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After the first 2 periods of todays disaster, I was fully prepared to rip the shit out of this team for about 12 paragraphs. I was furious, there might have been burst blood vessels in my brain. And then, I saw a glimmer of hope, a ray of sunshine, something that actually made me do a double take at what I was watching. In that 3rd period…the Rangers actually played like I wanted them to play. They skated hard, they played in the offensive zone, they weren’t complete and utterly inept at making a pass. In short they were the complete opposite if what they were in those first 2 periods.

So let’s talk about those first 2 periods now that I eased into this a little with the “good news” on the night. Why were we so bad? Well, there are several reasons. The first, and most glaringly obvious, was that their heads weren’t in the game. Oh, their bodies were, I definitely think they tried, but their mental mistakes mounted time and time and time again. We had the puck, we turned it over, we had a pass, we decided not to make it, we had a chance to come back and give an outlet option, we decided to skate somewhere else. Just all over the place their brains were making wrong decisions. You can point to the double giveaways by Morris and Zherdev on the back breaking goal the Caps scored, or the penalty kill where Drury and Rozsival both failed to clear the puck. Now, if that were all that was wrong, maybe we could have survived, after all, we did manage to score a goal..or 3. But their were many other problems. First among them was Henrik Lundqvist again being pedestrian between the pipes, and a pedestrian Lundqvist will never help this group of losers get all that far. And next among the problems were the one on one board battles. We just couldn’t win many, if any of those all important battles. When you win those battles you keep the puck in their zone, or you get it out of your own, those are tide changing battles, you string together 2 or 3 board wins in a row and you have yourself a sustained offensive zone shift.

Well, that 3rd period the Rangers actually seemed to put it all together, they played a physical game (something sorely lacking in the first 2), they won those board battles, they played intelligently, they, in short, reversed all the trends that cost them this game. And you know what happened? The offensive chances against were kept to a bare minimum, and they managed to score a few goals. Heh, who woulda thunk it.

So there you have it, that 3rd period really saved me from what was surely to be a sleepless night. Now, I have at least the slimmest of hopes to get me through these next few days…and that will have to be good enough. Hopefully you have a little hope now as well.

Tuesday is do or die day, this is where we separate the men from the boys.

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