The Rangers and Capitals couldn’t be more opposite at this point in the season. The Caps have a legitimate superstar, an identity, and a city that is 100% behind them; everything the Rangers are lacking after all this time. But as always, winning cures everything, and if the Rangers can put forth a great effort, maybe they can turn this around.
UPDATE 7:12pm- An excellent fight between the game’s two best fighters, Colton Orr and Donald Brashear, was quickly followed by a fight between Aaron Voros and Matt Bradley. It seems like that Orr and Voros may have been told to engage in a scrap early on, probably to get the crowd on their side and inject some life into the building. We’ll see how the team and fans respond….
UPDATE 7:23pm- Rangers 1, Caps 0. Beautiful goal by Cally on a set-up from Korpo. The Rangers have played solid up to this point and capitalized on a great opportunity (for once). Collectively, the fans and players have responded well to the early action.
UPDATE 7:30pm- Rangers 1, Caps 1. Easy rebound goal for the Caps. It is inexplicable for a team to give up the lead so quickly all the time the way the Rangers do. Whether its complacency or lack of focus, they always seem to let up when in a postion to tighten their grip. On top of that, three Rangers were surrounding the net on the tying goal and Fleischmann was STILL wide open for the easy rebound. Big-time head scratcher there….
UPDATE 7:41pm- Caps 2, Rangers 1. Another rebound goal for the Caps. What makes me scratch my head even more is that not three but ALL FIVE Rangers were packed in front of the net, and they popped in another rebound. My sister brought up a good point: don’t the Rangers kind of remind you of the Mighty Ducks…not when they won the state title and the world championship, but when they were District 5 and wore football helmets and newspapers as shinpads? Just because of the way they fall around and let up cheesy goals. Something to think about…
UPDATE 8:05- Alex Ovechkin is simply amazing. While he hasn’t contributed a ton offensively (yet), he has had two thunderous hits in the last 5 minutes of play in this game. The fact that he can be shut down offensively for the majority of the game and still dominate with physical play shows you just how versatile he can really be. And when he does have the puck on his stick, he doesn’t care who or what is in his way or where he is on the ice: he is shooting the puck to score every single time. Anybody who says Sidney Crosby is the best player in the world is a fool and is blind to how great this guy really is. He plays the game the way it is supposed to be played: with heart, talent, emotion, and leadership. Thought I needed to share that.
UPDATE 8:12pm- Rangers 2, Caps 2. Another nice goal from the Korpo-Cally connection. Easily have been the best two players on the ice for the Rangers tonight. Drury, Gomez, Redden, and Roszival continue to be lifeless pods in hockey skates….
UPDATE 8:21pm- Caps 3, Rangers 2. Ovechkin finally makes a play, using his great vision to set up Mike Green with a snap-shot from the point, beating Lundqvist high. Mike Green ties the record for consective games with a goal by a defenseman with 7, bringing his total to 20 for the year. That is more than any Rangers forward has scored this season. And in the 2004 NHL draft, the Rangers selected Al Montoya #6 overall, while the Caps picked up Green at #29 overall. While its difficult to say the Rangers should have picked up Green at that spot, its just another example of how the Rangers choose to evaluate talent.
UPDATE 8:24pm- Rangers 3, Caps 3. Great effort by Nigel Dawes, who must have given Markus Naslund some advice on how to score goals. If you can’t beat them straight up, just slide into the net and hope for the best (remember Dawes sliding into Fatso last season?). Nice to see the Rangers responding for once. The next five minutes of this game are critical; they need to establish offensive pressure and keep the Caps backed up, as well as tighten up defensively. The first team to 5 goals is going to win this game
UPDATE 8:29pm- Normally I wouldn’t take the time out to comment on a penalty, but the latest call on Dubinsky just kind of shows you how pansied (if thats even a word) the NHL has become. Cally was able to respond though with an excellent short-handed opportunity, drawing a penalty in the process. Nice to see the refs though maybe even it up after a really questionable call.
UPDATE 8:35pm- Rangers 4, Caps 3. Hard to believe I’m actually watching a Rangers game with all this scoring going on. A blast by Paul Mara gives the Blueshirts the lead. For how long this will last, who knows. Its comforting to see them play with some guts. Perhaps Sean Avery is already making a difference? Okay, I’m totally stretching that one….
UPDATE 8:39pm- Rangers 4, Caps 4. Mike Green strikes again, beating Lundqvist clean up high again. I’m of the opinion that an NHL goaltender should be able to stop any clear shot from outside the top of the circles. Just a credit to Green’s ability. The Rangers were also extremely lazy during the line-change and got caught running around in the defensive zone. It’s all tied up going into the 3rd period. If you are a hockey fan, this is an extremely fun game to watch. If you bleed blue, I know you are as nervous as I am…..
UPDATE 9:02pm- Two comments on penalties in less than an hour. Poti got called for diving…what sweet justice. Now all they gotta do is call it on Crosby and we will make some progress
UPDATE 9:11pm- Another Rangers power-play. I’ve noticed that Wade Redden and Michael Roszival are still on the top unit. Anybody else pick that up?
UPDATE 9:21pm- The Rangers have been the most consistent penalty killing team all season. Not only can they run out a penalty when they’re a man-down, but they’re even better at it when they’re a man up! A 5-on-3, followed by almost a full 3 minutes with a man-up and not one quality scoring opportunity. It’s hard to believe that one unit, in professional hockey no less, can be so inept for an entire season. And how Marc Staal has seen nearly zero power-play time is mind-boggling….
UPDATE 9:42PM- Time for the shootout. A predictably back and forth OT session. Lundqvist really made some keys saves when he had to. As previously stated, first team to 5 is gonna win this game.
UPDATE 9:49PM- Rangers 5, Caps 4. What a finish!!! A great stage was set between Ovechkin and Lundqvist with the game on the line, with Alexander the Great beating King Henrik through the five-hole. Callahan then gets a well-deserved bounce on the ensuing shot (#1 star of the game in my opinion). Then after a great display of moves and hands, Lundqvist makes a great, patient save on Brooks Laich to put the game away. A truly great effort from the Rangers tonight, stopping the bleeding with a huge home victory. Hopefully the Rangers can use this to get on a bit of a roll. The next few practices and off-ice work will be key for the Rangers, as the coaching staff has to work extremely hard to keep them focused and motivated. A very solid win tonight though. Certainly the type of game this team needed