• Google



  • Calendar

    April 2012
    M T W T F S S
    « Mar   May »
     1
    2345678
    9101112131415
    16171819202122
    23242526272829
    30  
  • Blogroll

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Pages

Archive for April, 2012


The score in this game was not indicative of how close the game was. Let’s face it, for large stretches of tonights game the Senators controlled the puck. This isn’t exactly surprising. As I mentioned in my series preview, the Sens have a good offense, the Rangers are going to have to weather those surges. You don’t make the playoffs in this day and age without being a pretty good team. The Sens have a fantastic offense. Give credit to the Rangers though, they were able to keep the majority of the scoring chances to the outside, and despite giving up 2 late goals, they played pretty well in their own zone especially when you factor in the sheer amount of time they had to defend.

It’s important to also note that the Rangers were VERY opportunistic tonight, putting home 4 goals on probably about 12 scoring chances. 33% is far higher than the Rangers usually do on a nightly basis, but that’s what happens when you face a team that doesn’t really play all that well in their own zone. Look no further than Sergei Gonchar who had one of the most miserable games by a defenseman I can remember in a good long while. What the hell was he doing just looking at Gaborik undressing Anderson? That was just one of many plays where the veteran was horrendously positioned in his own zone, leading to nearly all of the quality chances the Rangers had.

Give a lot of credit to the Rangers forwards who were all over Karlsson tonight. The kid didn’t get more than a step before someone was on him and in his face. Especially Dubinsky who seemed to make it his personal mission in this game to get on the obvious Norris winner.

The key to this game though, was the play of Henrik Lundqvist. There’s a reason he was chosen the #1 star tonight. He was outstanding. The 2 goals he gave up were not his fault, directly the result of blown coverages, the king had no chance. However he did make several spectacular saves including stopping Spezza on a partial breakaway, and getting himself in position on quite a few redirections. Henrik was on top of his game from the puck drop, and that was the key to the Rangers victory.

One thing that did disturb me was the complete and utter ineffectiveness of the power play. It looked like they weren’t even trying to score goals but rather kill the clock, and that just can’t be the attitude you have on a power play, no matter what. Their penalty killing may have been spectacular, but sooner or later the Rangers are going to need to win a playoff game on the back of their power play. They need to be a helluva lot better than this. A good power play doesn’t need to score all the time, but it should at least generate some shots and get your team some momentum. The Rangers best chances were on the back end of their very first power play, and even then those shots were all long ones without much chance of actually scoring sans a tip.

I felt, going into this series, the toughest game for the Rangers was going to be game 1. They won it, to me, this series has the very real chance of being pretty damn short right now. If the Rangers win on Saturday, the Sens might as well pack their bags for the summer.

Rangers VS Senators Series Preview

Posted by inferno272 on April 12th, 2012

Sorry for the delay in getting this up. I’ve been having internet issues and finally just decided to write this thing on my phone. You can imagine there may be typos in this, and I won’t be able to format it all nicely like usual so please bear with me.

Offense:
Edge here has to go to the senators. The rangers do have a top goal scorer in gabby, but the sens easily match that with a top five point getter in spezza. They also have karlsson, michalek, and alfredsson, which the rangers can only match up with richards and callahan. The senators are a more explosive team, they play a more up tempo system and have given us fits all year long. They have an uncanny ability to get the rangers to open up. They make us want to trade chances with them and that is how they massacre teams. They outscored the Rangers by 29 goals in the season, giving them the 4th ranked offense in the entire NHL to the Rangers 11th. The rangers need to concede that the sens are better than us offensively. We need to get our goals when they come, but mostly wear them out with a physical pounding their grandchildren will feel.

Defense:

Rangers get the big time edge here. Not only are the rangers defenseman significantly better, more mobile, stronger, and more intelligent, but the Rangers forwards also are worlds better defensively than the Senators forwards. The Rangers are built to win 2-1 games, not 6-5 games. The Rangers allowed 65 fewer goals than the Senators did this season, giving them the 3rd ranked defense in the NHL to Ottawas 24th. This is what should put the Rangers over the top. Their ability to dictate how the game is played in the defensive zone. Give the Senators NOTHING, don’t go outside their comfort zone. Play strong in their own zone, block a ton of shots, and win the war of attrition.

