The saying goes “you’re not in trouble until you lose a game
on home ice”. And with that, Ranger fans, the Rangers are back in this series.
The Rangers entered this series being in a 2-0 hole. A 2-0 hole they dug
themselves with squandered opportunities. After being shut out, the Rangers
came back and battled to a 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals. They did it at
home and they did it playing New York hockey.
Firstly, let me say this: It’s a Power Play Goal!
Yes, the unthinkable happened. The Rangers scored a power play goal and had
another goal that off a rush that started during the power play. The Rangers
took advantage of their opportunities and made the Capitals pay. One of the
biggest issues the Rangers needed to address was the inept power play that had
multiple chances to put the game away Saturday but came up short. They worked
on it and they finally connected. This is a huge boost and something that can
completely turn around the series in the Blueshirts’ favor.
This win took everyone up and down the lines to pull off.
Every single type of player had to contribute. Down 1-0 early, this team
rallied back and had to break three ties in order to win. Lundqvist stood tall
and played great hockey. He let in a tip in from Backstrom, a wrister from
Green that threaded all sorts of needles, and a flukey goal that deflected off
a few players. None were easy saves for Lundqvist and the defense in front of
him was stellar.
Not to look a win in the mouth (so to speak), but the
Rangers did not play a flawless game. There were long stretches were the Caps
had the Rangers absolutely pinned in their own zone. They had to weather several
storms while the Caps did their best impression of a team on a power play
without actually having the man advantage. There was even a time when the Caps
were able to pull a line change without having the puck cross the Rangers blue
line. This team is wayyy too dangerous for that to happen. It would be nice to
win a game without Lundqvist absolutely robbing a few guys; and in order to do
that, the Rangers need to get the puck on the other end of the ice.
And the song continues, but the Rangers’ big guns have to
start scoring. I refuse to understand that Nash is not mentally prepped for
this because he has only played 4 playoff games prior to now. He’s been in the
league since 2002. It is time to grow up and play hockey when it matters most.
Richards is still showing flashes of what he was but clearly is not the man we brought
him in for. Richards had some good shots from the point on the power play
resulted in some great scoring chances. But he also was responsible for making
every single Rangers’ fan stop breathing by taking a dumb penalty and slashed
Ovechkin at 18:06 of the third. They had less than two minutes to go and he
gave them a 6-on-4 power play for the last moments of the game!
Speaking of leaders taking weak penalties, Ryan Callahan needs to become the
leader we have seen him be for years (even before he had the “C” stitched on
the sweater). He took two minor penalties and none of them were effective. Both
of them were the product of frustration or letting someone get a step on him.
He needs to get back to play Callahan hockey. He needs to get back to blocking
shots in his own zone and blocking out the sun in front of Holtby.
A win is a win and this was a good one for the good guys.
The Rangers have made this a series worth watching and one worth winning.
*Photo credit goes to
more by Dan French, be sure to visit www.liftthepuck.com