March.
He's playing like... He doesn't... He's a....
"All Night Long!"
Alex scored two goals in the 1st round. Still glowing hot from round one, he scored the opening goal on Thursday, had numerous good looks, hit a post, played with physicality, and hounded and taunted Lundqvist. At one point, Ovechkin circled the net in order to advise Henrik that he'd be up to his hi-jinx..., All Night Long.
It was only appropriate, I guess, that he fed Joel Ward with a brilliant pass from behind net that led to the game winner with just 0:02 left in regulation.
Here's another of my universal truths - any and all goals surrendered in the last 2:00 minutes of any period, or any game for that matter, are absolute killers. They're morale busters. And the Rangers suffered two.
At 18:13 of the first period, with Washington on the power play, the Rangers allowed Alex Ovechkin a shot from his sweet spot near the left dot, which found net for a 1-0 lead. He's been taking that same shot his whole career, or, that's where he usually takes a hard right angle towards the lane. I think this is common knowledge among hockey minded people by now.
By the way, Alex Ovechkin scored 25 power play goals to lead the NHL this season. It was natural that he'd be the one to score on Thursday. Washington happens to run the NHL's top power play, while the Rangers ranked 6th on the penalty kill. I feel they're going to continue having problems against Washington's power play throughout the series.
Regardless of Saturday's outcome, the Capitals have already arrested home ice away from Madison Square Garden with their Game One road victory. According to an unreliable friend and fan, the Rangers suck in Game Two's. I think I'm better off not researching that claim.
The Rangers were not without their scoring chances though, so give Braden Holtby some credit. He made 31 saves.
Failing to pay attention to details with just seconds left on the clock hopefully will be a lesson learned. You must play smartly, and you must play with intensity for a full 60:00. Game One was proof of the damage a mere seconds-long lapse in judgement, effort, and attention to detail can cause.
As we know, Alain Vigneault laced into the Rangers during the first round. Those of us on the outside weren't privy to anything he said. After Game 1 against the Capitals, however, Vigneault was as outwardly upset (at the presser) as I've seen him since becoming coach of the Rangers. I know he was incensed over the non-boarding call which directly led to a Rangers turnover, and the game winning goal. But I also think he had issues with the way the Rangers played Thursday...., again.