So this is meaningless

76

All of the first-round matchups in the East are set:

Boston-Montreal
Washington-Rangers
Devils-Carolina
Philadelphia-Pittsburgh

Here is the Rangers-Capitals season series, although that means about as much as tonight’s game in Philly for the Rangers — zero:

11/8 @WAS L 1-3 (goals: Voros).
12/23 MSG  L 4-5 OT (goals: Naslund, Rozsival, Callahan 2).
1/3 @WAS   L 1-2 (goals: Prucha).
2/11 MSG   W 5-4 (SO) (goals: Callahan, Naslund, Korpikoski, Mara; SO/GWG: Callahan.

So? So what? None of those games was played with John Tortorella behind the bench, or with Sean Avery, Nik Antropov or Derek Morris on the ice. The Dec. 23 game was the dreadful collapse. The Feb. 11 game was the only highlight of Tom Renney’s last month.

“It’s finally good to know so you can prepare,” Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said on the Capitals’ Web site. “But then it’s like we’re preparing for a whole new team because we haven’t seen this team under (John) Tortorella that’s played very good. Right off the bat, I think we’re in for a tough team.”

What matters for the Rangers is finding a way to get goals, because they will need goals against the Capitals and Alex Ovechkin (who finished with an NHL-leading 56 goals) unless Henrik Lundqvist plays out of his mind. The thing with the Boston matchup that vanished when the Canadiens lost to Pittsburgh last night was that the Rangers knew they could play low-scoring games with the B’s, even in Boston.

They are not sure they can do that with the Caps, and we all know that goal-scoring hasn’t been the Rangers forte. On the plus side, the Capitals don’t take a lot of penalties, which means the Rangers’ woeful power play won’t be as big a factor.

You might have noticed that Callahan had a bit of success against the Caps. You might have also noticed that the Rangers haven’t won a road game in a while (at Montreal in a shootout March 17; the last regulation road win coming at Nashville March 5; the last regulation road win against a playoff team — Yikes! — at Chicago Jan. 16, back in Sam Weinman’s heyday on the blog).

CORRECTION, THANKS TO SPIDERPIG:  The Chicago game was an OT win. So the last regulation victory on the road over a playoff-bound team was Dec. 16 at Anaheim. Double-yikes!

We’ll do some more analysis as we get closer.

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Tonight’s game is important for the Flyers, all of a sudden, after Pittsburgh beat the Canadiens to move ahead of Philly in the East (both teams have 99 points, the Penguins have one more win, 45-44). So the Flyers need a point tonight to take home-ice advantage in the first-round Intra-State matchup against Sidney Crosby’s boys (Sid the Kid said he would be a Rangers fan today).

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Don’t forget the inaugural Rangers Report Playoff Beard Extravaganza (or something). Details in many of the previous posts below.

With the game suddenly meaningless, and it being Easter Sunday … not to mention the final round of the Masters … this might be the final post for the day. Or at least until near gametime. Enjoy it anyway.

———————————

Jane here, I updated the poll to look ahead to the postseason. Out of 448 responses, only 80 or so thought the Rangers would miss the playoffs.

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76 Comments

  1. Reginald Dunlop on

    caps have a definite vulnerability in net……have to exploit it……get the puck in deep and bang their defense…make them go the full length….key to series shoot the puck at Theodore as much as possible, make him be a star

  2. One of the biggest keys to this series is Marc Staal. He’s going to have his hands full, he needs to contain, or at least limit AO.

  3. Caps are scary but, I do not think they are ready for cup run. Rangers need to score early & often.
    I think Antro will have a big series
    Let’s Go Rangers!

  4. Boston in 6
    NYR 7
    Carolina 7
    Phiily 6

    I would have picked the rangers in less games , but they are having tremendous problems on the PP and scoring in general. Forwards are not putting the puck in the net, eccept for the game against Montreal we have been in a drought. But it’s a brand new ballgame once the post season starts and I hope we can get the biscuit in the basket more often.

