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Thoughts following Game 3

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

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.
"Thoughts following Game 3", 5 out of 5 based on 4 ratings.

26 Responses to “Thoughts following Game 3”

  1. Chuck A says:

    So how long to do you think the team loses Stepan, how much does this loss hurt (i.e., Kreider’s absence), and who takes his place?

  2. @ChrisLeonard22 says:

    Definitely agree about the weird home ice effect, Justin. Good thing most of our playoff games are on road. And the officiating was abysmal. No call on Prust hit, inexcusable. Carcillo’s antics also inexcusable but avoidable if right call made on Stepan and if linesman isn’t getting a bit overzealous in restraining Carcillo. I like your optimism and am betting that Tokarski delivered his best game of the series last night. However loss of Stepan and uncertainty re health of Brassard leave us with holes to fill at center ice. I still think we can get through flawed and desperate Habs team that is resorting to Flyer tactics but going to Finals minus Stepan and with compromised Brassard does not bode well.

  3. Bloomer says:

    An absolutely gutsy effort by Stephan, coming back after that brutal late hit, and contributing on the scoreboard and with some firm physical play of his own.
    You can not replace Derek. Hopefully you can mitigate his loss with the return of Brassard and inserting JT Miller in the lineup. Whether or not Prust gets suspended for his dirty hit, does not help New York. I have been advocating all season that the Rangers need to have a nuclear option on the ice to deter the likes of Prust and others.

    Big Mac Truck should have had an opportunity to fill that role which he didn’t under this coach. So as a result, just like his previous team the Canucks, New York could very much get physically knocked out of the playoffs. What a damn shame.

  4. Leatherneckinlv says:

    Walter

    • bayman says:

      I’m old enough to remember when Walter’s last name was pronounced TAY-chuk, before it became ka-CHOOK.

  5. Gary says:

    “Brandon Prust, he was trying to finish his check,” Habs coach Michel Therrien said from the team hotel in midtown Manhattan on Friday. “His intention, honestly, was not to injure Stepan.” <– I absolutely hate this creep, much more so than Prust.

    Much as AV's team has taken on his images, so too have the Canadiens taken on the image of this lying, whining piece of shit. And yes, I am upset.

    • Chris F says:

      “He was trying to finish his check.”

      Well, that’s kinda the problem right there isn’t it, MT? You can’t finish checks, much less checks to the jaw, of players who don’t have the puck!

  6. Chris F says:

    Prust suspended 2 games.

    Big deal. They replace him with the faster, forechecking Bournival. Doesn’t hurt Montreal at all.

    Stepan and the Rangers on the other hand…. sigh.

    I don’t even care about the suspension. I wanted the penalty, 5 minute major and an opportunity to bury the game early in retribution. The refs took away that opportunity, and the League’s measly punishment of 2 replaceable games doesn’t give that back.

  7. Pete says:

    Could have easily suspended Prust for the rest of the series. I’d hate to see what he does late in a game 7 of a losing effort…

  8. Bloomer says:

    Rather then whining about the referees, championship teams take matters into their own hands. On Sunday we will see what the Ranges are made of, and if they have what it takes to be the Champs.

  9. tmd39 says:

    Prust’s hit was very similar to John Scott’s hit on Eriksson early this season, except that Prust’s was a later hit. Scott had no suspension history; Prust does. Scott got 7 games. Prust gets 2?

  10. joe719 says:

    It is what it is. Just win on Sunday, and all this crap goes away. They played well last night; they just couldn’t finish. They don’t need to change much. Yeah Stepan will be missed, but you can’t keep crying about it; you have to move on. Hopefully Brass comes back and JT Miller has shown, in limited duty, that he can provide some spark. Again, as I’ve said every day; it comes down to Hank. He needs to go into the game with the mindset of pitching a shutout. Hes more than capable of that. Put some pressure on the kid in goal early, and lets see if hes for real. I still have my doubts. This is the game for Nash to shine. Get even, by scoring. Show them they knocked out the wrong guy.

    • Walt says:

      For game 4 only, dress 7 defensemen, Mcilrath, and see what happends. I hate seeing this garbage take place, but with a low life coach who put Prust out against Step to do damage, we have to stand up some how!!

