Add to Technorati Favorites

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Rangers/Caps Recap 2/11

Tonight the Rangers take on the Capitals who are currently sitting at 2nd place in the Eastern conference. When looking at the Rangers roster, the team should be broken down into 3 tiers.

Tier 1: Players that are getting paid the big bucks to score and defend.
Gomez, Drury, Zherdev, Naslund, Redden, Rozsival, Mara
Tier 2: Role players that need to do the grunt work and the fundamentals.
Dubinsky, Dawes, Korpikoski, Staal, Girardi, Callahan
Tier 3: Don't expect much but are happy with whatever you get. Just hope they don't kill you.
Betts, Orr, Sjostrom, Voros, Reitz

Rangers fans have to be ecstatic about what they see night in and night out from Tier 2. They hustle their butts off, shoot the puck, slash down the middle, crash the net, block shots, and do all of the little things to keep plays alive. These are the types of players that every team loves to have, and unfortunately, when Glenn Sather is answering the phones over the next week, they are the players that will get moved to bring in better talent. Due to the small amount of cap space and the inability to move most from Tier 1 because of their enormous contracts, Sather will in all likelihood have to trade multiple 2 tier guys, and when this happens, Rangers fans will be depressed. Clearly the blame of the season must be put onto the Tier 1 guys for not producing. With that said, onto the game.

1st Period

Nothing like 2 fights within the first three minutes to get both the crowd and the Rangers into the game. Poor job by Washington. They must know that the Rangers are down trodden and two fights would only give them and the home crowd a boost.

7:00 in Ryan Callahan takes a Lauri Korpikoski pass, shoots, and squeaks one just past Jose to take the lead 1-0. The Rangers are a team that play exponentially better with a lead rather than behind. Granted, this is a statement that can be made for most teams, but it especially rings true for the Rangers. They have a trouble coming from behind more than most. This opening goal bodes well.

Four minutes later and Fleischmann ties it up. I blame the Rangers front line for this. They never got back to back check and help out the defense allowing cross ice passing and gave Fleischmann time to put one home. Lack luster effort gave the Caps a tied score at 1-1.

Two minutes to go in the period and the Caps take the lead off of an Eric Fehr goal. Nothing irritates me more than allowing a goal in the first two or last two minutes of the period. In the first two, minutes, a goal sets the tone for the period and establishes some negative momentum. In the last two minutes, it deflates a team heading into the locker room and makes the team stew over it all throughout the intermission. The Rangers give up way too many goals in those last two minutes of the period. The Garden is deflated. 2-1 Caps

2nd Period

Nine minutes go by with relatively little action until Lauri Korpikoski lights the lamp off of a feed from Callahan. Korpikoski uses the fundamentals here and crashes the net when Callahan threw the puck on it. Great fundamental goal. Game tied at 2-2.

Washington answer right back. Note to all NHL teams... you cannot allow Mike Green and his howitzer to walk into the slot with no pressure, you will be fishing the puck out of the back of the net. Green ties the NHL record of 7 straight games with a goal for a defenseman tonight tying the 25 year old record of Mark McConnell and passing the likes of a few guys named Orr and Bourque. Great look by Ovechkin across ice. No idea where the Rangers defense was but noone was on the right side of the ice. Green goes top shelf and realistically, Hank had no chance. 3-2 Caps.

One minute goes by and the Rangers answer back to tie it up at 3-3. Dawes hits Naslund streaking and Naslund does a great job of getting his stick down on the ice to deflect it in while crashing into the net. Amazing play all around. This never happens. The Rangers never fight back. They get hit in the mouth and run home to mommy. They are simply not a comeback team. Can this be the turnaround we have all been hoping for?

Paul Mara does his best Mike Green impression and blasts on from the left point, through a screen (more fundamentals?) and over Theodores left shoulder. I am in complete shock. He gets the shot on net maybe 30% of the time. This actually looked like he knew what he was doing. Rangers take the 4-3 lead and it looks like the slump is being busted.