    The Mouth

    Ranger Crisis # 18

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83eNFFrf56Q

  5. Boston in 5 Goaltending
    Rangers in 7 Ditto
    Carolina in 7 Ditto
    Pittsburgh in 6 Offense

  6. every single person here better hope the rangers play like it counts tomorrow, nothings more hostile than NYR at PHI.

    and hostile is what the rangers need to get used to for starting with 2 on the road.

    hank playing well is key too

  7. aside from NYR making the play-offs….I’m just as pumped about the Bruin-Habs series. That should be epic. Bruins should take them in 5 but The Habs won’t go away easy.

  8. This One Will Last A Lifetime on

    Rangers should not play Henrik today
    They should not play anyone with any minor ailments. It is preseason right now, just practice and get ready for the playoffs.

    Rangers biggest advantage is goaltending. If Henrik plays at the “King” level, we will frustrate the Caps because of the soft ones we score.

    Happy Easter fellow Blueshirt fanatics!

  9. Being a goaltender myself i understand why Henrik wants to get the 38th win of the season, however with that remark from Crosby and to recall last year’s playoffs with that jerk diving, I would say what comes around goes around, give the Flyers the victory, they need it more than us for home ice advantage.

  10. All the stats mean absoultely nothing now. This is a differant team in a new season. The Caps are going to be very tough, But if Hank is super good and the team never lets up, the Rangers will win. It should be great hockey. Go Rangers!!!

  11. However then again, the Rangers can use a game like todays as a way for them to change they’re losing ways on the road and get this win to build some confidence on this team. Any case LETS GO RANGERS!!!!

  12. Hate to be a pessimist, but i don’t see how the Rangers are going to score enough to win this series even with the Caps shaky defense/goaltending. This is the worst possible matchup out of any team in the east in my opinion.

  13. GardenFaithfulinFLA on

    I don’t think this is meaningless. We get a strong win on the road and score some goals, powerplay especially, that will give this team a positive forward momentum needed to start the playoffs.

  14. ill be honest, its going to be a tough serious but i think if we can get through this it will explode us into the nextround of the playoffs. but everyone needs to remember we are holding the ace up our sleeve. Alexander needs to meet Mr. Avery. Yes, i know AO ould probley rip his head off but lets see what sean can do if he can do half of what he does to marty or sidney to AO we have a shot.

  15. Dr. Ogrodnick on

    As a Boston university fan I have 2 things to say:

    1. Wooooooooooooooohoooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!

    2. Slats, please sign Matt Gilroy and trade Roszival and/or Redden.

  16. Rangers in 6
    Boston in 6
    Devils in 6
    Flyers in 6

    Sixes around people……LETS GO RANGERS LETS GO RANGERS LETS GO RANGERS

  17. Round one:

    Marc Staal vs. Alex Ovechkin

    Every time these two meet, they always hit and smother each other pretty hard! This is how bright stars become even brighter (Staal)!

    …and the round one goes to – Marc Staal

  18. No one else in the world cares about this, so I am just typing to myself, but I really hope the Rangers never lose the seventh game of the Stanley Cup finals, the way U. of Miami lost the NCAA hockey championship, yesterday. It boggles my mind that a team is given a rules advantage BECAUSE IT IS TRAILING ON THE SCOREBOARD, as the pulling the goaltender for an extra skater garbage rule allows.

    Dammit, does baseball give a team trailing in the ninth inning four outs, or make the defensive team which is leading pull its left fielder? I mean, it is a travesty and a pox on the sport of hockey that this shameful, made for TV, crowd titillating rule will never even be looked at.

    Worst of all, no coach, no GM, no owner, after losing this way, ever even offers a whimper of protest about this crass injustice. Protest all the time about the officiating, yes, they do, but NEVER about the worst rule in sports – the actual reducing of the percentage chance of a team leading in a game, from winning.

    Ok, I’m through now. There are more important matters in life than manipulated and tampered-outcome hockey games.

  19. Gilroy won the college mvp award and is a free agent d at age 24. many teams seem to be interested since won’t cost draft pick and is probably nhl ready.

  20. Rumor has it the Devils and Rangers are hard after Gilroy. If he’s signed, can he just jump in and play? Anyway, doubt we have the cap space at this point. Maybe in the offseason.

