NHL Playoffs: New York Rangers Forget It Is April; Lose To Senators 3-2 (OT)
For the first ten minutes of this hockey game the New York Rangers looked like the team that picked up 109pts in the regular season. Hell they even scored 2 power play goals (One by Anton Stralman and a second from Ryan Callahan), but after that it seemed like the Rangers simply forgot how to establish any kind of forecheck. Give credit to Ottawa though as they pressured the Rangers, kept the puck in the Rangers zone and kept getting shots on Henrik Lundqvist.
The referees were calling this game tight, giving the Rangers 7 power plays (on which they got progressively worse as the game went on) with the Senators getting the man advantage five times and converted on one of those opportunities.
After going up 2-0 early in the first, the Rangers played a more defensive minded game (re: they couldn't get a hold of the puck to save their lives) but in the second period the wheels really came off and if it was any other goalie in net this game would have been in Philadelphia/Pittsburgh territory with the amount of shots and opportunities the Senators had.
The Senators scored twice, once right after a failed Rangers power play led to Matt Carkner (of all players) to jump out of the box and find Milan Michalek who popped a backhanded shot over Henrik Lundqvist to cut the lead to 2-1. The second Ottawa goal came from Sergei Gonchar (the original Roman Senator) on a Senators power play that was peppering the Rangers with chances and shots and it was inevitable that the puck ended up behind Lundqvist to tie the game up.
The third period saw what I thought was a desperate Rangers team press the Sens who withstood the semi barrage and allowed Craig Anderson to make some pretty good saves but the Rangers were just not putting up great chances nor were they establishing any kind of forecheck like they should have been.
So to overtime the game went and of course the Rangers best chances come off the stick of Mike Rupp, not Brad Richards, not Marian Gaborik or Ryan Callahan but Mike Rupp. That is not the way you win in the playoffs, and as to prove my point, after Rupp managed to get some rubber on Craig Anderson, Jim O'Brien (shouldn't he be on Fox News or something; he has such an anchorman's name) and Kyle Turris put together a nice passing play that ended with Turris using Anton Stralman as a great screen and roofed a shot over Henrik's glove to give the Senators their first playoff win at home in 8 tries.
After the Jump some final thoughts and a stupid, stupid prediction by yours truly
1) Chris Kreider didn't get much ice time tonight, skating on the fourth line, mostly due to the heavy influence of special teams play and the Rangers lack of offensive pressure in the second, but he did have a couple of close calls around the net. To say that the college kid playing in his second game was invisible in a game where every single offensive player was invisible is really unfair.
2) Marc Staal was the best defenseman wearing a white jersey tonight. If the offense could wake up and solidify itself with Marc Staal playing like Marc Staal the Rangers could be cooking with a nuclear powered grill in the next three games.
3) The Rangers better come out on Saturday like they are storming the gates of hell. At home, coming off a bad OT loss on the road a crowd both excited and on their last nerve...this team needs to come out and dominate the Senators like they should be.
This loss is on the entire team aside from Lundqvist tonight, being out shot and out chanced against a team like this in the playoffs is inexcusable and that team better be furious for that performance.
And now a prediction from yours truly from our Playoff Prediction thread
1) New York Rangers vs (8) Ottawa Senators: Rangers in 6; Craig Anderson steals one of the first two games and Ottawa rides the home crowd to one win
...Man I hate being right. Your thoughts guys?