Capitals 2, Rangers 0: Game 2 in review

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Two-nothing and two-nothing.

Nothing being the important word.

Are the Rangers done? No. Not yet. In the playoffs, what happened yesterday doesn’t matter one lick today, and we saw evidence of that in the first period of Game 2, after the Rangers lost in OT in Game 1. They were, I thought by a pretty fair margin, the better team at the start of Game 2.

What happened in Game 1 had no bearing on the start, the middle, or the finish of Game 2. None. And if you want to look at it as the Rangers have to win two in a row, and have to now win four of the last five, well, that’s real math, but there’s no way any of that is impossible, and no way the Rangers can even let any of that enter their thinking.

And I’ll say this, and by no means intend this to be a pep talk for them or for you. For seven periods so far, it hasn’t been men vs. boys. It hasn’t been all Capitals by any stretch. The Capitals have been a little bit better, and they have been helped by the Rangers’ inability to put points on the board.

Thoughts:

1) Maybe I didn’t pay enough attention to the Capitals as they barreled down the stretch. I heard they were playing better defensively. I had no idea how much better. And I admit, I had no idea they were this physical and nasty.

2) That said, I think the Rangers’ second, third and fourth lines and six defensemen are as good as the Capitals’ second, third and fourth lines and six defensemen. And though the Capitals’ No. 1 line hasn’t yet dominated a game, you can’t compare it to the Rangers’ No. 1 line … because the Rangers don’t have one.

3) I also expected a Capitals goalie, either one, to cough up something. This kid hasn’t had to be great, but he was pretty good in period 1 of Game 2, and looks pretty unflappable so far.

4) Just wanted to point out that, since the Rangers smacked around Jose Theodore in Game 1 of the 2009 playoffs, they have scored eight goals in eight playoff games (three of those in a 5-3 loss in Game 6). In other words, they’ve scored one or none in six of those eight.

5) And, yeah, the Capitals have some soft guys on their side, too. But the Rangers’ soft guys couldn’t have been any softer.

6) About the 1-0 goal. Thank goodness Mike Keenan is in the studio, because nobody else wants to say anything negative about anybody or anything. Coach K pointed out that the coverage in front, especially by Brandon Dubinsky, was bad on that goal. And it was. Chimera=Beast.

7) About the 2-0 goal. Let’s start with the penalty call. Most times when you have multiple guys pushing and shoving in a scrum, if the referee decides to let some of it go, he’ll say, “That’s enough” or “No more” or something like that to let the guys know that the next one gets a penalty. I don’t have any idea if the officials said that before Ryan McDonagh knocked his man on his keyster. If that warning was made, then it’s a penalty. If it wasn’t, that’s a pretty weak call. Pretty weak. Then, on the PK, Chris Drury almost won the draw, got beaten on the wall by Alex Semin, and the Capitals got the good bounce that went to Jason Arnott, all alone.

8) The Rangers power plays were dreadful, and it’s long-term now. Again, they don’t have a legit PP QB. But they also almost always lose the draws on the PP, which immediately costs them possession. And with the limited skill they have, they need possession — and I know, that’s fairly obvious. Duh, you need possession. But the Rangers aren’t a team that’s going to skate it up the ice and set up. If they’re giving up a free clear off the draw, it could take a minute or more to get it in and set up.

9) I understand Alex Ovechkin taking a pass off the wall, behind him, and going around Dan Girardi. And I’m sure there are better defensemen than Girardi who’ve been victimized by Ovechkin like that. But I don’t get where Marc Staal’s partner was when Staal had his shot blocked and Erik Christensen had to  (feebly) play defense as Henrik Lundqvist made a huge save.

10) Unavoidable: Sean Avery discussion. He was good. He was very, very good. And smart. Like when you go into a scrum and Erskine is trying to smack around Prust or somebody, Avery took the opportunity to rough up Semin. That’s smart. That’s effective pestiness, effective intimidation. Avery’s not going to intimidate Erskine or Chimera, though he aggravated them. He might get into the head of a guy like Semin, though. Good job by him.