    Love the John Druce reference. We know who that guy is better than most diehard Caps fans would…

  21. CCCP,

    I am also excited about AO vs Staal.

    Staalsy always looks for AO coming at him full force on the endboards behind the goal. On the flip side, AO is always conscious of Staal in the slot and by the blue line.

    This series is where Marc Staal takes a huge leap as a player….and gets some of that swagger that his brother Eric exudes when its crunch time

  22. ZzZz 13 ZzZz Rules !! says Greg L. on

    Yeah , after the run we just made , im thinking we deserve toplay a nuthing game today…

  23. That game last night was awesome. Miami might have some serious suicide watches tonight. Close down the gun shops. Oh wait, you can find guns in trash cans in Miami. Mwahaha, i hate Miami !

    But seriously, how do you blow a two goal lead with 53 seconds left ? How ?

    As for this series. Im happy with this one. I don’t want Boston, because Nyr sucks in Boston, and hasn’t scored a goal there in two games, and i think three times in their last three games there. So forget that. Craps are the team we need. Win or lose, that’s who we need.

    Go Rangers. Rangers win in 6, PIssburgh wins in 5, Canes win in 4, and Bruins win in 5.

    Cant say the west yet, since it’s not finished.

  24. Dr. Ogrodnick on

    As a former BU season ticket holder who has seen Gilroy play a bunch, the kid is the real deal.

    Cakewalk: Seriously? You are complaining about the rule that allows a team to pull the goalie? All your complaining yet you don’t mention the fact that THE NET IS EMPTY. 9 times out of 10 pulling the goalie winds up with an empty net goal. If Miami of Ohio doesn’t want to lose that way, then put it in the empty net.

  25. Some nice matchups shaping up out West….

    I look forward to watching Calgary vs Chicago. I am a huge Jarome Iginla fan so I will be rooting for the Flames.

    If Jarome was the Rangers captain, we would be in love with him almost as much as Mess. He is exactly what we would want Drury to be as Rangers captain…..oh well

  26. Orr-
    The team is actually Miami of OHIO, not Flordia. But it was a great game and I am sure Drury was happy with the outcome, as he played there and won the Hoby Baker award also as did Gilroy.

  27. Peter-
    I have nightmares about the way John Druce killed us in that series. I still despise the Caps because of it. Talk about a one man wrecking crew. I’ll bet even AO couldn’t top that performance.

  28. Dr. Ogrodnick on

    Tom, I was at the final game of that series as a young boy when Druce scored the OT winner to eliminate us. Brutal.

  29. Dr.O, I too was a young lad at the time. It was brutal even though I knew that Ranger team was not a real cup contender. What year was that, like 1990?

  30. mike in iowa(perkins alter ego) on

    pavel- u really think rangers in 6??? cmon i know hank has played great recently but there is no way we are gonna keep up with them. they have 1 guy who like kovalchuk did to us, take over all by himself!!. not to mention we suck on the road. id be happy to get 1 win on the road in this series.i think we give them a good fight, but we dont win.

  31. Dr. Ogrodnick on

    I believe it was 90. As far as the Rangers go, I’d be kind of surprised if they made it to a 6th game, let alone win it in 6.

  32. bull dog line on

    the Caps are a bad match up for the Rangers. This series will be over quick.
    Caps in 5. Hope to be wrong.

  33. mike mike mike mike in freakin Iowa….

    whats up? honestly….what the fugg is up? You move to Iowa and you left your heart & ballz back in NY?

    How you can you say the Rangers cant compete with the Caps…? You’re a Rangers fan….Really?

