If the Rangers play the rest of the series like they did tonight, they will win barring some catastrophically bad luck. The Rangers outplayed the Caps big time, and while I have mentioned in the past that the Caps are good enough to be outplayed and still win, this really wasn’t the case tonight. The Rangers kicked a puck into their own net, hit 2 posts, got a call against on a BRUTAL dive by John Carlson, and lost by 1 goal.
It literally took all the luck in the world for them to lose this game. Hey, it happens people. The Caps hit 4 posts the other game, we hit 2 tonight, we probably deserve to be at 1-1 anyway. With that said, the Rangers definitely elevated their play, controlling the puck for long stretches, having tons of good looks at the net, and getting solid play from their top 2 lines. They deserved much better than they got.
Penalties were a problem, but I felt, as has been the common theme in the playoffs, the reffing was atrocious. Sometimes it’s atrocious against us, sometimes it’s atrocious for us, and sometimes it’s just atrocious. Tonight, it was atrocious against us. Hey, thems the breaks.
I don’t really have all that much to add. Marian Gaborik set up a gorgeous goal with a superb pass, though some fans insist on berating his play, which to me is just the height of stupidity. Players like Gaborik don’t control the play end to end. They dart in and out and quick strike. You don’t see them for long stretches then all of a sudden they appear and score a quick goal or set up a beautiful play. He was fine tonight. Gabby is not the problem. Stupid play by Henrik Lundqvist and Stu Bickel were really the 2 biggest problems.
Henrik will be better, and Stu…well, he’s not a big part of the team as it is playing as much as I do for the Rangers in these playoffs, so the likelyhood of him costing us another goal is slim.
Guys, don’t panic. Don’t throw the remotes at your TV, just chillax. This was a game you should be able to look at and say, you know what? We played an outstanding game, we deserved to win, but we just didn’t get any luck. Deal, and move on. Remember, the Rangers were 2-1 on the road in Ottawa, and only 2 teams in the entire NHL had more road wins than us (by 1). We’ll be fine.