There is a saying in football “prevent defense prevents you from winning.” Every time the Rangers have gotten a lead in this series they have gone into prevent defense. Prevent is meant for the last 30 seconds of a game where a hail mary is needed. It’s NOT meant to be played for 50 minutes of a game after you go up 2-0.
Where are the punishing hits, aside for a 3-game elbow and Staal on Spezza? Where is the finish on a check? Where is the fore check? Why is the defense not standing up on the blue line? The Rangers are being out hit 148 to 129 for the series.
I can’t tell you how many times I saw Ottawa skate a puck in with a Ranger forward to their inside and a defensemen backing up. It’s the forwards responsibility to squeeze the puck carrier toward the boards and protect against the pass to the middle, but the defenseman should lay the guy out at the blue line. That’s called a trap. That, for some reason, is how they’ve been playing, but the Defense has to stand up.
I realize their trying to play “smart” hockey, but they have tendency’s that EVERYONE KNOWS. Throw the puck back behind our own net so Chris Neil can pick it off. Throw it around the boards this way or that, but there isn’t anyone cutting the middle because the other two forwards are behind the net and positionally cut off by the defensive player. Boyle has scored 2 goals from the mid to high slot. Stralman has scored two PP goals from the mid-slot. Everyone on the rangers tends to stand and wait for their teammate to move the puck instead of moving without the puck. SKATE!
And not to blame the refs because the Rangers should have done more to win both games 2 & 4, but as I said in a previous post, their lack of a double-minor high stick call lead directly to a goal against. Say what you want about Staals’ Spezza hit, but Staal decided to stop skating backwards and Spezza’s head skated right into his shoulder. BUT Girardi’s nose didn’t hit that stick, it hit him. The power play is over and the Rangers eventually should have been on another PP, but there should never have been a point shot on an Ottawa power play after that high stick. Once again the Refs failed at doing their jobs, especially after they started off calling the game tight.
And now on to the coaching, every time this team goes into it’s defensive shell I would be screaming at my team to play. Where is the accountability? Everyone was comparing Torts to Keenan, but Iron Mike wouldn’t let his team become a bunch of wimps that can’t win a puck battle and is scared to win a game. I also agree with Joe Fortunato in his Game 4 Notes post, the 4th line needs to play a few more shifts, like 4 or 5 per period. The top 3 lines are getting noticeably winded, and their battle level dwindles down the stretch. Dare I say … Torts is being out coached right now?
Oh and here are some disturbing stats. I totaled all the shots by each team in each game and added them to the shots blocked by the opposing team. It appears that Ottawa is controlling the play around 60% of the time. This is an unsustainable pattern.
|Opp Team Blocked Shots||19||12|
|Total Shots + BS||51||43|
|Opp Team Blocked Shots||25||10|
|Total Shots + BS||57||39|
|Opp Team Blocked Shots||19||17|
|Total Shots + BS||58||40|
|Opp Team Blocked Shots||30||8|
|Total Shots + BS||61||41|
|% of Shot Attempts||58.2%||41.8%|
Do you share my feelings? Am I wrong? What are your thoughts?