Thoughts prior to Game 2

Montreal Gazette

To the surprise of many, the Rangers went out and stole game one against the Canadiens at the Bell Centre on Wednesday night, shutting out the Habs 2-0 on the back of the ever so rare Tanner Glass goal and turn-back-the-clock brilliance from Henrik Lundqvist. With game two looming this evening, I have some thoughts on game one and where the team goes from here…

1. Forgive me for beating a dead horse, but the performance of the defense was nowhere near what is necessary to get past this round. Nick Holden was abysmal. I would like to see Clendening in for him, but honestly, I think I would take Klein over what I saw from Holden Wednesday night.

2. Lundqvist looked the best I’ve seen him in a while on Wednesday. He looked fast, his angles were sharp and he was visually locked in. His puck tracking looked clean and his movements were efficient and fluid. Price on the other hand, never looked bad, but he never really got in his typical groove. The Rangers had him uncomfortable. He made some top-notch saves, but they did not look at natural as they typically do. He is always going to be ridiculously tough to beat consistently, but this is good foundation being laid by the offense.

3. If the Canadiens think this series can be played in the middle of the ice, I really like the Rangers’ chances. The offense has too much talent to be confined by a perimeter strategy. The Habs needs to force the pucks to the walls and force the Rangers to win those battles.  We will see how Claude Julien adjusts in game two. Now, I’m obviously not advocating that this happens, just an observation.

4. Who didn’t think Glass would step into a contested face-off and go bar down on the backhand. I’m pretty sure half of Twitter called that before the game.

5. That said, it is still a good result from bad process. There are superior options sitting the press box, and I really hope the sub-optimal lineup doesn’t come back to the bite the Rangers.

6. Back to the defense, there were far too many times, especially on the penalty kill that the Rangers failed to clear the zone when Montreal was mounting pressure. Girardi and Staal lost countless winnable footraces that allowed the Canadiens to retain possession. This type of breakdown has a high probability of haunting the Blueshirts later on in the series.

7. The whole goatee thing the team has going on? No. Just stop. For the love of God. I beg you. Whoever decided this was a good idea deserved to get whacked on the nose with a rolled up newspaper.

8.The NHL is in a tough spot when it comes to west coast games. It’s very difficult to engage with east coast fans due to the start times. There is a lot I’m willing to go to take in the whole playoff experience, but when I have to get up at 6am, I’m not staying up until 2am to watch the Ducks and Flames. I don’t have a good solution, because 4pm start times aren’t fair to the local fans, but considering the volume of hockey watchers on the east coast, it’s got to be a tough marketing pill to swallow.

9. So far, it’s looking like some plucky upstarts will give us reason to think they can push the favorites and create an upset environment, only to slowly give it back. The Leafs and Oilers have been such a tease…

That’s it for me this week. No matter what happens tonight, taking back home ice advantage from Montreal is a good result. Hopefully the team can build off of the things that worked on Wednesday and cut out some of the miscues. Only time will tell. Enjoy the game, everyone!

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  • i see the rangers continuing the hitting if the Canadians hit them and I see Henrik playing another strong game and I also see Nash getting a goal tonight as well

  • The only way to beat price is take shots he can’t see. Need a lucky bounce of of a stick or skate.

    Need to take smart shots through screens. Last game could have been 4-0 if a couple of those shots would have dinged in off the post.

    Oscar Lindbergh gets the goal.

    • The Rangers were challenging Price’s glove hand an awful lot in game 1. I don’t think he drops his hand too low, but they do.

  • I agree with sitting Holden, but not for Clendening or Klein, I prefer Kampfer. And lay off Staal and Girardi already, they both played great.

    • They played great because we won? Or we won because they played great?

      … in all seriousness though, how about that Girardi sequence against Pacioretty? That was awesome.

      • We all know Girardi has lost a step. No surprise there, so it’s no revelation or insight to point out that he got beat to the puck a couple times.