      • Gary says:

        Walt, IMO that is exactly what the Rangers shouldn’t do. That would be coming off our game and playing into theirs. The Rangers have been a robotic, offensive, relentless, swarming and speedy force since December. They have to play that game and they have to do it right now, in game 4. Retribution can come next year.

        • Walt says:

          Gary

          You could be right, but how many players do we loose before something is done? Hell, if only the fact that McIlrath is dressed may be enough to discourage Montreal from pulling this stunt again!! Just thinking!!!!!

          • Gary says:

            I almost can’t believe I am writing this, but let the refs handle it. Really, they are under the spotlight now. The thing in the PO’s is that you have to be a machine because it’s a survival test. You got to take their best (worst) and stay on task. The minute you come off your focus, you are toast.

            • Walt says:

              Gary

              Based on the officiating against us all season long, and the play-offs, I think we may see another Sgt Schultz act by the men in stripes again. Then what??

              Right now I’m feeling more like Rob’s post below than ever before. Have you watched Subban at all this series, man is he ever dirty, and spineless. Slew foot Dorset, slashes Nash in a series of three hits, but won’t drop the gloves. That is real chicken sh*t on his part, as well as their coach!!

              I know where your coming from, but I have no faith in the officals, and or the NHL brass. Maybe they would like to see a Canadian team win the cup, how many years has it been since that happened? I’m somewhat cynical about this, and knowing how Buttman feels about Dolan, I wouldn’t put it past them. But then what do I know?????

  11. flatbush says:

    Agree with focusing on the mission and not going to whine about the suspensions for Prust and Carcillo. The NHL has made its decision which isn’t going to change. I only hope the NHL evaluates the performance of the referees and here is why. Every commentator agrees that the hit was very late and targeted the head area. Those comments were made before looking at the hit in slow -mo 5x. It was so obvious and the trailing ref and two linesmen had the best view as well as the entire garden. Did the refs talk it over? what about input from the linesmen? They can call major penalties which this hit could easily qualify. Oh well, lets just say ” I see nothing” Thats really unacceptable! Further there was no penalty on the Carcillo hit!I guess from the ref angle he saw one! Why did Tubby the linesmen grab Carcillo? Clearly no need to. It all seems like the crew new they screwed up on the first non call and everyone knew with Dorsett and Carcillo on the ice with Prust there would be some frontier justice. So now they want to get over zealous and control the game. Carcillo absolutely can’t jostle Tubby and he is paying. Prust go suspended whether you agree or not with the amount. What about the responsibility of the four officials? Do they get a free pass and work more games?

    • Walt says:

      ” I see nothing”

      Didn’t realize that Sgt Schultz (Hogan’s Heros)officiated the game. Your spot on with your remarks!!

  12. Rob says:

    First, I NEVER liked Prust. Hands of stone. Skates well, but in open ice has no real quickness. Only positive is willing to play hard. That is not worth a 2m contract.

    Second, the NHL logic of you touch a linesman gives you 10 games OR you deliver a late violent hit that breaks a jaw gives you 2. Illogical. Rangers dress the biggest goon possible from minors for next game and go right at Max P. eye for eye justice. No fights. Just bang him every chance possible near the boards. Since Rangers have last change -ONLY insert the goon when the Rangers are up and the draw is Canadiens side of the ice.

    I cannot remember who the Rangers have in the minors for this job. The forward that was on the Islanders?

  13. Walt says:

    To all on this blog, I wish you a wonderful Memorial Day week-end.

    Let’s just take all of 10 seconds to reflect on the meaning of monday, and the men, and women who gave everything so that we are free. As a vet of Nam, I cry everytime I’m down in DC, and see the names on the “Wall”, with it’s 55,000+ names of young kids on it, some of whom I served with. There but for the grace of God, it could have been me, and for that I’m grateful that I came home in one piece.

    To all the old vets, WW2, Korea, Nam, and the kids of today who were in Iraq, and Afganistan, I salute you all, and thank you for your service, you all are my brothers!!!!!