Rangers Vs. Capitals: Game One Notes

Greg Fiume

Notes from the Rangers loss to the Capitals.

- So it sucks to lose the first game of the playoffs. It sucks even more when it happens to a team you hate. But the reality of the situation is this: The New York Rangers didn't play a bad game, got unlucky, missed some glorious chances, questionable calls from the officials, watched Henrik Lundqvist let in two soft goals and couldn't find the back of the net. It happens. I wouldn't be upset if the Rangers played like that again in Game Two -- minus the first seven minutes, of course.

- Here's my turning points of the game: Carl Hagelin not scoring on his shorthanded breakaway, the Rangers not converting on the 5-on-3 (sick of hearing that yet?) and other assorted power plays and Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi falling asleep to allow the second Capitals goal.

- Speaking of turning points. I don't doubt that the officials turned the game with a few terrible calls (the Aaron Asham penalty where Alex Ovechkin finally scored comes to mind) but the Rangers did have their own power play chances they failed to convert on. The power play didn't look terrible, but it obviously didn't get the job done, either.

- Hagelin scored the Rangers only goal and aside from missing on the breakaway he also ended up hitting the crossbar late in the third. He played well, though. Just two glorious chances missed.

- If we're really going to look at missed chances, the Rangers missed the net far too often in this game. Three on the 5-on-3, many more from the slot. Mats Zuccarello was the victim of a slew of those. It's a fixable problem, but a problem.

- Lundqvist was great aside from a horrible 46 seconds. There was also a missed call before the Capitals third goal. It happens. Lundqvist will be better Saturday.

- Zuccarello played well but missed the net twice on the 5-on-3 (both right in the slot) and then again on another glorious chance in the high slot. He needs to hit the net.

- I though Rick Nash was good. He was hungry, had eight shots, forced a couple of nice saves and looked good. He'll be fine.

- Remind me again why Chris Kreider needs to play less than 10 minutes. He was one of the Rangers better forwards in my opinion. The Rangers need his speed.

- I know some of you hate to see things like this but it's true. Puck luck didn't favor the Rangers in the loss. A post, a crossbar, a missed penalty right before the Capitals third goal, John Moore's goal that was absolutely a goal but didn't count (more on this later). Those things impact the game, too. It's tough.

- So that's a goal. Everyone knows it's a goal. Toronto knows it's a goal. The officials know it's a goal. But the call on the ice was no goal -- which is what it is. So in that instance there is no way that ever gets called a goal. I never saw an angle from the camera inside the net -- which I thought would have solved the mystery -- but it didn't shock me that the goal was not a goal. Again, it happens.

- Speaking of Moore, that was his first playoff game. Might have been the best game he's played as a Ranger (which is saying something). He's been legit.

- Ryan Callahan didn't have a great game, neither did Derick Brassard. I thought Derek Stepan was good. Brad Richards was OK.

- Overall, Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh did a good job. But the two of them fell asleep on the Capitals second goal and that turned the game, too. Can't do that, boys, you know better.

- The Rangers will move on from this. In every series where you start on the road the goal is to get one win and come back to the Garden with the series tied 1-1. Obviously winning the first game makes things easier but it is what it is. Even losing the first two games isn't a death sentence when you're on the road. But the Rangers would like to take Saturday's game.

- One last note: The Rangers miss Ryane Clowe and Marc Staal badly. And I know you can't miss something you don't have, but they miss Derek Dorsett a lot, too. And Brian Boyle. All those guys will make this a much more dangerous team. Hopefully they're all very, very close.

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