        It’s also not something that is going to make or break this series so long as he continues to play conservatively. I’m far less concerned about him getting beat to a loose puck along the boards then I am about him getting turned around at the blue line and allowing a forward to streak in uncontested. He hasn’t done that in a while. He –or the coaches– has recognized his flaws and has made good adjustments over the last month. What we need from him, and what he showed Wednesday night, was a willingness to linger back, stay positionally sound, and pound forwards when the opportunity presents itself. We’re a better team with him in the lineup than with any of the benched blueliners.

    • Absolutely agree with stapling Holden to the press box.. I think Kampfer can be more of a physical presence, and to a lesser extent, play Clendo over Klein. I fear that with the physicality of this series, one big hit on Klein with his back issues would cripple him.

  • I am hopeful the Rangers shook some Bell Centre HebbeeGeeBees, picked up a little swagger and show some confident play taking game 2.

    I agree Nash looks like he is ready to make some goals happen.


    As for the West coast games, the NHL should try to at the least schedule weekend games on that coast… making it possible to take in some games… at least the 1st 2 periods…

    Holden sucks! not much else to say at this point watching his game on the ice…

    • And Patrick Roy told us he was his best d-man when he coached Colorado?

      IMHO we need net front presents, total team defense, Hank standing on his head, and the stars to be perfectly aligned to win four against this team, with Price in net. That stated, let’s kick tail tonight!!!!!!!!!!

      As for the west coast, don’t worry about it until it becomes an issue………….

      • Spot on about the shots & need for net front presence, Price looks bored making most saves… we need to rattle that cage but good….

      • To be fair to Patrick, Colorado has been a really awful team for a few years. Holden very well could have been their best D, and that would explain a lot about the dumpster fire that is the Avalanche.

        • ….and Scott Gomez was good on the Devils, St Louie was all world in Tampa… YADA YADA YADA

          these references to past teams hold no water in my book, its all about Janet Jackson:

          “What Have You Done for Me Lately”

          especially with better options, or in Holden’s case, any options, sitting around waiting to get in the game…


          • To be clear, I wasn’t defending Holden, I was defending Patrick Roy.

            I’d give Holden tonight, maybe he was nervous in his first playoff game as a Ranger? If he continues to handle the puck like a hand grenade, I’d dress Clendening or Kampher in game 3. No Klein though, that guy is ready for the glue factory, slow skater with a bad back is a deadly combo.

          • Maybe, Barrie isn’t the most defensively gifted D. IT’s possible Holden is an all around better defender than Barrie. Again, the main point was that Colorado is a pretty terrible team and being the best Avs player is nothing to be proud of, unless your name is Matt Duchene.

  • Getting thengarbage gosl and getting a crowd in front of Price should definitely be a priority. Look for the Habs to try to do the same to Hank tonight.

  • If anything, this game will be twice as tough to win. Montreal will be livid. If we can snag a win tonight, I like our chances getting to June hockey.

    • It’s a given the Habs have to come out like gangbusters…

      Lets hope the Rangers are the more dangerous foe whose ready for the trouble… ya know

      in the immortal words of Dalton in Roadhouse:
      I want you to be nice until it’s time to not be nice.

      • I mean, with Glass being the guy that got the one goal past either goalie, this series seems like it will come down to a goaltender battle. Price is elite, but I was really impressed with Hank. He played like he knows he might not ever have another shot at this. He looked absolutely possessed by the need to win.

  • Rangers must score the 1st goal and stay out of the box early on. If they start hitting early it will puzzle the Habs and give them a good chance to weather the storm early on. Agitate Gallagher into a penalty early on too will help with setting the tone in their favor.
    2nd period on turn on the jets and go go go.