11) Some of the Rangers have really been good through two: Staal, Sauer, Boyle, Prust, Fedotenko, Prospal. Some others, not so much.

12) Looked like Mike Sullivan had a little John Tortorella moment with some fans behind the glass at the end of the game.

13) Unrelated to this game … and I could never feel sorry for Matt (that piece of carcillo) Cooke. But he has to be wondering why he’s sitting out the entire first round, and LA’s Jarret Stoll got one game. The NHL should just shut up. It’s so, so, so, so spineless when it comes to these suspensions, even when it’s clearly a cheap-shot/head-shot. Yeah, they’re trying to clean it up. What a farce.

14) If the Rangers had won this game, regardless of the score, we’d sure be talking about that first period, because it was a spectacular period of playoff hockey, wasn’t it?

15) Not to single out the guy, but I thought Bryan McCabe has really struggled with the pace of this series. Unlike some of the others, it’s been more about his legs than his will.

—————

AP photo, above.

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151 Comments

  1. I don’t know how anyone else feels but I thought that Gilroy was one of the more effective players on ice in both games.

    And do let’s discuss what passes for the er, “passing” game of the Rangers. It was very disheartening to watch those Caps passes stick right onto the blades of their intended receivers while Ranger passes were either off mark or bounced off receivers blades. Atrocious. That is the single most annoying feature of this team that has not been taken care of and improved. And let’s not forget ..theCaps MOVED. And I agree about Avery.

  2. Why does Tortorella hate Avery so much? I just never got it because Avery’s a really effective player who doesn’t get the ice time I think he really deserves. He’s got way more offensive upside that Torts seems to admit and can play on the top 2 lines. The best line last night was Boyle-Prust-Avery, but Avery gets 10 mins (alot for him actually this season) but he was probably one of our best forwards. I think Torts hate to admit Avery can actually be a really good player because he has been kind of a side show in recent years and through scratches and low minutes Torts has effectively killed Avery’s presence and that’s where he wants him. It’s just frustrating to watch.

  3. Gilroy was pretty good. He brought the puck up into the offensive zone and in on the goalie later in the game yesterday that made you realize he’s got the more offensive ability on our D because no body else could’ve made that move.

  4. onecupin71yearsand counting on

    Its seems that once the rangers get behind a goal they struggle a bit more ,they seldom have the luxury of scoring first and being in the drivers seat. I thought the difference in the games came down to mistakes and the caps goalie making the big save and the lucky bounce which is eluding NY.

  5. Stranger Nation on

    Good write up Carp. Grind it out game where we need to finish. During first period we need to finish some of those chances. We did not and cannot finish the play and put the puck in net.

    Listening to tv call has become painful. Sam is horrible and Joe is a joke. I would have the mute button pressed more if I didn’t need to try and drown out the screams of anguish.

    Now that we have Avery in it is time to bring up newbury as well. We need another grinder center and EZ is just such a wuss that he hurts the other 4 on the ice with him. This is a hard hat series which we will not win without more hitting and in your face hockey.

  6. 4generations 4 cups on

    Carp if you’ve got the game on video, watch the first rangers powerplay and watch McCabe and his reaction after he lazily wanders in the zone, immediately gets stripped and gives up a huge scoring chance. He was real pissed at himself when they showed his face after the whistle blew. This guy doesnt have the legs for playoff hockey anymore, and that’s why he was doing well in Florida, where theyve never made it.

  7. Hey stonger nation – what kind of Rangers fan says that “Sam is horrible”?

    I agree with Carp about McCabe, but I wouldn’t be so nice. Not only has he been noticeably slow, but he coughs up the puck more than anybody. early in the game he gave it away in the offensive zone and the Caps nearly scored on a 2-1 as a result. His decision-making process, as strange as it seems, is rookie-like. Where is that bomb of a shot?

