NEW YORK, NY - MAY 23: Anton Stralman #32 of the New York Rangers and Patrik Elias #26 of the New Jersey Devils fall to the ice in front of the Rangers goal in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 23, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
- Here's the problem I'm running into as I start these notes: I can't criticize the reason the New York Rangers lost Game 5. It was Henrik Lundqvist. Two very soft goals in the first period to put the Rangers into a 3-0 hole which they would eventually match, but not be able to overcome. Here's the thing: Lundqvist was eventually going to have a game like this. All goaltenders do. The sad part is that he was fine from the middle of the first period on. But for a guy who has bailed out the Rangers' offense on countless occasions, it would have been nice for them to bail him out. They didn't.
- The Rangers came dangerously close to making this a 4-3 game. One puck squirts just wide, Chris Kreider rips a shot that's stopped, a few chances get blocked. Then the New Jersey Devils get a break and bang their chance home. Give the Devils credit here, they didn't let themselves get rattled.
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- Want to know something funny? I still think we win this series. This was by far the Rangers most dominating performance of this series, the bounces simply didn't go the Rangers' way. If they come out and play like that in Game 6 I think we'll see a different result. This team has handled adversity better than any other team left in the playoffs, and better than any team that was in the playoffs in the first place. If anyone can do this it's the Rangers.
- More on that point. If you're sitting at your computer right now thinking, "this series is over," then there's no reason for you to hang around other Rangers fans. If this team hasn't proven to you that they can overcome any obstacle, then I don't know what you have been watching.
- Michael Del Zotto was great in spurts and awful in spurts. I'd like to see him just move the puck more in the corner, rather than tryin to hold onto posession.
- The officiating was awful again. I don't really know what else to say at this point. Between periods I tweeted this: "The Devils really do pick on almost every offensive zone draw. Some are remarkably blatant, others more subtle. The key? None are called." I'll leave it at that.
- Really happy with the way Ryan Callahan, Kreider, Carl Hagelin and Artem Anisimov played. Mixed feelings about Marian Gaborik. He skated well, and created chances, but he should have buried his first period opportunity when it was 2-0. He had a wide open net and a sitting puck. He missed the net. Again, bounces.
- I had a problem with Brad Richards all night. Not that he wasn't trying, but the puck simply wasn't bouncing in his direction. Plus he almost scored on his own net. At the end of the day it didn't matter, but still.
- I thought Brandon Dubinsky was good, injected fresh legs and will be awesome in Game 6.