The Rangers should have won that game.
They had a chance to put the Bruins away and grab home ice and they flat out blew it.
As is almost always the case, with a chance to win the game on the power play, Torts’ team vomited another big fat zero.
It’s so simple really, which is what makes it so frustrating. The formula for playoff success is not complicated:
Have outstanding goaltending and win on special teams.
The Rangers have had half of that formula for all of Torts’ five year tenure here, yet they still can’t figure out a power play.
And if they don’t, they will continue to be a team whose goaltender steals them a playoff round and then runs out of gas because he is worn out from carrying a team that can’t make a difference on the man advantage through so many close games.
Last night the Blueshirts 0/3 on the power play plummeted their playoff total to 2/31.
That is completely ridiculous and it will most likely cost the Rangers a shot at the Cup.
In game 1, the first period was kind of boring. There wasn’t much sustained attack and the Bruins continually iced the puck what seemed like 27 times. It was your classic “feel each other out” snoozefest of a period.
The second period saw the pace pick up a bit and the Rangers played pretty well. But then at 12:33 Zdeno Chara wound up from the point. The Big Z sent a knuckling shot on Hank that squirted through his legs and trickled into the net as Lundqvist fell on the spinning puck.
The Rangers appeared to be heading to the third period down 1-0 when Rick Nash (No he still hasn’t scored) made a series of real good hockey plays in a the closing seconds of the period. First Nash, didn’t quit on the waning seconds of the frame and barreled down the wing getting a wrap around try on Tuuka Rask that the Bruins netminder sept away. As Tyler Seguin was about to blast the puck out of the B’s zone, Nash beat him to the puck and chipped it to Ryan McDonagh on the point. McDonagh unleashed a bomb that Nash leapt over avoiding getting hit with the rocket shot that beat Rask high with 1.3 seconds in the period. It was a great shift by Nash, but he still has to do more.
Buoyed by the crushing goal, the Rangers pounced on the B’s on the third period’s first shift. Carl Hagelin jumped on a loose puck in teh neutral zone and burst into the B’s zone. Hags threaded a pass through two Bruins to Derek Stepan who one-timed a bullet through Rask’s five hole from the high slot.
The go-ahead goal just 14 seconds into the third stunned the Boston crowd and left the Rangers with 19 minutes to a Game 1 victory on the road. But Steve Eminger took a bad holding penalty (See ya later team discipline!) at 1:09 to put the B’s on the power play.
On the man-advantage, Brad Marchand carried the puck into the Rangers zone cutting from the strong side to the weak. As he skated towards the wall and curled Brian Boyle blew a tire creating lots of open ice. Marchand dished to Dougie Hamilton at the point who passed to Torey Krug (hey look at that, two rookies on the PP in a playoff game!) at the other point. Krug walked to the top of the circles and fired a slapper over an outstretched Stepan that beat Hank under his arm for the equalizer. There was no deflection or screen and it was a goal that Lundqvist should have had.
The intensity was better for the remainder of the period and with 3:44 left, the Rangers were given a glorious chance to win the game and take home ice advantage back when Patrice Bergeron was whistled for hooking. This is the exact point where the Blueshirts should have dug down and won the game. But they didn’t as they came up empty yet again, cutting their power play short when John Moore interfered with Rich Peverley in front. The Rangers killed off the Moore penalty and headed to OT tied at 2-2.
The first two minutes of overtime were fairly even and then Derek Dorsett interfered with Rich Peverley along the wall and the game completely swung. The Bruins power play fired 6 shots at Lundqvist and completely dominated the rest of the OT.
Derick Brassard has been the Rangers best forward in the post season, but he made a terrible decision in the overtime. On a three on two rush, with McDonagh steaming to the net, rather than head to the net for a shot attempt, Brassard threw a parallel cross-zone pass to Nash at the top of the circles. Chara used his incredibly long reach to deflect the puck past Nash and off the wall. Marchand grabbed the loose puck and sent it to Bergeron in the nuetral zone. With McDonagh trapped, Marchand got tangled up with Zuccarello eventually shaking off the Ranger forward as he bolted for the net. Bergeron feathered a gorgeous pass to Marchand that the pesky winger one-touched through the King’s five hole for the game winner an the 1-0 series lead.
This was a game the Blueshirts should have had. Hank was amazing, with some help from the iron as the Rangers were outshot 48-35. But for the 9,000,000,000th time, the Rangers lost because they have no power play.
Sather should buy out Brad Richrads now. He is terrible. The once great set-up man is a turnover machine with the blind drop pass his preferred method of giving up the pill. He can’t pass any more and he can’t skate. The guy’s career is ending as we watch. His skills are gone. It’s not even fun to pile on the guy. It is getting sad.
The Rangers can bounce back from this. If they find a power play they will.
Let’s go Rangers!