Thoughts following Game 3May 23, 2014, by
The Rangers dropped a disappointing OT game to the Montreal Canadiens last night, by a score of 3-2. The Rangers dominated possession and shots on goal, but came up just a little short. Dustin Tokarski played fantastic and the Habs got just enough lucky bounces to the cut the series deficit in half. In the aftermath, I thought I’d share some…well, thoughts.
- As I mentioned (and Dave’s Fenwick chart shows), the Rangers dominated possession from start to finish. This is usually a recipe for winning a game, but Dustin Tokarski threw a wrench into that.
- It’s Tokarski’s upside that was the basis for Michel Therrien to give him the nod over Budaj when Price went down. Tokarski flat out stole that game and is the only reason we aren’t breaking out the brooms on Sunday.
- While we are on the subject of Tokarski, man, did he have Marty St. Louis’ number last night. Several high-quality stops on #26. I think most nights, Marty is looking at a hat trick.
- Obviously, losses like this one are a little tough to swallow, given the immense opportunity the Rangers had to put a stranglehold on this series. That said, Montreal is too talented to just roll over because their goalie got hurt. Rangers stole game 2, Habs stole game 3, you can just reverse it and give the dominant team the win, and we are still in the same spot.
- That was just some brutal officiating all game. I’m not in the camp that it cost the Rangers the game, but it was inconsistent and gave the game an uneven (meaning, broke the natural flow of things, not stacked in one team’s favor) right from the get go.
- While I don’t think anything will come of it (as of this writing, still no confirmation), but I think Prust’s hit on Stepan is worth a look from the Department of Player Safety. It was blatant interference, and the principle point of contact was the head. Prust just happened to be the right height so it was his shoulder instead of his elbow. Update: Stepan had surgery this morning, timetable for return is uncertain. Prust has a phone hearing today at 4pm.
- Speaking of which, I don’t know if I can recall a former fan favorite turning into a villain so quickly or fervently. I’m pretty sure most of the 400 section would have torn Prust apart piece by piece if they could get down to the ice.
- Something odd happens to this team on home ice. It could be the desire to please the (notoriously fickle) home fan base, but it always seems they are gripping the stick a little too tight on in close chances and trying to force the play a little too much. This isn’t nearly as much of an issue on the road.
- I really liked Rick Nash’s game last night. He was throwing his weight around, driving the net and trying to find seams in the low part of the offensive zone. I’ve heard commenters blasting him for getting knocked off pucks too easily, but he isn’t the type of player who drives the net while protecting the puck. He looks to shift his way through defenders and have a lane on the forehand. Implicit in this is that you can’t protect the puck, because your body is exposed to the defense in an effort to put yourself in a quality shooting position- his weird, back to the play, spin shot notwithstanding.
- For me, it was always a little too good to be true to take a 3-0 lead after the wars with Philly/Pittsburgh. They do need to right the ship and grab the 3-1 advantage on Sunday. Even if LA/Chicago goes the distance, it’s going to be immensely difficult to overcome one of those teams after duking it out for 6-7 games with the Habs.
- Back on the horse on Sunday. If this team continues to play the way it did last night, I’m very confident in their chances. Blip on the radar. Back to work.