    Avery – very good – if he plays like this we need him. But I am not the biggest defender of Avery – he’s an idiot, and unlike many of you turds I agree with Tortorella – he sits because there have been too mnay efforts this year where he doesn’t give 100percent – and he has taken foolish penalties, which you cannot have in the playoffs

    Dubinsky – where for art thou are you Dubie? He’s not green anymore – needs to step up.

    McDonagh – even though penalty, I think he’s been very good

    Gaborik – yea I know he’s getting paid a ton to score, and hasn’t done it but who has on this team? They have one goal. At least he’s been very noticeable, he has stepped it up, in terms of his speed, and he’s had many chances. Who else on the Rangers have had as many chances, at least, as Gaborik??

    Stepan – Im not his biggest fan. I don’t remember another 20 -goal scorer where I said”really – how’d that happen”? He has got to be the least-engaging 20 goal scorer I have ever seen. You barely even notice him on the ice, except for this series, where defensively he’s been bad – the Ovechkin goal in game one was all on him.

    All that being said, I still think the Rangers have a chance at home!!

  8. Good point Fran on the passing. I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but the first two minutes of per. 2, before the Caps became monsters, the Rangers passing and their play was outright dreadful. I told my son this was not ging to be good. Ans sure enough I think the Caps used that sloppy-ass play by the Rangers to gain momentum

  9. They are half cooked with the rest to follow shortly. They may win one at the Garden but you can stick a fork in them.
    Zero offensive ability and with Washington being disciplined the opps are few and the wash goaltender is shutting down all of those.
    Dubinsky where are you this week. Cleary this team is done for this season. No fault of Ludqvist. Without a sustained forecheck they get nothing, they can’t get over the blue line without a dump and the dump and no chase won’t work anywhere. Caps in 5

  10. I believe without a doubt, the Rangers will win this series in 6. No question in my mind we are the better team.

    That being said, we need to win each and every one of those games 1-0, because scoring two against these guys, or anyone for that matter is a pipe dream.

    OK Hank..4 games in a row of shutout hockey…earn your paycheck…

  11. Also, take a look at the poll up top. Over half of us choose Rangers in 6. Can that many of us wrong. RANGERS IN 6!!! Close it out boys.

  12. Hey, could we get a couple of goals from Gaborik, Dubinsky, Boyle, Anisimov…? Gee whiz. How about a goal from (wait for it….) Chris Drury? *gasp*

    The Rangers just don’t have the ‘O’ to go deep in the playoffs. In fact, their offense has been poor for years now.

  13. Joekuh - Can I have the next question please? Ptooey! on

    1. We have to find a way to get a goal early. It’d help our confidence enormously.
    2.Carp, you’re right about Avery. I thought he’d take a penalty last night, and he didn’t. But…….he was involved in about 3 offsides IIRC. Just sayin.
    3. Gilroy, although he didn’t look very good on the Chimera goal getting bodied off the puck by Laich, was our best skater last night. He made things happen.
    4. I think we play 7 D next game and let McCabe play PP only.

  14. i wanna see this guy give up some goals..

    its been more about the Caps playing Devils type D than their goalie

    what bothers me is his last name ends with Virth ..why are they pronouncing it Bert ?

  15. Wow, where to begin. While I’m a steadfast Ranger fan and I’m glad they made it into the top eight in the EC just for the PO experience for our kids, this is going to be a short series. A very short series. We are being out-played in every area, the only exception being goaltending. Hank has been great, in an elite class, while his counterpart has only needed to be good.

    The Cap’s defense has been better than ours, tighter, tougher and more responsible. Their forwards get back aggressively (no gliding), minimizing the gap and playing effectively as a group of five. They’re standing up at their blue line, forcing our forwards to dump and chase or fight hard to carry the puck in, getting punished as they try to make a play. This also helps the Cap’s transition game which has been pretty good.

    Physically, they’re hitting us often and hard, specifically targeting Dubi and
    Staal. For the most part, we’re trying to do the same but their hits appear harder, taking more out of our players. We seem to be showing the affects of this punishment in both third periods so far. We also look a little tired. We’ve been in PO mode for more than a month already. Looks like Hank thrives on it. Not so for the rest of our team, especially our top D pair and Dubi, Boyle and Prust among others.

