1) I know it was a little thing, but I thought it was an important piece of the game. With 4.8 seconds left in the first, Rangers up 1-0, Lundqvist was forced to cover a puck in the crease. Faceoff in the right dot. Ovechkin in the trigger position where, if the Caps win the draw, the puck goes to him and no way anybody can get there before he shoots. And with the Rangers’ ability on faceoffs, well … And Brian Boyle just does a Craig MacTavish and wins the draw, pulling it back harmlessly behind the goal line.
2) I guess Dubinsky thinks a little more highly of Ovechkin than he does of the league’s other, preferred darling (who, by the way, is up next).
3) Ovechkin=Monster. Even when he’s in the worst goal slump of his career.
4) If the Rangers can win two of the next three, start printing playoff tickets. OK, maybe not. But, seriously, if they win two of the next three, I don’t see them having one of those drop-off-the-cliff stretches they had several times last year. I really don’t. Will they lose three in a row at some point, maybe even four? Yeah, they will. And it’ll be Chicken Little time around here. But they aren’t going away (and I’m really starting to like my preseason pick of sixth place in the East; they might do better than that).
5) A lot of guys’ games are improving after slumps or slow starts or whatever: Anisimov, Stepan, slowly Frolov, Rozsival, Lundqvist, Fedotenko.
6) I didn’t see the broadcast so I don’t know what they showed or said about it, but I believe that Avery came out of the box so angry because Hendricks speared him in the you-know-whats. And if so, I don’t blame him at all.
7) The way Avery came out of the box dropping his gloves reminded me of a game in Florida. Bill Lindsay—remember him, noted agitator?—had elbowed Kevin Lowe in the head. I think Lowe had a concussion. Lindsay got a penalty, either a double minor or a major, I forget which. But shortly before his penalty expired, Jeff Beukeboom skated over to the penalty box door and stood there waiting for him to come out. And pummelled him the moment he came out. Gotta love Beuk.
8) Did Varlamov give up seven goals in that entire playoff series two years ago? (Answer: Yes, 7 GA in 6 games against the Rangers).
9) How good are Prust and Boyle? But Prust really shouldn’t fight with that shoulder … and he might be called on to do so this week.
10) I saw ex-Rangers George McPhee and Mike Knuble last night. I have good stories about both of them. Remind me to tell them.
11) Did you know (you probably do) that the Rangers lead the NHL in short-handed goals with seven?
12) I think I said this before. Marc Staal should be used in shootouts. Great, quick hands when he gets in close.
13) Dan Girardi must lead the league in Advil and icepacks. He took one off the ankle/foot last night, and on his way to the bench, got drilled again by another shot. He bounced right back from that submarine job by Ovechkin (I thought it was clean, maybe a little low). Boyle caught a few, too, especially while protecting the shutout late.
14) I actually have a lot more to say, but no time to say it. So we’ll talk later and tomorrow (about Drury, too).
AP photo, above.