WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 05: Artem Anisimov #42 of the New York Rangers celebrates with Ryan Callahan #24 and Brian Boyle #22 after scoring in the second period against the Washington Capitals in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Verizon Center on May 5, 2012 in Washington City. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
- Sorry for the late start, guys, but let's get things kicking now.
- I'm going to start with the officiating in the third period and then leave it alone for the rest of the article. The officiating so far in the playoffs, in every series, has been atrocious. Saturday night, the officials blew four calls in the final seven minutes, and each one hurt the Rangers. First, there was a no call on Brian Boyle having the stick not only slashed out of his hand, but slashed so violently that the stick broke. Then, Carl Hagelin "slashes" a stick (which was dropped) and he gets called for it. That's followed by Ryan Callahan getting blatantly tripped while trying to clear the puck, which directly results to Mike Green getting off that shot for a 3-2 lead. Oh year, the officials also missed Mike Knuble batting the puck over the glass with three minutes left in the third. It's not bias officiating, mind you, it's just bad officiating. And on Saturday it cost the Rangers Game 4.
- With that being said, I don't think the officiating is going to have over the Rangers for Game 5. There seemed to be a unanimous feeling in the locker room -- based on all the "no comments" on questions about the officiating -- that this was just one to forget and that they needed to move on. And I think they will. This team has handled adversity well all playoffs, and the antics in Game 4 should just fire them up for the Garden on Monday.
- Also, give credit to the Capitals. They got the job done when they needed to. As bad as the officiating was, they can't put the puck into the net for Washington.
Join me after the jump for more.
- Speaking of Ovechkin, another questionable hit from a player who can't seem to get enough out of crossing the line and not getting punished for it. I love the "incidental contact" Ovechkin and his coach threw at the media after the game. So Ovechin "incidentally" left his feet to target Dan Girardi's head? You know how this goes, guys. The NHL will take a look at this hit and not do a thing about it. I would be shocked if Ovechkin even gets fined. He is a superstar, and he can do what he wants. If Dan Girardi had hit Ovechkin like that would there be any supplemental discipline? Probably.
- Chris Kreider had a rough game, and John Tortorella took away some ice time because of it. He was directly responsible for Ovechkin's goal and just looked a little off. These things happen. He'll bounce back in Game 5.
- The usual suspects were good for the Rangers again, and the typical problems were bad. The power play was awful, which didn't allow the Rangers to take control of a game that they easily could have taken. Still, give Artem Anisimov and Marian Gaborik a ton of credit for grinding all game and scoring both goals. Anisimov, specifically, had a great game, especially after getting reamed out on the bench early by Tortorella.
- Again, no reason to panic. I thought the Rangers played a horrible first period, but controlled enough of the play to win the hockey game. This becomes a three-game series, with two of those games at Madison Square Garden. You should be feeling confident.