Some thoughts after a full night’s sleep


Now that my head is clear:

There are some similarities between “last year’s Game 1 loss in Buffalo”: in the second round, and “last night’s meltdown against the Penguins”: In both instances the Rangers gave up five goals in a rowdy arena, and were preaching more prudent defensive work afterward.


The difference, though, is that while the Rangers seemed slighty dazed and even outclassed in that first loss to the Sabres, Game 1 this time only reinforced the belief that beating the Penguins is fully within the Rangers’ reach.

And let’s not mistake: the Rangers were dreadful last night, with regards to their puck management, in taking too many penalties (legitimate or not), and in allowing the Penguins way too much room to maneuver. And when it comes to Crosby and Co., talk of their quick-strike capability was more than just pre-series bluster.

But even with all that, this was not a tone-setting, wake-up call as much as it was simply a game they could have won — and after taking a 3-0 lead, should have won — and didn’t.

So now it’s Penguins 1, Rangers 0, and at the risk of the obvious, tomorrow becomes huge.

“Our team’s good at turning the page,” Tom Renney said. “This wasn’t our best game by any stretch. We’ll be here Sunday. We’ll be ready to go.”

The Penguins skate at 11:30 and the Rangers go at 1:30. I’ll check in later…

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  1. Perfectly put Sam. I agree with everything you said 100% What is the atmosphere like there within the Pens locker room? In some of the video I saw with interviews and such they didn’t exactly look like they were whistling dixe and kicking their heels. I think they are fully aware that we are for real and that they better prepare. I just know that we are in their heads. Do you get that impression Sam?

  2. Very hard loss to take, but this team has heart & has bounced back all year, & will do so Sunday. Nothing has changed. We still only need to win 1 out of first 2 to take over home ice advantage, just like before game 1, and we can still do that on Sunday.
    Both teams got bounces & breaks, just that Pens got a little more including that weak penalty call at the end.
    I didn’t even know a puck could ever get thru the space between the skate blade & the boot like it did on that one goal for another deflection.
    Good news is that Pens are easier to score off than Devils. Bad news is they are so much more potent that defense has to be tighter than it was in Game 1.
    Go Rangers.

  3. Victory was within reach last night and they spit the bit. Avery celebrating as if they won the Cup after the third goal.

    The Devils had plenty of chances vs. NY but could not finish. The Penguins can. This is going to be a quick series.

  4. well well what are we goin to do one loss we now know we are not invinceable this might have done wonders for a team who came into the second round last year thinking we were the best all this game did was knock us down a couple of notchs. instead of laying back we need to bring the game to them and let MS. Sindey Crawford know how to play smash mouth hockey

  5. 3-0 lead means nothing against these guys. There was not enough hitting, bad in the defensive zone, and certain players need to step it up.

  6. I think we saw that the Rangers can skate with the Penguins. Even playing run and gun. Yes the Penguins outscored the Rangers but two goals were off Rangers. Definitely gotta tighten up the defense. I’m not certain but I think the Rangers actually won the special team battle since they were 1 for 3 on the pp while Pittsburgh was 1 for 5 (reverse that for pk Rangers successful 4 out of 5 while Pens succesfull 2 out or 3). You gotta be able to hold a 3 goal lead and the Rangers shouldn’t let themselves be in the situation where the refs can ‘determine’ the outcome.
    Yeah Straka got a misconduct (how he was worse than Sutter and all the devils who got nothing I don’t know) Renney was pissed at the officiating at the Rangers and probably at himself.
    As for line changing how about this. Since Jagr is strong and has been skating better than he has all year double shift him. Make lines like
    Straka- Dubie- Jagr
    Dawes- Drury- Callahan
    Avery- Gomez- Jagr
    Sjo- Betts- Orr (I think Orr was a little rusty after not playing for so long and I think he will be better next game)
    Use Shanahan for pp and pk. If Jagr is tired (had an extra long shift or something) put Shanny in his normal spot. He will get less minutes and be more effective- quality over quantity?
    Anyway Game 2 is huge now. I said it somewhere else. I think the Rangers proved they can skate with the Penguins in their building. If the Rangers win game 2 now Pittsburgh goes to MSG where they haven’t won this year and they need to prove they can play at the Garden. You know what I mean? Or do I not make sense? Anyway what do you guys think?

  7. Anyone who thinks this series is over does not understand the game of hockey and has not watched the whole season. Most of us on here live and die with this team. Even when we are angry and have doubts, we still believe in this team. This team has given us every reason to believe that they can win and beat the Penguins. If you want to throw in the towel as a fan then go right ahead and do it, but we don’t really need to hear about it on here. We are going to take this series back starting tomorrow and we are going to win it. They didn’t meet my or anyone else’s expectations for more than half the season, but since then they have definitely met mine and more. It was one frigin game. I knew some people would have this attitude. Thank god you don’t play on the team. Those that throw in the towel that fast are better suited to watch from the stands. I think a lot of us have actually played, and hopefully played in some big games. It is not over until it is over. It makes me sick that I even have to say this after one loss in which both teams played like SHIT! It reminded me of NHL 06 with the offsides off. Just run and gun pond hockey. If we think we can play that way and win the series we are nuts. We might win 1 game like that, but that is it. Get back to how WE play and WIN boys!

