Category: Playoffs

Goal breakdown: Ribiero puts Rangers on the brink

This was a tough one. The Rangers played a very good game again, but came up short in overtime for the second time this series. After giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead early, Brian Boyle undid his goodwill by taking a stupid penalty by slashing Mike Ribiero. Naturally, the Caps scored on the powerplay, and eventually won it in overtime. Henrik Lundqvist stood on his head again, but Braden Holtby was also equal to the task. Both made some great stops to keep the game tied. Now it’s do or die in New York on Mother’s Day. On to the goals:

Rangers 1, Caps 0

One step in the wrong direction, goal.

One step in the wrong direction, goal.

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ECQF Game Five: Best of three

Photo Credit: Washington Post

Photo Credit: Washington Post

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a series. The Rangers held serve at home, tying the series at two games apiece in the process. Now the series shifts to Washington with the Rangers knowing they can outscore Washington if need be. That is a big mental advantage for a club that is nowhere near as skilled as the Caps. The bad news is that Marc Staal is still out, and likely will be for the remainder of the series. The Rangers have won without him, and a win tonight gives the Rangers a chance to clinch at home on Sunday.

Be sure to catch up on everything you need to know for this series:

Game Four goal breakdown
Game Three goal breakdown
Game Two goal breakdown
Game One goal breakdown
How the Caps will match up lines
Keys for Ranger success
Special teams may decide series
Scouting Braden Holtby
Previewing the Caps systems
Caps will be a tough series for the Rangers

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Goal breakdown: Rangers even the series in a heart-stopping game

Game Four was one of the best games the Rangers have played all year. They came out strong, played a physical game, played good defense, and generated a lot of scoring chances. The game itself was very exciting as well, but the Rangers appeared to trade chances with a Caps team that is much more skilled than them. This is what caused the Rangers to blow their initial two goal lead and almost blow their second two goal lead. They eventually held on in a frantic final three minutes to even the series.

These were two HUGE wins for the Rangers on home ice to even the series. Any loss at home would have all but clinched the series for the Caps. Now, the Rangers head back to Washington with a lot of momentum heading into Game Five.

Rangers 1, Caps 0

Braden Holtby, who is usually good with the puck, handled the puck at the boards and tried to clear the puck up the middle. Taylor Pyatt knocked down the clearing attempt, and it went straight to Carl Hagelin with Holtby out of the net. Hagelin’s shot was blocked, but Brad Richards was able to put it into the open net. There is no picture on this because A) It’s not needed, and B) They were blurry. Sorry about that.

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ECQF Game Four: Caps at Rangers in another must win

Photo: AP

Photo: AP

The Rangers won Game Three, which was a must-win. Funny thing is that Game Four is also a must-win. The Rangers can ill-afford to head to Washington down 3-1, so tonight is another game where the Rangers need to get their W. The good news is that Ryane Clowe is back, in place of the injured Darroll Powe. This means that for the first time, the Rangers have all of their key players dressing (Powe notwithstanding). The crowd was raucous on Monday, and they need to be even rowdier tonight.

Be sure to catch up on everything you need to know for this series:

Game Three goal breakdown
Game Two goal breakdown
Game One goal breakdown
How the Caps will match up lines
Keys for Ranger success
Special teams may decide series
Scouting Braden Holtby
Previewing the Caps systems
Caps will be a tough series for the Rangers

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Debunking the myth that Henrik Lundqvist isn’t a great playoff goalie

Chuck Myers/Getty Images

Chuck Myers/Getty Images

For reasons unbeknownst to me, some members of the national media seem to be under the impression that Henrik Lundqvist has been a failure as a playoff goaltender.

I could understand that sentiment a little prior to last season, but a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2012 should have quashed any conversation about Lundqvist’s postseason struggles.

Instead, an ugly stat had been making the rounds – Lundqvist has allowed three or more goals in 29 of his 58 playoff starts – and a suspect goal off the stick of Jason Chimera in Game One brought some of Lundqvist’s old critics out of the woodwork. Read more »

Some problems solved in Game Three, but a big new one emerges

Marc Staal returned last night, will Ryane Clowe follow on Wednesday? (Photo: Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports)

Marc Staal returned last night, will Ryane Clowe follow on Wednesday? (Photo: Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports)

What, you thought this was going to be easy?  The 2011-2012 Rangers came within two points of winning the President’s Trophy and still needed two seven-game series to get to the Eastern Conference Finals, so why would the 2013 version, which had to scratch and claw just to get into the postseason, have an easier time?

