1) If you're going to be a jerk, do not go to Habs Eyes On The Prize. Seriously. Most of you guys have been good about not causing trouble over there, but emotions are probably running high after last night and I just want to toss this put there. If you want to go over there and be knowledgeable, that's fine, but remember they're a Canadiens blog and your opinion won't be accepted. Just leave it alone.
2) We're going to play a little game at the start of these notes. Here's a few "outside looking in" hypothetical thoughts that ran through my head after the game.
- Positive Thoughts: If you're going to split game at home after going up 2-0 on the road, you would rather lose Game 3 and win Game 4 than the other way around. Montreal got their two biggest goals (and four of their six goals this year) off remarkably lucky bounces. The first one Thursday went in off Ryan McDonagh, the second one went in off Alex Galchenyuk's face. The Rangers missed a bunch of opportunities, Dustin Tokarski left a bunch of very juicy rebounds the Rangers didn't capitalize on and the officials missed a blatant five-minute major penalty that would have turned the game. All things considered, if you're going to lose a game you'd rather lose it like that, where you can look at each other in the locker room and know nine times out of 10 you win that game.
- Negative Thoughts: It sucks to lose a game that way, despite what I said above. The Rangers didn't get any bounces, and the choppy ice really hurt their speed in the third period. Tokarski made two spectacular saves and was good for most of the night (not that anyone should have expected it to be otherwise). The Rangers dominated the first period and only scored a single goal, and completely wasted one of their two power play opportunities. Winning last night would have been a dagger in the Canadiens' back. A loss just gives them some new life, and guarantees at least one more game in Montreal.
- Hypothetical Thought: How do the officials miss that Brandon Prust hit? It's an intentionally dangerous hit where he is very clearly targeting Derek Stepan's head; and it should have been five minutes and a game misconduct. Instead, Prust gets nothing, Derek Dorsett fights him, an official gets aggressive with Dan Carcillo who does something stupid and he gets ejected. Now the Rangers have 11 forwards and Prust still gets to play. If the officials get that call right, none of that happens. Also, be fully prepared for Prust to avoid a suspension but for Carcillo to be out a few games at least.
- It's hilarious to me that Montreal fans berate Chris Kreider for the Carey Price injury that a player on their own team caused but somehow find it in them to breathlessly defend Prust. Laughable at best.
- I thought Henrik Lundqvist was really good. I saw a few "those are two soft goals from Hank" on Twitter, but I'm just going to assume that was the typical knee-jerk fans who react like what whenever the game ends. There is nothing he could have done about goals two and three. I thought the first goal was soft, but I kind of missed it during the game and don't care to watch the replay.
- I thought Rick Nash, Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan were all phenomenal. Seriously, that trio got the job done for most of the night, and scored the game tying goal with 20 seconds left. That was a really cool moment, too bad it didn't last.
- McDonagh is more than special. I don't know the adjective for him yet, but whatever it is he is. That play in the third? Wow.
- The Rangers played really well for most of the game. I would have loved to see another goal or two in the first period, but again, sometimes the puck doesn't go in. I also don't buy the Tokarski "becoming a monster" nonsense. He was good (great at times) but the Rangers didn't capitalize on chances. Every goalie you face now is going to be good. That's not something to worry about. And the Rangers have the best in the business between their pipes. It should always be an advantage for New York.
- Boy Montreal sure does know how to do a 180, eh? After Game 2 all the talk was about how lucky the Rangers have been, Lundqvist included. I didn't hear a lick about luck after Thursday's game. This goes for the Prust thing above, too.
- Anyway, tough loss, but I still would have signed up for a 2-1 series lead going into Game 4. I'm guessing most of you would have, too. The problem now is Game 4 has basically become a must-win game for both sides. The Rangers don't want to go back to Montreal tied up 2-2, and Montreal doesn't want Game 5 to be an elimination game.