I figured the games would be close, and look at what we find in game 1. An overtime game that was fairly evenly played, albeit not the most exciting game to be sure. The 2 teams who focus on defense did so to a tee, unfortunately the game seemed to slow down and had very few quality scoring chances for both teams. The goalies did not have to make too many miraculous saves, only 2 or 3 for each, and in the end the game was decided by a broken play caused in equal parts by Captain Cardboard Chris Drury, and our stud defenseman Marc Staal.
On the play in question Drury had more than enough time to clear the puck, he didn’t. Then, when Staal had the puck Drury vacated the zone to try to get a pass, Staal tries an extremely risky lob pass, it gets intercepted, and wham before you can blink your eyes, it’s game over. This was a game when you can see the importance of having those dominating type players, like an Ovechkin, like a Semin, Backstrom, etc. The Rangers have 1 of those guys, that’s it. Dubinsky is an elite 2nd line player in my personal opinion, but he’s not a guy like Ovechkin or Semin or Gabby. This is when you can really see the Rangers needing to go out and get a Brad Richards, though personally I still think we missed the board on Kovalchuk. Anyway, getting back on topic, the game itself wasn’t that poorly played by the Rangers, i’m not sure I can point to any particular aspect of the game that they didnt do well at. They hit, they blocked shots, they got in and tried to press the attack, but in the end, the better team won. Period.
Marian Gaborik was definitely the Rangers best forward, having a few great scoring chances that he couldn’t convert on, and constantly being a threat out there. He played the boards with some conviction and won quite a few battles he usually loses, but still, how can you blame a guy who plays with Christensen, Prospal, or a rookie center for not scoring in a tightly checked playoff game? You need to give him some help, hopefully, some will be on the way soon.