  • Ready for a 5-2 rangers win tonight…….
    Expect Nash and Kreider to get us going with early goals and big hits……Monster game also from Brady Sjekl after no call on getting cheap shotted…..
    Tanner glass gives his best impersonation of Sean Avery and screens Price for deflection and his second goal!
    Once this game starts to open up, smaller, slower Canadian team cant keep up………
    Defense must continue to hit and play nasty! No one should touch Lunquist without IMMEDIATE retaliation!
    Keep Pacioritty off the scoreboard and we win easily…….

  • Responding to your points Justin…

    1) Yes, I’ve been a supporter of Holden. But boy, was he hideous in Game 1! I know everyone is obsessed with Clendening like they were with McIlrath, but he’s no better option from what I’ve seen. He’s done as a Ranger and he quite possibly won’t even be in the league next year. Yet we overrate him because the fancy stats say we should.

    If I’m the coach, to me it’s between sticking with Holden, or going with Klein or Kampfer. I know Holden has certainly had a rough stretch, but let’s not forget he is the Rangers leading goal scorer on defense. He also was pretty solid in his one prior playoff experience in 2014, scoring three goals in seven games. Not too shabby! Those things DO count for something.

    On the other hand, you could go with the trusted veteran Klein, who has a lengthy playoff pedigree. Or, you could go with the solid but unspectacular Kampfer.

    If it’s me, I would have had a conversation or tape session with Holden following Game 1. Correct the mistakes and see where his head is. Having won Game 1, you can afford to give him another chance if you want to. That’s probably what i would do in Game 1. But no doubt, he should be on a very short leash now.

    • Klein is the smart choice… AV has to see it too…

      He has been there in games we need him to be… Its the playoffs, he has experience… get him in the game baby!!!

    • Eddie, I was down on Clendening most of the year. But I have to say, he finally showed improvement after the 50 game mark. He didn’t look as nervous with the puck and was finally capable of completing most of his passes. It’s as if the game, finally, slowed down for him. The frustrating part is that it took almost a whole season for that to happen, which is probably why most teams give up on the guy.

      As for Klein, not this year, his back needs to be fixed. Dude is a warrior but he can’t skate at the moment. Kampher and Clendening are the 7/8 Ds for me.

      Agree on Holden, he gets tonight and then a decision needs to be made. As for his 3 goals in the 2014 playoffs, 2 of those were on the PP. For a guy that doesn’t look like an offensive D, he certainly has a knack for timing his drives to the net on the PP.

      • And you may well have nailed why Holden is in there….to give our erratic PP the best chance to succeed.

        • Except Holden barely plays on the PP. He may get the 3rd shift, which is miniscule or if the Rangers decide to play two D on the PP he’ll get some time.

          And he shouldn’t. Skjei and McD, are better options back there.

      • Chris

        Not defending Clendening but it may have taken him that long to get enough games under his belt to feel comfortable with AV’s system.

        Just try to remember when AV first got here, the entire team, and especially the defense, looked like pure garbage, until they collectively felt comfortable enough to do what the coach expected of them. My two cents worth!!!!!!!

        • Extremely astute point Walt. Smith was quoted in an article I read today saying he is STILL trying to adjust to this system.

          (For some reason I flashback to the movie “Miracle”. Brooks is explaining his complex system to the players. He skates away and one says to another “What’s he saying?” “No Clue!”).

          However, six organizations now in three seasons for Clendening should be a huge red flag for everyone going to bat for him. Next year will almost assuredly be his 7th, assuming he even makes an NHL team. Obviously, there is a reason for this. And perhaps its just this simple–despite the analytics, which only tell you part of the story, maybe the NHL community just doesnt think he’s very good.

          • Don’t misinterpret my post, I’m really not a fan of the guy, but just trying to explain what could be going on??????

        • Yeah, that’s a really good point Walt.

          The shift from Torts to AV was about as radical a shift as you could make. Torts was zero puck pressure and 100% shot blocking and lane clogging, while AV is 100% puck pressure while overloading the ‘puck side’ of the ice at the risk of opening up passing lanes and keeping the backdoor unguarded.