    As others have commented, we don’t have enough top line talent. This team needs at least two more major offensive threats. We’ll be a top tier team when Boyle, Prust and Feds are our fourth line and we can roll four lines more evenly. Expect more line juggling as Torts has been doing all season long, another indicator that we don’t have the right mix of players. It’ll be interesting to see what the organization does in the off-season which will start sooner than we want it to. I wonder what changes Messier would make?

  16. Boom Boom Bathgate on

    Carp’s Brian McCabe observation begs the question, “Is it better to lose with a young player, or bring in an old D-man, in this case, just to tread water”. So much talk here about “playoff experience for the young players,” well, if Del Z had been kept up here – mistakes, head-trip, embarrassing season and all, he would not have been injured down there, and he would be getting valuable ice time.

    To me it is simple, you might bring in an old guy if he is the final piece of a Stanley Cup winning puzzle, but if he is not, you take a step backwards in shelving a young guy for an old stop-gap hole-plugger. Not to quibble, the fact that Slats did not mortgage the future at the trade deadline is encouraging, on its own, and, hopefully an indicator that he may also be protecting his blue chip and red chip “futures” this summer. I just hope McCabe, Prospal, and Dreary are somehow gone before training camp in the fall.

    Remember, as soon as this agony is over, we are into the 2011-2012 season, a season in which the Rangers figure to be one of the four best teams in the National Hockey League – providing the GM doesn’t bring in three to five 34 year-olds during the off season.

  17. Glenn Sather on

    Everyone relax…I have written a letter to Bettman to move this to a 9 game series. Rangers in 9.

  18. Hammerhead

    IN the Germnan language you will find many diphthongs, such as ie ei eu ue etc. in ei ( like the [ word mein, meaning mine, is pronounced as if it were “mine” because the it follows the e. IF THE E WAS FOLLOWING THE I THEn …IT WOULD BE PRONOUNCED MEE,* AND EU IS ALWAYS PRONOUNCED AS oy. They also have a cute little short cut on some words called an umlaut (oomlowt) au is ow. The word for lumberman is Bauer
    pronounced Bower.

    You will sometimes in print see a letter with two little dots above it..what this does is remove the E from that part of the word

    Hope this wasn’t too involved, but the Goalie’s name i correctly pronounced Noyvert H is dropped.

  19. I have little to no reason to believe that Bryan McCabe will be re-signed for next season.

  20. Stranger Nation on

    Boom boom – agree up to a point about McCabe and MDZ. We would probably not be in playoffs without McCabe. 1st 3 weeks in he settled the PP and we actually looked cohesive with a man up. He was a big part of that. It was more of a gilly vs mdz decision on who goes down and with gilly becoming a free agent, they left him up.

    Bigger challenge for us is caber is not playing well on PP and is a disaster in his own zone so I would frankly sit him now and play gilly at point and put Em in. He has played that poorly.

    We also need Newbury to replace EZ who along with Em will give us a more physical lineup to start dishing out the hits and not just absorbing them.

    Someone mentions aves being offsides – give me a flipping break. He was our most effective forward and looked like our strongest skater.

    In a grinder series, the floaters actually hurt your team, right Artie?

  21. Czechthemout!!! on

    Carp-

    Good wright up, but I don’t agree on Staal. I think that he has not been that good at all. In fact he has been bad for large chunks of play. He holds on to the puck way too long. And his passing and shot selection has not been good either. He is a good but far from great defenseman. In fact in my opinion, Sauer has outplayed him in the series. Sorry folks, just calling them as I see them.

    No one has been a bigger defender of Dubi than me. That being said, he has just been brutal in this series!

    Girardi is becoming the new Blowzy!

    Sauer/MCD have been the best pair out their .

    Gabby=fraud

    EC= sucks!

    Prospal=warrior. Too bad he is 99 years old or he could have been a difference maker.