ONE MINUTE TO GO IN THE PERIOD AND WE FREAKING DO IT AGAIN. Mike Green takes a slap shot, which basically looks like a replay of his first goal. Once again Hank has little to no chance and the defense is nowhere to be found. Rangers increase their league lead in depressing intermissions.

3rd Period

3:00 in and Tom Poti returns to Broadway with a little acting job of his own, taking a dive and giving the Rangers a PP. Someone must have forwarded my suggestions article onto the Rangers because they have unleashed 5 shots, 3 reaching Theodore. No goal but a good effort.

6:00 in and Paul Mara gets into the head of Ovechkin. Ovechkin retaliates to some pushing with a cross check and Rangers right back on the PP. Rangers have trouble gaining the zone and a couple bad passes lead to a relatively easy kill. Rangers now 1-20 over the last 7 games with the man advantage.

9:00 in and Mike Green shows off his hand eye coordination by batting a puck out of mid air. Unfortunately for the Caps, he did this in his own end and sent the puck into the stands for a delay of game penalty. Three power plays thus far this period. The nice thing here is that the entire period thus far has been played in the Caps end. The bad aspect is that the more scoreless power plays, the more restless the crowd is getting.

10:00 in and Naslund gets whacked in the face with a high stick. The Rangers waste 30 seconds putzing around instead of driving to the net and forcing the Caps to touch up. Now instead of a minute with the 5 on 3, its only 30 seconds. Luckily, Naslund is bleeding and the Rangers get 4:00. Here is the defining 4:00 of the game.

Roszival gets the puck about 20 feet out in the middle with a screen in front of Jose. Decides not to shoot. GET HIM OFF THE PP! The crowd starts the "Shoot the Puck!" chant. 8:00 of power play tick away, nothing to show for it, Washington has the clear momentum advantage. Also because Ovechkin hasn't been on the ice in the last 6 minutes, he is fully rested and clearly has an extra burst compared to everyone else on the ice. For a game that witnessed 8 goals in the first 40 minutes, this 3rd period has slowed greatly. Both teams look as if they are playing for the 1 guaranteed point.


Ovechkin has given out 13 hits thus far in the game. The Rangers defenders are basically bouncing off of him. All of that rest in the 3rd is showing in OT because he is absolutely blowing by Rangers defensemen. If it wasn't for a nice Mark Staal play, Alex would've coasted into the slot untouched and the game would've been over.

Hank makes the save of the game as Brooks Laich threads a needle to Eric Fehr. Fehr dekes and takes a wrister that King Henrik kicks aside. We are heading to a shootout. Rangers this season in shootouts 8-3; Caps 2-2.

Rangers Shooters: Naslund, Dawes, Zherdev
Caps Shooters: Nylander (revenge anyone?) Ovechkin, Federov

Naslund: Naslund out dekes himself and falls off balance, and tries to stuff it in with the backhand. Great patience by Theodore
Nylander: 12 seconds and 38 dekes later, Nylander gets to the net. Hank stonewalls him on the forehand
Dawes: GOAL: Dawes dips the shoulder and freezes Jose, snaps one low glove side just over the mitt
Federov: Winds up, fires a rocket, and Hank saves it with the glove
Zherdev: Tries to go 5 hole as he always does. Jose must have read the scouting report and was ready for it.
Ovechkin: GOAL: Do or die, wicked wrister 5 hole
Callahan: GOAL: Callahan banks one off the crossbar, off of Theodore's back, puck drops to the ice, Jose backs up and kicks it into his own net. Luckiest goal ever but we'll take it.
Laich: Starts forehand, goes quickly to the backhand. HANK KICK SAVE. If Laich gets it up we go to round 5, but he doesn't.

Solid game for the Rangers, any time your team puts up 4+ goals it's a solid offensive game. Much needed 2 points in the standings and a confidence booster over a top team in the conference.

1 comment:

Mike said...

My name is Mike and I run Just curious if you would like to swap links.

Let me know in a quick comment on my site or email me: nhlsnipers at gmail.

If so, send me the link you want listed.