    • Holden has reverted to the start of the season performance, which was deer in the headlights awful. His production was a statistical anomaly.

      Klein is shot, no strength in his stride. So he can’t catch up and me doesn’t have the power to move guys from the slot. That’s a great combo in ther playoffs.

      Kampfer is plausible as he plays with some grit and Montreal isn’t big enough to overpower him.

      Clendening’s biggest flaw is he’s weak against the boards. Everything else in his game would make him 2nd pair on this team, 3rd pair on most others.

  • Is it just me or have the Rangers lost their last 30 game 2 playoff games? Seems that way, so the odds say it’s time for a Game 2 win. This series will be won & lost on the boards, sounds like Rangers did very well in that area in Game 1.

    • You are not far off Paul. Post-lockout, our Game 2 record is pitiful.

      Renney 2-3
      Torts 1-6
      AV 3-6, including winning Game 2 last year.

      Total 6-15.

      This team rarely has been able to easily put teams away in post-season. AV has won five playoff series, but all but one went the full seven. Torts won three playoff series, and every one went the full seven. Ironically, only Tom Renney was able to make short work of an opponent each time in his two playoff wins.

      You and I debate Torts vs AV all the time. Hey, maybe we are both missing the boat and we should bring back Renney! 🙂

      This is why I call them the no-margin-for error Rangers. Great teams will put at least one or more of their opponents away without having to go the distance. Good teams have to slog through. The ’94 Rangers bulldozed the Islanders and Caps, thus making it possible to have enough in the tank to prevail in the epic semi-finals and finals that followed. That teams had the great talent needed to make that happen. The past ten years we’ve had good talent. Big difference.

      • Correction. I short changed AV. Of his five playoff series wins, three went the distance (2014 rounds one and two, and 2015 round two). The other two went either five or six games.

        Bottom line, it would be nice to see a somewhat stress-free series for a change in the early rounds.

      • Of course, you realize you are talking about 21 games with the same goaltender. Lundqvist is simply not someone who treats every game the same. Sometimes he is super-focused – Olympics, Game 7s, last night, e.g. Sometimes he has average focus; sometimes he just doesn’t come to play. Game 2 seems to be the prime example of this. This is one reason the Rangers rarely have an easy series.

        One bright spot may be that Hank isn’t quite the goalie he was and may realize he needs to step up his game every night now and not just when it suits him.

        • Oh boy! Here we go!

          Of course, the reason these series went long was because of Hank. It surely had nothing to do with our mostly unimpressive offensive “talent” these last few years. Unbelievable. But not surprising. Most everyone on the highest levels of the hockey world will tell you Hank has been a tremendous playoff of the very best in the modern history of the sport. You’ve decided to “Go Your Own Way”, (apologies to Fleetwood Mac). Hey, there were people who hated Richter when he was here. Said Beezer was better. Even after Richter won the Cup, he had his detractors who said it wasn’t about him–play Healy. Mickey Mantle was booed mercilessly in the 50’s until Maris showed up, and then he was booed! If we look hard enough, I’ll bet we could find some folks who think that Lincoln was overrated, and Andrew Johnson was actually the better president! 🙂

          There’s a few in every crowd. But fortunately none of you are running the Rangers or any other NHL franchise. 🙂

          Not that Hank has been stellar in every game or even every series, of course not. But here are some nuggets for you….

          2006….we will throw this out because Hank was a rookie, was totally worn out from the Olympics, and Jagr was hurt in Game 1. Team was a mess come playoffs and we had no chance even if Patrick Roy had been in there.

          2007….After an uneven Game 1, he shut the door Games 2-4 on a very good Thrashers team that had won their division. Rangers sweep a playoff series for the one and only time post-lockout. Hank was a wall.

          The next round vs. Buffalo was Hank’s true coming out party. That team was SO good, and the Rangers were huge underdogs. As usual, other than Game 6, the team couldn’t score. Hank stood on his head and made it a series vs a far superior opponent. Particularly impressive was his play in that double OT game 3 at MSG, and in the heartbreaking OT loss in Game 5. We get our doors blown off without Hank in that one.