    I stuck up for you the other night when you were looking to jump off a building with negative thoughts….

    but seriously, if you are lying down and playing dead already…..maybe you should tune into baseball instead

    Rangers in 6 buddy

  34. Carp – I’m surprised nobody has corrected you so far because the Chicago game was so memorable for all of those penalties: that game was won in overtime. That’s better than a shootout, but still not regulation. So the last regulation win on the road against a playoff team was against the Ducks on December 16. Against an Eastern Conference playoff team? New Jersey all the way back on November 12. So we’ve only had three regulation wins against playoff teams in their building, I guess, because the only other one was the second game in the states against Philly when Palin was there. What a grim outlook. Maybe you could change your statement to the last non-shootout win on the road (or team win, i.e. non-skills competition). :)

  35. Mike in Iowa, “they have 1 guy who like kovalchuk did to us, take over all by himself!!.”

    Just like Kovalchuk and Hossa did together against us in Round 1 two years ago right? Ha. Look, I know what you are saying, and Ovie is the most complete player in this league, but, I think the Rangers will compete and surprise a lot of people in this series.

  36. mike in iowa(perkins alter ego) on

    yea theres no chance unless we can take at least game 1 or 2, and then win both 3 and 4 at home, then we can win. but i really believe it will be like in buffalo, where whoever has more home games wins the series. its been hard enough to just win in regulation on the road in the regular season, its gonna be twice as hard to do it in the playoffs against a far superior offensive team. but hey, we could come out and go balls deep!!! who the hell knows anything could happen. lets see if drury and gomez can come out and kick some ass since theyve had their 82 game long nap already

  37. I just scored tickets for today’s game. They were giving them out in Philly last night, I guess they weren’t anticipating a good turn out with the holiday. Hopefully we whoop their asses so I don’t have to deal with the douchey Philly fans throwing crap at me like last time

  38. mike in iowa(perkins alter ego) on

    liquid- im not laying down or givin up. im just sayin that i dont think we will win this series. thats my opinion. i am not saying that is what will happen. ok. im saying that is what i think will probably happen.

  39. Playoffs have to be a clean slate for this team. Drury has been back on his game, Hank is heating up again, and Avery is a beast in the playoffs. The guy ruptured his spleen and finished the game. Rangers in five.

  40. mike in iowa(perkins alter ego) on

    of course i want the rangers to win liquid. i will be rooting all the way from the cornfields. i’ll burn this hick town to the ground !!!!!!

  41. HAPPY EASTER ALL!!!

    Yep. Staal with have to shut down AO – I think we all know he is up to the task!!!

    Canadians in 6
    Canes in 5
    Pens in 7

    Rangers in 6

  42. Mike, I hear ya bro…but you gotta think that with Henrik in net, Staal on D matching up with AO, a weak ass defensive defense Caps team, a poor goaltender like Jose Theodore, a hungry crop of youngsters like Cally & Dubi, the best PK in the league, a great motivational coach like Torts who has won a Cup, (cough,cough) Captain Clutch & Gomez with playoff/cup experience, and a youngster like Zherdev who is gonna wanna make a name for himself for once by outdueling a Russian rival (AO),,,,,,

    you gotta give the Rangers a chance!!!

    Heck, maybe even Redden gets resurrected today since its Easter

  43. mike in iowa(perkins alter ego) on

    yea, i know what youre saying liquid. there are 2 ranger teams we are talking about. lets hope the 1 you mentioned is the team we’ll see come gameday

  44. mike in iowa(perkins alter ego) on

    ohh i could only hope redden gets ressurected, because i dont care as much as i dislike him, i would definitely rather see him play well, than just whither away like so many other failed stars that come to ny. i dont hold grudges on players. as much as drury disappoints me, if he starts playing his ass off for this team, i will start to like him too.

  45. mike in iowa(perkins alter ego) on

    but it does suck living outhere liquid. sometimes i do feel like jumpin off a building. if there were any in iowa!. i just miss the garden and ny!!! i wanna be there. i had just moved here the summer before the 05-06 season. the years building up to that season were just terrible, and damnit, i wanna be there for the stick salute!!!!! last game i went to was a home loss to the caps in 03.

    hey off topic here4, but im a smoker, and a friend of mine said that ciggarettes in ny are $14 a pack!! is she right?? or was she bullsh123ing me??