    Avery= as always, comes to play in the playoffs. To prove how awful Gabby has been, can anyone argue the point that Avery created more scoring chances in one game than Gabby in two.

    AA= has done nothing so far as well. Very disappointing.

    McCabe= garbage. Too slow. Won’t shoot. Can accept a pass.

    The King= Stanely Cup goalie whose career is being wasted by an incompetent GM’s inability to draft high end talent where you find it, in the first round of the draft.

    Torts= you can’t get blood out of a stone. In the This case, it’s goals out of stone hands.

    That’s all, rant over.

  22. CARP! #8: Yes! The Rangers always, always, always lose PP draws. Especially thew few that they get in the Offensive zone. Get Kris Newbury!

    Avery was great. He almost single handedly got them back into the game towards the end of the third and he played himself into the rest of these games and probably into playing about 11-13 minutes a game with the majority coming in the 3rd Period.

    I will continue to belabor the point: The Rangers have to dress 7 Defensemen if they want to carry Bryan McCabe for the PP. He is far too slow to keep up with this pace of hockey and he gets beat time and time again. Pairing him with Gilroy does not seem to help because Gilroy doesn’t play a physical game in the neutral zone or around the blue line. Bryan McCabe is here to play the PP and be our QB. He isn’t doing a good job – too much dumping the puck and never gaining possession. Dress 7 Defensemen and move on. Please. Sit Christensen and let Gilroy pick up some of his time on the wing.

    Final point – I have loved the strong offensive minded play of our D-guys. They really have been doing a great job of pinching in an getting chances. Where was that all year?

    Are the Rangers dead? Hardly. Crazy things happen yearly in the playoffs and those crazy things usually surround the Caps. If we can get to 2-1 I think we have a legit chance to make it 2-2 and then all bets are off.

  23. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    It is really rather simple. Win sunday’s game and we will rejoice the series is not over, the battle has only begun, the rangers will endure, and the fight lives on.

  24. Good write up – agree with most Carp, especially the draw on the pp/pk – although we have been better in those areas over the past 10 games or so, we cant afford to give up possession on the pk unit – and we did.

    “Paging Mr. Gaborik – Paging Mr. Marian Gaborik. If you are in the building, please come to the front of the net for a shot – or let Dubi carry puck and you NOT try to carry into zone and then shoot. Again, paging Mr. Marian Gaborik…”

    THis is a 1 – 0 game without the deflection – which happens – so essentially, HANK = MONSTER 2 (squared – couldt figure out small squared 2)

    Question: How long does Hank stay on a team that will struggle in the first round of the playoffs – this guy is doing EVERYTHING except score goals – he has been spectacular these past few games.

    I of course disagree on the Avery issue – what does he bring exactly? Oh, a face wash or a comment here or there – BIG DEAL. You win hockey games by scoring goals – moving feet, passing puck (AND catching puck) and shooting. He is a waste of a position on this team – call up a youngster from Whale and get some skill going –

  25. Carp – A couple things, on number 4, I’m guessing you mean Theodore in the 2009 playoffs, when we last play the Caps. On number 9, I wondered right away why Christensen was left to defend. On the replay, I saw Gilroy on the ice, not Girardi, with Staal. Gilroy was standing in front of Neuvirth, so maybe it was a poor decision for Staal to also pinch. Looking at the play-by-play reports, Gilroy was on the ice way too long, for 90 seconds at least, as McCabe had changed but he did not. On the highlights, it’s 14:48 of the 1st.

    Earlier in the week, I read how Anisimov is the best player you haven’t heard of for the Rangers. He doesn’t look like it. I would even bring in MZA for him next game. He’s been weak.

  26. Until Sather finds a way to bring some offensive talent into this organization you can expect more of what we have seen for the last 5 years. A mediocre team that fights for the 8th seed and goes nowhere. I am so sick of trying to win 2-1 games. Get some players in here who can put the puck in the net. We supposedly have all these great defensemen in the organization. How about trading some for offense? Do something.