          2008….Hank was terrific in the first two games on the road against a still good Devils team. No doubt games 3-5 were more average performances. But Brodeur was awful in that series. Maybe he’s overrated too?

          Next series, it was men against boys. Ho hum Rangers team that wasn’t even in the Pens league. He wasn’t good in Games 1 and 3. Was stelllar in the others. But again, the talent differential here was ridiculous.

          2009–Again, ENORMOUS difference in talent between the Caps and Rangers. Despite that, Hank was uttterly brilliant, especially in Games 2, 4 and 7. Other than Game 1, the Rangers offense was inept.

          2011–Carbon copy of 2009. Inept Rangers pop gun offense. Hank doing all he can to stand on his head. Two heartbreaking OT losses.

          2012–Maybe Hank at his most brilliant. Rangers are now a legitimately good team, but still cant score. They go 7 games vs a mediocre Ottawa team, 7 games vs a good Caps team. Hank is simply sensational in both series. But how much can we expect out of one person? Doesn’t mental fatigue enter into it eventually? If the Rangers had just had some modicum of playoff scoring ability, and maybe if the first two series didnt require Hank to be god-like, he would have been a little fresher in the next series. The Rangers and Hank just seemed gassed by the time they played the Devils, who had a much, much easier path against a Swiss cheese Flyers team.

          2013–In a shortened season, the records weren’t very different but there’s little doubt who the better team was on paper. The Caps were loaded and were expected to make a deep playoff run. Hank was BRILLIANT in the game 2 and game 5 OT losses. His performance in Game 6, with the season on the line, was one of the greatest I’ve ever seen. And miraculously, for one game, game 7, the Rangers actually gave their goaltender a reason to breathe. And he shut the door. Back to back shutouts with the season on the line. Caps are crushed again, and an inferior (talent wise) Rangers team advances.

          Against the Bruins, again, talent gap was pretty significant. The Rangers pop gun offense returned. Bruins had more weapons. Hank pushed the team to two OTs, but hard to win when, other than Game 4, you cant score.

          2014–Hank at his most brilliant, carrying a very average Rangers team to cusp of the Cup. Another slog of a opening round series vs the Flyers, mostly because our offense went dry—-again! But Hank rises to the occasion in games 1, 3, 4, 5 and yes, obviously, 7, where he truly shines. Another great series win that doesnt happen without the King in nets.

          Then they play the absolutely loaded Pens. Everyone remembers the “Marty’s Mom” narrative, but everyone forgets what the Rangers were up against with the schedule. Between the end of the Flyers series and the beginning of the Pens series, the Rangers were forced to play an absurd 6 games in 9 nights against the more rested and vastly more talented Pens. This is THE greatest Rangers series upset I’d say since the 1986 playoffs, and was Hank’s GREATEST playoff series win. Other than Game 5, he got little help from our “elite” scorers and it was Hank just shutting the door in Games 5-7 to pull off one of the most improbable series wins I’ve ever seen. Notice the pattern Ray….the deeper these series go, the BETTER he usually gets. That’s the mark of true greatness–extraordinary focus and mental toughness, especially since he typically gets little in the way of breathing room.

          Then Montreal. Again, even with Price out, taking Game 1 and the aberrational Game 5 out of the mix, the pop gun Rangers offense STILL cant do much. Hank was out of body in Game 2, that’s how brilliant he was. In Game 6, he makes his unbelievable helicopter save and carries the team to the SCF. He wasn’t brilliant every game, but he was brilliant when it mattered most…as usual.

          Against LA, the ice was tilted seemingly the entire series. We were dominated in every game except Game 3. The only reason we weren’t swept and embrassed 5-0 every game was because of Hank. Our offense for all but one game was pitiful.

