Rangers Vs. Flyers: Well, That Was ... Something

Bruce Bennett

Notes from that. Whatever it was.

- Remember how after Game 5 I talked about there being no style points in hockey and how a win is a win and how sometimes you just need to get that win no matter how it happens? Well, when you lose, sometimes it matters how you lose. And to finish the game like that (first 20 minutes were fantastic, ironically), in a game that important? My word, that's bad.

- That, to me, is on the coaching staff. The Rangers weren't read for the final 40 minutes of this game, and that's on Alain Vigneault and his brass.

- Maybe this is the "I've seen this movie before" horror emotion the Rangers bring out in me yearly, but I would much rather be the Flyers than the Rangers today. Coming off that game, with no rest before jumping right into a Game 7 on the road against a fragile team you just beat the crap out of? Yeah, I wouldn't be too comfortable being the other guys in that scenario.

- That might actually be a good thing for the Rangers, since they do seem to play better with their backs against the wall. But in the end, hockey sometimes comes down to a game of bounces (we'll get to this in a minute). Sometimes they go your way and sometimes they don't. And when a series comes down to a Game 7 and it's a winner take all the risk is pretty obvious. So avoiding that 50-50 contest would have been a good idea. The Rangers didn't, they took their foot off the Flyers' throat and now we're all dreading a Game 7.

- I'm not doing a traditional notes because everyone was bad. Everyone. Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi were putrid. I tweeted it after the Flyers' first goal, when the Rangers' top defensive pairing is making mistakes like that only bad things are going to happen. Well, they did, and then a bad thing did happen and then things got much worse.

- I will say this, though. Those of you who are ripping Henrik Lundqvist for that game need to wake up. Seriously, take the blinders off. The only goal he was at fault on was the third goal (you either come all the way out or stay in your crease, but not the halfway out running back in method he did), and even then the puck died halfway down the ice which froze Lundqvist in his tracks. As for the other goals, what exactly was he supposed to do? Grow three more limbs?

- Another quiet game for Rick Nash. That's two now. He was invisible, in a game where you can't afford to be invisible. Derek Stepan wasn't much better and Martin St. Louis was the best of the three, but that's not saying much. Then again, so were Mats Zuccarello, Derick Brassard and Benoit Pouliot (invisible aside from the horrible first-period penalty). That third line has been pretty quiet all series (Zuccarello included, but he's been better than the other two).

- The power play has killed this team all series. And the problem is there's no solution to fix it. I don't blame the coaching staff, actually, I blame the players. After the first power play (where the Flyers stood the Rangers up at the blue line and clogged up the neutral zone every time) the players need to make the adjustments. Brad Richards (who is the conductor of this power play whether you like it or not) did nothing to change things up, and the Flyers feasted on it.

- Anyway, onto bounces. The Flyers got, literally, every bounce in this game. Every one of them. Second goal Brayden Schenn whiffs on a shot and the puck goes off McDonagh and right onto the stick of Wayne Simmonds for the second goal. St. Louis loses and edge, falls down and the puck is thrown down the ice to Erik Gustafsson, the puck dies halfway down the ice, which freezes Lundqvist and leads to a goal. On the fourth goal the puck just hit Simmonds, who should get credit for being in the right part of the ice. Don't tell me luck doesn't have anything to do with a hockey game. Sure, sometimes you make your luck, but the Rangers dominated the first 20 minutes and walked into their locker room down 1-0. Sometimes it's not your night.

- I'm not comfortable. I'm sure none of you are, either. Actually, I'd wager Flyers fans aren't comfortable, too. Me and my Flyers friend have been texting back and forth this entire series about how uncomfortable we are. Even he was pissed the Flyers gave up two goals in the third period since it shows some weakness. Anyway, we'll see what happens tonight.

- I said this before the series but I'll say it again: I love going to war with all of you. Hopefully we keep marching.

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