So far in this series, all that’s happened is that each team has held its home-ice advantage.  New York must simply continue that pattern tomorrow night to even the series and there were plenty of reasons to believe that’s possible during last night’s thriller.

  • The power play, which had been the greatest source of frustration through two games, directly led to two goals and generated all kinds of pressure.  Conversely, the Rangers finally figured out that they need to stay out of the box against the NHL’s best power play.  It’s no coincidence that the team that had the special teams advantage has won every game of this series. Read more »

Goal breakdown: Rangers offense ignites

This was a wildly entertaining game tonight at Madison Square Garden. The Capitals came hard down low and created a lot of pressure on our d-men. Hank had to make some strong saves early and often to keep the boys in the game. For the Rangers, we were strong on the boards and were able to make plays all over the offensive zone in the 2nd half thanks to some very key pinches by our defense.

With four hard fought goals tonight for the Rangers, hopefully this is the spark that gets their 5-on-5 offense back where it needs to be. Although the Rangers were just 1 for 6 on the power play, I thought we looked much better in that regard. John Moore in particular was very decisive on the blueline and he was able to get hard, low shots on net. That’s all you can ask for at this point.

On to the goals…Dave’s got the first half…

Caps 1, Rangers 0

Nothing can be done here. Hockey happens.

Nothing can be done here. Hockey happens.

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ECQF Game Three: Caps at Rangers in a must win

Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Update: Marc Staal is back, and that is great news. That said, Clowe is not in the lineup.

OP: As this series comes to New York with the Rangers trailing 2-0, the only thing that matters right now is a victory. The Rangers might be getting Ryane Clowe back in the lineup tonight as Arron Asham appears to be scratched, and there’s a slight chance Marc Staal might come back as well, likely for Steve Eminger. Both are critical pieces in helping the Rangers get back in the series, but returning players won’t matter if the Rangers can’t make Holtby work. He’s a good goalie, but the Rangers have made it very easy on him. Shots to the net, and execution.

Be sure to catch up on everything you need to know for this series:

Game One goal breakdown
How the Caps will match up lines

Keys for Ranger success
Special teams may decide series
Scouting Braden Holtby
Previewing the Caps systems
Caps will be a tough series for the Rangers

Read more »

Is it time to give Kreider a chance on the top six?

He was effective last year. Maybe it's time to give him a real chance (Photo: AP).

He was effective last year. Maybe it’s time to give him a real chance (Photo: AP).

Let me begin by stating that I am not an advocate of playing Chris Kreider at the current moment. He has been very suspect defensively, and he just hasn’t been good without the puck. When he isn’t scoring, his role is severely limited on this team. I am still of the belief that Kreider needs to round out his game before he can get big time minutes.

That said, Kreider’s greatest assets are his speed and offensive potential. For a Rangers club that has mustered just one lucky bounce goal in two games these playoffs, it may be time to let the kid loose and see what he can do when given a chance with offensive minded players. At this stage of the series, the Rangers need goals, and they might be willing to sacrifice some defensive mindedness to find some goals.

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Goal breakdown: Green gives Caps 2-0 series lead

The Rangers couldn’t salvage the split in Washington, and are now heading home to New York down 2-0 in the first round. Mike Green’s overtime winner wasn’t a backbreaker for the series, but the Caps have all of the momentum on top of dominating the Rangers for a second straight game. This game wouldn’t have even gone to overtime if Henrik Lundqvist wasn’t phenomenal. This was the game he could have stolen for them, but the Rangers couldn’t finish.

Caps 1, Rangers 0

After a two-minute shift by Ryan McDonagh, the young defenseman made a very careless mistake and flipped the puck into the stands, an “automatic” delay of game. With the Caps on the powerplay, they set up in their 1-3-1 with Green, Alex Ovechkin, Nick Backstrom, Mike Ribiero, and Marcus Johansson and did what they did at an almost 27% clip during the regular season.

The initial setup.

The initial setup.

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