          2015– Pop(gun) goes the Rangers offense yet again. Unable to put away a compromised Pens team, it was up to Hank to stand on his head…again! Every Ranger win was 2-1. If that doesn’t speak to greatness, I don’t know what does.

          Against the Caps, again, Hank’s mental toughness is tested and he responds brilliantly. The Rangers playoff offense is its usual inept self. Two sensational OT wins, and the Rangers somehow, behind Hank’s brilliance, advance again.

          Of all the playoff series I can think of, the one vs the Bolts in fairness was the one where I felt Hank wasn’t as good as he needed to be. He was brilliant in Games 1 and 4, and really good in the win in Game 6 and the losses in Games 5 and 7 when the Rangers offense again went AWOL. We learned later that virtually the whole defense was wiped out due to injury. And, we saw young talent emerge on that Bolts team. By the time we played them, they were simply better than we were, loaded with top tier offensive weapons that we simply didn’t have and still don’t have.

          But that being said, and I’m sure Hank would be the first to agree, he needed to make a few more stops in either Games 2 or 3 and perhaps it’s a different outcome.

          2016–Hank wasn’t good enough, but this was a throwback to the old days when frankly, it was men vs boys talent wise. The Pens were on an incredible roll. They were the far, far better team talent wise and it wasn’t even close. Hank was real good in Games 2 and 3, but not enough. Frankly, even Vezina Hank doesn’t stop THAT Penguin team with THAT Ranger team in front of him.

          So, has he been perfect? No. But again, there is NO doubt whatsoever that he has been the primary reason for the Rangers playoff success the past decade.

          Ray, while we do disagree on this, you clearly are very knowledgeable and know your stuff. Wasn’t it you that first said watch out for Murray last year? So if true, kudos to you. And we all have our positions we are locked into. But this is what I do believe. If we could assemble a team of NHL GM, coaches and scouts, and I could make my case and you could make yours, I have absolutely no doubt that few if any would agree with you that Hank has somehow NOT been a stellar playoff goalie, and in most seasons, the only reason the Rangers were a playoff team as opposed to a lottery team.

          • Hey, to make my point, needed some supporting facts…and Hank has had a long career! 🙂

          • Here’s the rub, Four-Three:

            Eddie’s a G-man. Some office at the dark end of The West Wing, or one of the alphabet soup intelligence agencies.

            Thus you, I, Coach Walt, Bobby B., Swarty (well, when he’s not in lockup), all us taxpayers are on the hook for his Roman-epic posts.

          • Your tax dollars at work. 🙂

            Definitely NOT a G-man (although I am a Giants fan, does that count?)

          • I’ll try to be briefer.

            Point 1. I was really not aware that anyone thought Healy should play ahead of Richter. In any case, the idea was absurd to me. So why attack me for someone else’s opinions.

            Point 2. What you have presented here is lots of anecdotal stuff. Obviously, when a guy plays as long as Hank has, you can find lots of good things to say. OTOH, if you try to look at stats, what you see is that, more or less, Hank has on balance been about as good in the playoffs as he has been in the regular season.

            Point 3. Lots of praise for the high points. Let’s ignore the low points. Give him a pass on 2006 and on 2016, but laud whenever possible.

            Point 4. It is a simple fact that Hank is 6-15 in Game 2 and nearly invincible in Game 7. Why is the second fact a testimony to his greatness and the first an irrelevancy? You can’t step up when everything is on the line if you played at your peak yesterday.

            Eddie, the issue at hand was the fact that somehow the Game 2 Rangers have not been equal to the Game 1 and Game 3 Rangers in recent years. This can’t be because the opposing teams were somehow great in Game 2, nor because the Rangers somehow lacked talent in Game 2. This is a phenomenon that has occurred with different coaches and different players – the only constant has been Hank.

          • 1. I was not attacking you for Richter/Healy. I was making a point that there are always detractors out there for any great athlete. For what it was worth, back in the day of AOL hockey chat rooms back in the 1990s, Richter was even more of a target believe it or not post-Cup than Hank is now. Agree, it was absurd.