Goaltending:

Another big time edge for the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist was ranked 3rd in the NHL in wins (Anderson was 11th), 4th in Goals Against Average (Anderson was ranked 43rd removing goalies with fewer than 17 starts). Lundqvist was 3rd in save percentage (Anderson was 26th), and Henrik was 3rd in shutouts (Anderson tied for 24th). Quite simply, Henrik Lundqvist outclasses Anderson by a significant margin. However, the X-Factor here is that Anderson is a guy who has played VERY well against the Rangers, and Lundqvist has not played all that well against the Senators since the lockout. This may be a similar case to the Washington series a few years back when Varlamov outplayed Lundqvist despite Lundqvist having overwhelmingly better numbers than Varlamov.

This is Henriks year to shine, I have a feeling he’s going to come up big this series. I think the guy knows just how important this year is because the Rangers do have a legitimate chance to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Coaching:

Another big time edge to Torts. The guy has won a Stanley Cup, in all likelyhood will be a finalist for the Adams trophy if he doesn’t win it outright, and has taken a team that was almost universally picked by the fans to the pundits to finish in the 4-10 range this season to the top spot in the Eastern Conference despite the Rangers playing in what may be the toughest division in all of sports. Torts is a master at getting the most out of his players, I expect nothing else.

X-Factor:

Will Chris Kreider get to play? Who knows. Will he lead the team in scoring or something insane like that? No. However, you could see the kid come in and contribute at a .3PPG pace, he’s definitely good enough to do that. His speed is gamebreaking, and his offensive talents are undeniable. Will he get into the game? who knows. Carl Hagelin though may be a huge key to the Rangers. He has not played well as of late, his 2 linemates have had to carry him on the ice. Is he fatigued? Has the NHL figured him out? Personally I think it’s more of the former. He doesn’t have that jump in his game, he doesn’t seem to be as tenacious as before, and it’s hurt both him, and his line. If Hagelin can get his game back, and I think he will, he could be the guy to watch this series.

Prediction:

I want to pick the Rangers in 5, but to be safe, I’m going to say the Rangers in 6. I know the Sens have great numbers against us, I know this is a young team, blah blah blah, but the long and the short of it is this. The Rangers are better than the Senators. We are built to win playoff games. Don’t be surprised if Ottawa takes 1 of the first 2 first games, and then the Rangers steamroll from then on. Remember, it’s a series not a 1 game playoff.

I gotta tell you. I’m A-OK with the Rangers not having to play the Washington Capitals in the first round. To me, that may have been the worst draw for us out of all our options. I just don’t feel we match up at all against that team. The Rangers do not do well against team with big time offensive powerhouses. They don’t do well against the Pens, they don’t do well against the Caps, they don’t do well against the Lightning. Why? Because we don’t have the talent to go toe to toe with those kinds of team. Period.

What the Rangers do well, is play against balanced teams, like the Ottawa Senators. Teams with several weapons interspersed in the lineup, but no real monster player that is impossible to shut down. Jason Spezza is a damn good player. He’s no Alex Ovechkin (despite what the points may say). Michael, Alfredsson, Karlsson, those are good players, but they don’t scare me the way AO and Backstrom scare me. Not at all.

Do the Rangers have a great record against the Sens? No. But, of their 3 losses, 1 was in a shootout, and 1 was with Biron in net. The 3rd the Rangers actually outplayed the Sens, but Anderson stood on his head and stole them a win.

Is it possible the Sens could beat us? Sure, but to me, it’s less likely than the Caps beating us. The Rangers can, and should be the Senators, who are not playing very good hockey at the moment. Starting at home will help a ton.

With regards to this game tonight, I don’t really think the Rangers played all that badly. They got some good chances, but couldn’t score. Gabby himself had how many point blank chances where he didn’t convert? And it seemed like everything the Caps threw at the net somehow found it’s way in. Screens, deflections, etc. They didn’t have a ton of super high quality chances, but they made their chances count.