  8. If Avery pointed his stick in someone’s face waht would have happened? Two minute misconduct? ten minute misconduct? I doubt we would have had only a warning…

    The Rangers can and will play a lot better on Sunday, the important thing is we need to split these two games and we still can.

  9. The only thing that helped me get “some” sleep after last night was that we do “turn the page” after a bad L, i.e. after the montreal mess we played some of our best hockey of the regular season.

    Also, I’m reaching with this thought, but I am hoping the NHL saw Crosby dive & will be more conscience of making those ridiculous calls for the rest of the series (i know it is wishful thinking).

    Regardless, it is the playoffs, you can not lose a 3-0 lead!! Defense has to play better & stay out of the box!

    I truly believe we have the leadership & mental toughness to get past game 1. Past has shown us that we do, so I expect a great effort from this team game 2 & the rest of the series.

  10. yes we played pretty dreadful, not naming a few, but please Crosby is an embarrassment to the league with his stuff

  11. Dr. Ogrodnick bows to Leetch on

    Not a good nights sleep, still angry.

    But I take heart in the fact that despite playing like crap for around 45 of the 60 minutes and blowing a 3 goal lead, it still took a terrible call on an obvious dive to give the game to the Pens. As long as the refs don’t decide to push an agenda, this team is beatable.

  12. Sam
    Love your blog, but frankly every game is big. With the Rangers up 3-1 to NJ, Game 5 was big to prevent a momentum shift. Bottomline is that we need to bring it on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday ……
    Its time to start pounding the Pens. This D will cough it up under pressure. Do any of their fwds get back and support the D (Sykora, Hossa, Dupuis). I don’t think so.

  13. Usually I’m angry after Rangers loss but I got over it already. We played bad and we lost and it took a bad penalty to lose, we were still in the game despite penalties, turnovers, lapses and unlucky bounces. That is good and I’m sure we’ll turn the page on Sunday.

  14. Ser Question: Do you think they will put Hollweg back in? I don’t particularly like the guy, but this may be the case where you really need that threat of him crushing your ribs into the boards. And jesus, Dupuis…wtf? Someone kill him please? Maybe we shoulda kept that guy.

  15. I Hate Crybabies on

    I think most reporters had it right when they said Sidney Crosby was the factor in the Penguins turning point last night. He timed those dives perfectly!

    In all seriousness, Rangers were outstanding for about 25 minutes and then they fell apart. They are #1 to blame in last night’s loss. Sidney, however, comes in a very very close second. Take the whiner out, and you have a decent hockey game!

  16. There are clearly two sides to the story of last night’s game…one being that the refs decided a game that looked headed for overtime, but secondly that the Rangers allowed it to get there by blowing a 3-goal lead. That can’t happen in the playoffs, it simply can’t.

    That said, I thought the team did play okay last night. It looked to me more like mental lapses of a few minutes that cost them the game. I thought for some large chunks of time, they were very good disrupting the Penguins coming through the neutral zone. I thought we were the more physical team, though the statisticians somehow gave Pitt the edge in “hits.”

    Sunday truly is a new day, cliche or not. A smarter game gives the Rangers a 1-1 series tie and a raucous Garden crowd to play for on Tuesday night. Oh yeah, let’s pepper Fleury…this guy is BEAT.


  17. Yeah, take the reigning MVP out of the game sure would be pretty nice huh?

    Dude is good, but it might be worth it to crosscheck his teeth into his throat… I wish we had a Pronger to just break his jaw ALA Roenick

  18. Actually, we should bring Graves out of retirement to tomahawk Crosby like he did Lemieux so many years ago.

    Some one should point that out to the current roster a tomahawk chop, a 50 goal season, a Cup and eight years in the uniform gets your number retired.

  19. ThisYearsModel on

    We played like crap and far too passively. We need to play physically against the Diver. Constantly be in his face. Make him retailiate. Time to sic Avery on him. Also, bench the useless Orr and replace him with Hollweg or Prucha.

  20. I agreee with the sediment that seems to be in place. “The Game 1 Dive” as it shall be known, was the icing on the cake of a game that we should have put away by tightening up like we’ve done so many times before.

    Oddly enough. When pitt scored their 2nd goal, I told my brother it’d take 5 to win this one.

    I’m not distraught after that loss. The reasons were obvious. And I have faith that they will be corrected before tomorrow’s game.

    I still can’t get over the the talent-level difference between NJ and Pitt. I’m sure the players noticed that too.