  46. Copied from hfboards, lineup from last week (Brashear is day to day, Poti also day to day as well with groin problemo)

    Washington Forwards

    8-Ovechkin, 19-Backstrom, 16-Fehr
    14-Fleischmann, 91-Fedorov, 28-Semin
    21-Laich, 92-Nylander, 25-Kozlov
    20-Aucoin, 39-Steckel, 10-Bradley

    Washington Defensemen

    26-Morrisonn, 52-Green
    3-Poti, 2-Pothier
    55-Schultz, 4-Erskine

    Goaltenders
    60-Theodore, 40-Varlamov

  47. Liquid, that’s not a bad idea. I’m going to leave my jersey at home. I know it’s cool to show your colors in the opposition’s building, but the Philly fans take it too far and frankly I don’t want to deal with it. I’ll wear Rangers colors to any city but Philly after the crap I got last time. I don’t want to have to explain the the NJ bar assoc. the misdemeanor charge I got for duking it out at a hockey game.

  48. Other interesting notes,

    In their past 12 games, the Caps have faced only 1 playoff team (Carolina Hurricanes).

  49. And in those last 12 games, the Caps have let up a total of 40 goals to their inferior opponents.

  50. RANGERS WILL TRY HARD, BUT THE CAPS HAVE TONS OF TALENT AND WE HAVE MAYBE HALF A TON, SO I SAY CAPS IN 6.
    SATHER PLEASE RETIRE!

  51. I guess everyone is eating the Easter Pies and other goodies….

    I am the resident, token Jew here talking to myself….

    What does a Jew say after the GR8 one score on the Rangers in the playoffs ?

    Oy-vey-chkin

  52. mike in iowa(perkins alter ego) on

    token jew?> ha, im the token rangerfan in iowa so i feel your pain

  53. Mike, all I see on my friends facebook status updates is that they are about to or are currently chowing down some good food…..I bet even Carpy is putting down some mussels marinara as we speak….He looks look like he could put it away like the best of them.

    At any rate, Happy Easter to everyone, Happy Passover to everyone.

    Let’s Go Rangers !!!

  54. You guys reminded me of the Staal-AO battles. No predictions here, just looking forward to NYR playoff hockey. Even though I thought Philly badly outplayed them last game, I look for the Rangers to bring it today. They really have no pressure where as Philly does.

  55. Linda is playoff ready!!! on

    Happy Easter & Happy Passover to all of you who celebrate! Just got done with the lasagna, gonna watch our boys in an hour and a half, then comes TEN COMMANDMENTS!!!

    Mike, have you ever sent a pic of yourself to the Ranger website where they have fan pics showing their colors? Once I lose a lil more weight, I’ll send mine in with some wacky Huntsville Alabama view in the background!

    Liquid, was it you who mentioned Redden being resurrected today! I was thinking that the other night, it would be nice for him to show some signs of life in the playoffs!

    This is going to be a great series! I’m expecting to see Staalsy really come into his own! He’s played some monster games all season long, now he’s gotta do it in the playoffs!! If the big money boys can step it up, it could be very interesting!!!

    LETS GO RANGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  56. I don’t know anything about Easter Pie (I’m sure it’s good) BUT I know one thing… my mamas matzo latkes is something to live for!

  57. I’m just chilling watching sports today, the non-religious person that I am. What a waste of two hours on that Mets game; at least it was that short. Now for an intermission, going with the Rew Wings-Blackhawks until the Rangers are ready to go. I’m even picking them on the Streak for the Cash even though they’re gonna be underdogs today.

  58. New post is up. Happy Holidays everybody.
    -Carp

    ps, you stole my John Druce reference. I was — and probably still am — going to talk about him tomorrow.

  59. ZzZz 13 ZzZz Rules !! says Greg L. on

    Playoff hockey , ahhh sweet . yo taries …save your jibberish for the lame Washington site you moron!! RANGERS rule and come playoffs …WE WILL WIN vs Washington. Mark my words.

    Funny a Calgary fan asked me yesterday how far i ‘d say the Rangers will go this playoffs. I said…To the cup my friend ..seriously ..to the cup!!

    Anyone wanna challenge me on this one ..? So the Penguins and Bruins look good , so what? We look good too!!! Heart and fire beats any skill come playoffs…just ask the ‘ol Florida Panthers when them and their ratz took over because they played like a TEAM and ‘ol brian Skrudland was a Monster!!

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