            2. It’s a fair point but my point is he has been BRILLIANT in so many more situations than he has fallen short. And, again, how many retired numbers or future HOFers will he be able to say were his teammates that were in their prime? Not many. The overwhelming burden for success has fallen on him.

            3. I think 2006 is more than fair to punt. I didnt give him a pass on 2016. And I didnt give him a pass for 2015. I said he wasn’t good enough, but we had NO chance in last year’s series. None. No goalie, even a future HOF goalie, can be great every series.

            4. Hank has a 2.70 GAA in 20 Game 2s. Clearly, it’s not his best game. But in 9 of those games, he allowed 2 goals or less and still LOST 3 of them. One of his 3 goal allowed losses was in OT. So that’s four games where, if any semblance of offense shows up, he’s 10-10. Every game 2 win on the other hand has been directly because of his efforts. My point is, he gets little to no help far too often. It’s the team in front of him that tends to let him down in Game 2, more so than Hank.

            The good news is, the most egregious Game 2 issues happened in the Torts era. Over the last six under AV, they are 3-3. Much more reasonable.

          • The finals loss to the kings was due to
            1. us not being big enough or physical enough and getting pushed around especially in front of hank
            2. defense except for strallman letting us down
            3. offense not good enough
            4. Referees being inept not calling penalties on many LA hits, holding , interference etc
            However that being said…….
            We had leads going into 3rd period 3 times and lost all three games!!!!!!!!!! Hank needed to come up BIG in those games and didn’t!!!!!!!

          • That’s fair Rich, but really, how much of a burden can one athlete bear? To have pulled that off he would have had to have been Brodeur, Roy, Dryden all rolled into one. He’s a great, great HOF goalie. But what we were asking him to do, given the points you just made, would have required a nearly superhuman feat.

          • Concerning the last part, you give the Rangers too little credit. Yes, in the Renney years, Hank may have gotten the Rangers into the playoffs. But more recently, that is simply not true. In fact, this year, the Rangers easily made the playoffs and they did it with sub-par goaltending. HOFer or no, Hank had an off-year in the regular season and the team carried him, not vice versa.

            Please bear in mind that bad players don’t have off-years.

          • Hank was THE reason in 2011 and 2013 when we barely made the playoffs. He was the PRIMARY reason in 2012, his Vezina campaign.

            True, under AV, he was mostly great in the first two years but no doubt Talbot played a roll in that. Last year however, if not for Hank playing out of his mind (especially the first six weeks of the season) with a poor team in front of him, we likely DON’T make the playoffs at all.

            This year, more than fair, Hank was very ordinary for lengthy stretches. Agreed.

          • Holy smoke, E3.

            Slow day at NSA, NSC, Bill O’Reilly’s PR firm, Reelect Goldwater headquarters, or whatever political outpost you occupy?

            Forasmuch, about one third of the way through your Hugo-Chavez-meets-Fidel-meets-Kim Il Sung length oratorio I lost memory of your thematic underpinning.

            But gabba gabba hey, dug The Beezer reference.

      • Endeavoring to be accurate, I again shortchanged AV. His actual Game 2 record as Rangers coach is 3-5, not 3-6.

        So overall Game 2 record post-lockout is a slightly less pitiful 6-14. Most of the shortfall came during the Torts era.

        For whatever it is worth, AV is 3-3 in his last six Game 2s, so there’s that! 🙂

  • I hit “send” to soon. Continuing….

    2) Agree

    3) Agree to an extent, but I’m not as sold on this “juggernaut” Rangers offensive “attack” as some others out here are. If that does come to fruition, then yes, look out!

    4) You never know in the playoffs. The most unlikeliest of heroes can emerge.