  21. Maybe Crosby didn’t dive, maybe he fell.That’s not really the issue. The issue is that if he goes to the ice, the opposition gets a penalty. Obviously Sutherland just saw SC go down, and rushed to blow the whistle. Just like earlier in the game when Crosby lost his edge curling around the goal, and Dubinsky, being the nearest opposing player, was given a penalty by Koharski even though the Ranger had not only not fouled him, but hadn’t even touched him. So it’s clear there’s an unstated rule: Crosby falls, nearest opponent gets a penalty. Now that the Pens are playing a big market team where every game is going to be dissected in the media, the NHL is at real risk of losing credibility in the honesty of its officiating. Don’t think it’ll matter? Ask the NBA.

  22. After a night of trying to go to sleep, I though and thought, and I thoought. And when I woke up, I still felt the same…..
    The refs were terrible, Versus is garbage, and Sidney Crosby can still win an Olympic medal on the high dive.

  23. good call beer me.
    I just disinvited everyone from my house tomorrow. I wanna stay home drink a beer by myself and hopefully enjoy the game. It just sucks that if the rangers have a 4 goal lead we can’t even get excited.

    On the avery thing everyone saying he celebrated like he won the cup. Having a three goal lead in the playoffs is huge I can’t blame him for celebrating till the puck drop. The problem was thy they went home after that goal. They still thought they were playing the terrible devils.

  24. Nasty 1,
    I’m with you, this Pitt team is very beatable, the Rangers overall didn’t look sharp, and I think 7 days off added alot of rust and mental lapses…this loss could actually be good for the youth…a little adversity anyone? Dubi, Staal,Etc. get to see how the JJ, Shanny etc. react to a game 1 loss.
    I believe in this team, Renney is an incredibly smart coach and will make the necessary changes.
    Believe People!

  25. Dr. Ogrodnick bows to Leetch on

    NY fan,

    I’m not sure the Olympics lets girls compete in the high dive.

  26. what’s with all this talk about hollweg? are you guys serious? you do realize for every good hit he has, there’s about 4 hits that he completely misses and takes himself out of the play.

    orr was a bit shaky last night but believe me he’s a lot more valuable in this series than hollweg.

    orr touches the puck, he can clear it or fight for possession in the corners. hollweg touches the puck, i’m willing to bet his shot/pass will be blocked or wide.

    emotions will be higher in the remaining games and the enforcers have, so far, been quiet. if there’s someone that has to protect our stars, i’d rather it be orr than hollweg.

    i’m sure hollweg is a nice guy and great to have in the locker room but there’s nothing he’s exceptionally great at.

    bring back daren langdon!

  27. I actually kinda do believe. Next game is crucial though.

    “Time to sic Avery on him”

    It just might be… Crosby seem sto have no shame though, and that makes him much harder to get to mentally.

  28. Renney lost control of his team last night after they were up 3-0. Until that point, they had been playing 1-4, just snuffing out the Pittsburgh offense, playing a negative game and waiting for chances. It was working: the slow pace was taking the crowd out of it, and once the Rangers scored their first, the crowd was silent. We were stinking them out with our negative game, and thanks to a defelction on the PP, Drury’s deflection/Fleury’s idiocy, and a soft goal on the Avery shot, we were in great shape. All we had to do was keep stinking them out.

    Instead, our forwards just stopped back checking and had lousy defensive coverage when they did, our defense forgot how to clear the puck out of the zone, and we started trying to run and gun with them. Look at the score once that happened, 5-1. The way to beat Pittsburgh is the way we played them for the first 30 minutes. Highly disciplined, boring, negative, DEVILS hockey. They have two dangerous lines, and we need to make sure we are thinking defense/counter attack/possession when they are on the ice. We can’t be thinking high risk/high reward offense because they will bury us if we miss.

    It’s not an entertaining prospect, but I’d rather stink my way to the Cup than be swept in 4 exciting games.

  29. Dr. Ogrodnick bows to Leetch on

    We did a terrible job clearing the zone all night. It just didn’t start burning us until the middle of the 2nd.

  30. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

    I didn’t know this until a friend pointed it out earlier, but Straka got 10-min misconduct at the 20min mark of the third last night!!!! Sam, did you know that? Do you know why?

    The great versus broadcast never showed Straka upset, but I’m sure he was complaining about the powerplay and ensuing goal. Funny how Colin white and John Madden never got those penalties, but we actually saw them complaining.

  31. First point it hit me today: Sid the Kid is one of the best two sport athletes of our day . . .hockey and diving- he could win awards with both.
    I think Orr would be better than Hollweg he hits cleaner and plays the puck more often.

    And in order for the NHL to lose credibility the media would actually have to point out the dive but they don’t they go with what the refs say.

    Whoever pointed out the SC rule (when Sid falls closest opposition player gets a penalty- that was a good call!)

    What did you guys think about my lines earlier? SO that Shanny stays fresher with less minutes?

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