The warriors sat in their respective locker room listening to the platoons of fans cheering the Rangers on from the battle field. The pieces were all set in place. The Rangers were up 2-0 in the series, they had defeated the opposition twice away from home, and now they were coming home to fight in front of their home crowd. The Capitals had an unproven rookie in net, their players should have been tired, the Rangers smelled blood, and their fans smelled blood.
But akin to playoff hockey, it didn’t end the way anyone thought; in fact it went probably the exact opposite. The Capitals were outworked for the first two minutes of the game before pushing the Ranger attack back and starting to swing momentum their way. And they never looked back.
Alexander Semin opened the scoring by lasering one home from the right circle giving the Capitals the 1-0 lead. But the backbreaker was Ryan Callahan hitting the post on a wide open net and then Semin scoring his second of the night on the ensuing rush. After that the Rangers started to get jumpy, and they started missing shots, making stupid passes, and for the second game in a row they didn’t test the unproven goalie.
Then in the second period the Rangers started shooting themselves in the foot by taking penalties, the guy with the biggest gun and the biggest foot being Sean Avery. The Rangers took six separate penalties in the second period, six! That’s 12 minutes of penalty kill time in the 20 minutes period. The Capitals would end up scoring on a Chris Drury hooking call but by that time Avery had already taken two of his 3 penalties which took any momentum the Ranger had away. He took a stupid penalty in the second punching Scott Erskine in the face after a late hit. Then he spent two in the box for high sticking before taking a goaltender interference call. This all happened in the 2nd period, but Avery wasn't done, taking another penalty in the 3rd for punching Simeon Varlamov in the face.
By the start of the third you could tell the Rangers didn’t care, and they ended up loosing 4-0; with Tom Poti scoring the last goal. Yes, that Tom Poti … excuse me while I puke!
Regardless it’s time we talk about a big problem, the power play. After a 2 for 4 start in game 1 the Rangers have gone 0 for. What’s even worse is that now Varlamov has all the confidence in the world and wont be easy to rattle. Plus now Ovechkin must think that he is a world killer, by spanking the Rangers on home ice in a must win game.
As for the Rangers themselves some of them better wake up. Zherdev has been useless this post season, and he needs to consider whatever games the Rangers have left his audition for a spot on the roster next season. Sean Avery has to learn where the line is and then not cross it. I mean let's be honest it wouldn’t be the craziest argument to blame this game on him since his penalties took away momentum. The defense needs to learn how to shot around people. If someone dives stick handle around them and shoot the puck, don’t shoot it right into them. And the defense better learn how to play it again, because on the first three Capital goals the goal scorers didn’t have anyone within three feet of them. It was inexcusable.
The sickening part? Callahan came about an inch away from tying the game before the Capitals took control. Even worse? Lundqvist play an unbelievable game yet again, and will get the loss … yet again. This game looked more like a game from the Tom Renney era rather than the Tortorella era.
As I said to everyone who would listen Tortorella better crack some skulls in that locker room because these guys looked unmotivated. I cannot believe they would come out flat and waste that Garden crowd. I was there and the place was going ABSOLUTELY NUTS at 6:15. And by the time the national anthem was being sung you couldn’t hear yourself think.
The Rangers just have to have short term memory and forget about this one. The sky isn’t falling just yet, you would still rather be up 2-1 than down 2-1. A win at the Garden would send the series back to Washington 3-1, and the Rangers would retain control of the series. If they lose? It’s a whole new ballgame. You know I don’t mind loosing, but I do mind losing like that. Let’s just hope they wake up and play like they are playing for something.
Also a quick thank you to all of you who participated in the live thread, please keep coming. If you haven’t you should give it a try, we have one every game.