Yes, on one hand I am saying the Rangers played well enough to win, and on the other I’m saying I don’t want the Caps. But that makes my point, the Caps are a team that is most definitely good enough to win, even when they are outplayed. THAT is what scares me about them. Only 2 teams in the East that scare me are the Caps and the Pens, and we don’t have to face either of them in the first round, and it’s highly unlikely we would face either of them in the 2nd round either.

Meaningless

Posted by inferno272 on April 6th, 2012

This was a meaningless game, I watched it while I was doing other stuff, Sorry guys, really no insight other than, Lundqvist stops most of those goals. Rangers really didn’t have their hearts in it, and I dont blame em. This game meant less than nothing.

I’ve made it no secret that I am a huge John Tortorella fan. The guy is my favorite coach ever to lead the team I love. Yes, more than Mike Keenan, certainly more than Tom “the horse is out of the barn” Renney. Torts has an uncanny ability to squeeze out every single last drop of effort out of his squads, and this Rangers team is the epitome of that.

Let’s be real here folks. This team isn’t good enough to be a team that still controls it’s own destiny with regards to the presidents trophy. This team shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same sentence as the presidents trophy, and yet, with 2 games to go, they have a very real chance of winning it, having to win 1 against the Pens, and 1 against the Caps. They can do that. They have the leadership to do so. They have the inner belief to do so, and it would be a monumental accomplishment if they do. Clinching the #1 seed in the East is mind boggling though. You could almost understand them doing it if Richards and Gaborik were each on pace for 100+ points. But they aren’t. Gabby is having a monster season, but Richards was having a typical first year transitional year up until a little over a month ago when he caught fire.

Somehow though, Torts has been able to deal with injuries to their #1 defenseman (and their #4 defenseman), has been able to overcome the Rangers getting pretty much NOTHING from Brandon Dubinsky in the goal total department, overcome Brian Boyle having a huge step backwards in his offensive production, overcoming pretty average years by Stepan and Anisimov, all the while integrating Ryan McDonagh into the top pairing, and Carl Hagelin on to the top line.

If that doesn’t warrant the Adams, It’s only because of what’s happened in St. Louis.

Or is it?

Look at St. Louis’ record folks. They are a 1 trick pony. They win at home. They are unstoppable at home. But on the road, they are a below average team. The Rangers on the other hand, on the road, at home, in Europe, on the moon, in alternate dimensions, it doesn’t matter, they come to play, they play hard, and they are consistent. Their game plan doesn’t change at all. Kudos to Torts, the guy deserves a Jack Adams nomination for sure, and, in my personal opinion, deserve the trophy outright.

On to this game. While the score was 5-3, and the Rangers did go up by a 4-0 mark, this was not a 5-3 game. The #1 star should have been Henrik Lundqvist, who wasn’t just on his game, but he was playing at a whole other level tonight. This was about as good as Henrik has been at any point this season. He was the single biggest reason the Rangers won this game. Just watch the highlights above, the save he made on Simmonds and Rinaldo, are you kidding me? Holy crap.

A resurgent power play certainly helps as well. We’ve known all along that if the Rangers were going to do anything in the playoffs, they would need their specialty teams to be a lot better. Quietly, the Rangers have climbed from 29th in the NHL to 22nd in a few weeks. It may not seem like much, but that’s a huge jump to see this late in the season. If the Rangers can make their PP a legitimate weapon, it helps them at even strength as the opposition is less likely to go over that line. The Rangers are a GREAT even strength team with the 5th best Goals For/Allowed ratio in the NHL. It all trickles down, make the PP better, means more time at even strength. The Rangers dominate at even strength, this means more likelyhood they win the game they are designed to play.

Give a lot of credit to Ryan McDonagh too, a goal and an assist, along with a pretty damn good game against a pretty special player in Claude Giroux (who by the way gets away with a lot of dirty little plays that happen when the refs aren’t looking). Giroux had 3 assists, but considering how good he is, sometimes the guy is just going to score.

8 in a row against the Flyers, here’s hoping they beat the Penguins for us in the playoffs.

Vacation & The Flu

Posted by inferno272 on April 2nd, 2012

Been on vacation, and I just got home and I’m pretty sure I have a bad case of the flu. Or possibly some intense allergies. Either way, I’m not able to do writeups from the Montreal game or the Bruins game. Happy to see the Rangers are 1 pt away from clinching first place though.