    5) Define superior? An ineffective, inexperienced and possibly not 100% Buch? It appears he may not be ready for this moment. Who else? Pirri? Puempel? Pirri is this year’s James Sheppard who may be out of the league next year. Puempel has jouneryman written all over him for whatever is left of his NHL career. Meanwhile, Glass has been a part of two LENGHTY playoff runs in both Vancouver and NY, so we already know he CAN be a part of such success. I can’t speak to what happened in Vancouver, but ultimately falling short in 2015 had NOTHING to do with Glass.

    So, are there other options beyond Glass? Sure. Superior options? Not so sure.

    6) I think you are being way too harsh. Look, the defense is NOT the strength it once was, we all know that. But Girardi played a terrific game. Staal was solid enough. They are not going to be perfect. That game was about as well as we can realistically expect them to play (Holden excluded, since he MUST play better). My far bigger concern is our so-called team of untouchable offensive stars. That’s supposed to be the strength of the team. Sure, they were good. But as usual, finishing is a problem. If we lose this series, the lack of finishing ability will likely be why.

    7) I think the Rangers should have a no facial hair policy like the Yankees, but that’s just me. :). Was Ken Morrow the first prominent player to wear a beard? Of course, there was Lanny MacDonald’s famous mustache. Those guys are the troublemakers who started all this! 🙂

    8) Being in the TV world, and with many friends at NBC, I can tell you they really cant do much about it. The fact is, die hands like ourselves are the few who will care about a first round matchup on the west coast. Hockey, like baseball, has a strong regional presence (although not as strong as baseball in most cases), but national interest is just not there for most 1st round matchups. So better to capitalize on the highest regional audience, and that means deferring to favorable local start times. But what they did to me and others close to MSP the other night was simply disgraceful. No way that game should have started at 830pm local time.

    9). Yeah, you have wonder if both the Leafs and Oilers really blew a golden chance in their respective Game 1s. I still like the Oilers in their series though.

  • Yes the horse is truly beaten to death. If you believe the rangers defence is poor then all the other teams in league defence is abysmal. I would however like to see Clendening inserted in the lineup over Holden. He has a right hand shot and could provide a spark to ignite the Rangers offence. I expect the Habs to open up in game 2 and send in 2 men on the forecheck. This will leave them more vulnerable to the stretch pass which the rangers can take advantage of with their speed.

  • From the way Klein has looked most of the season I believe that his back must be giving him problems. His shot and passing have dried up. I am uncertain whether he’d be an improvement over Holden. If I were AV I would probably start Holden again and see if his play improves. If not, Clendo or Kampfer should take his spot at least for game 3 to see whether they can hack it if Klein is impaired physically.

    • Ya, I said the same thing earlier that when a guy’s play falls off dramatically, an injury is probably lurking in the background & these days teams never report the extent of player injuries. As an aside I hate posting from a friggin Ipad(my wife’s) when we are away like this weekend.

  • 3 Thoughts #1…..Being persistent every second of the game……….Every ……..Second…..of…….The……..Game !!!!! #2 Have an INSATIABLE need to get to and control the puck…..INSATIABLE !!!! #3 Keep bodies and the puck away from the front of the crease to help Henrik as much as possible……..LETS GO RANGERS !!!!!!!!

  • I don’t support any lineup changes. I haven’t had a chance to see many games this year, not living in NYC, but I don’t think I have ever seen Buch play as well as Glass did last night. I have never liked Glass, but he really played well – and remember, we are looking for a guy to play with Lindberg and Fast, not a top line player.

    Also, one further note about the fourth line. Hitters here serve value. The guys on the ice have four purposes: score goals, prevent opposing goals, allow other players to rest, wear out the opposing the players. [I guess I should have mentioned penalties.] A unit that doesn’t score and rarely is scored on is better if it actually takes a toll on the opposition.

    As to Holden, yes he was awful in this game. But it was just one game. Klein has been awful all year. Maybe Clendening is a better option, but that isn’t going to happen – it’s either Holden or Klein and I’ll stick with Holden for now.

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