  27. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Rangers, to a man, must harden up and play nasty. The broadway blueshirt bullies. Step, ec, ww, AA, and dubi need to turn it up to 11.

  28. McCabe needs to be swapped out with Emminger. McCabe is the weak link on defence and he makes an already putrid power play stink more. He is slow skating & passing. He wanders in the offensive zone and coughs up the puck like a rookie. This change can’t be made soon enough. After all isn’t McCabes contract up after this season I hope he won’t be back. He is so slow he can’t be set up to use his BIG SHOT which hasn’t impressed me at all.Emminger at least will bring a little more physical play and not be such a liability. I also have to agree MDZ should have been up. I also think Tortorella is leaning way to hard on Stahl & Girardi rendering them less effective. I think the other guys can share the load and take on Ovechkin. When you get physical with him he is much less a threat it makes him try to be more physical taking away his other skills.

  29. The only thing I wish for Wednesday is to hear “and they’re on their feet at the Garden” from Sam Rosen as time ticks down.

    I want to see more of that Avery-Boyle-Prust line in tomorrow’s game. Even though Wolski set up that goal on Wednesday, he didn’t look good last night and didn’t play in the last half of the third. (Neither did Drury)

    HA! Prust got a roughing penalty at the end of the game.

  30. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Coach Sean – with all due respect, you are laboring under several misconceptions. Avery was the brightest star in the sky last night. Playoff hockey = passionate hockey and your namesake is one of the few playing with heart. Who is there to call up to bring offense and skill? Newbury would be my choice because he has that fire in his belly so lacking among many -MZA??? I am not impressed with him one at all… Who else is down there? The current invisible rangers including AA, ec, dubi are missing in action…. Stepan is playing softer than 2 ply tissue. You mentioned gabby setting up after Dubi carries the puck in the zone…. At this point, Dubi is unable to touch the puck much less carry it anywhere. I think he might be hurt. He hasn’t looked this lost in years.

  31. I went to the game last night.

    Fedetenko was our best player. Loved what Avery brought.

    Everyone else is bush-league. Gaborik needs to take his game to the Southeast Division of the Mexican Summer League.

    I keep telling you: Caps in 3 (Rangers forfeit after getting embarrased, like a mule in Tijuana)

  32. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Rangers win tomorrow, especially if it’s convincing, goes a long way inthe confidence department.

  33. McCabe looks like he’s ready to be checked into Shady Pines Retirement Home. You can add him to the list of failed Ranger trade deadline defensemen with Ozolinsh, Backman, and Morris.

  34. Rhode Island Ranger on

    Eddie x 3:

    Agree with you about what a win tomorrow would mean to the team’s confidence and subsequent performance.

    But be careful. Drawing upon the brilliant analysis of human nature by the philosopher, Prof. Kevin Lowe, Carp has made it clear that he will not abide any talk of “momentum.” He intends to stamp this voodoo out of hockey culture. The players, after all, are merely robots. Confidence has no bearing on physical performance. And every game is played in a vacuum, unaffected by any memory of recent action. Losing is as good a prep for the next game as winning according to this materialist philosophy.

    Get with the new program !

  35. I’d rather watch Erika Christensen – I mean, Martha Stewart – bake some cookies.

  36. I do think the series is over.

    But the only way – and I mean THE ONLY way – that the Rangers can make them nervous is if we win convincingly tomorrow. And by doing so, we get into this head and make Neuvirth nervous. ‘Cause that would then allow us to take Game 4.

    But this “only way” is more of a pipe dream.

  37. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    RIR- I appreciate your iroic twist, but to say there no such thing as momentum is ludicrous. Sports are played as much between the ears as they are the body. When the mind is strong, relaxed, and confident it can will the body to go far and beyond…. Look at individual sports like tennis and golf… These guys get on a run and it lasts for a awhile… It’s all mental.

  38. Eddie –

    I agree with you on Dubi – i think he is hurt or something is going on – he has not the Jam that he has shown at times in the past.

    I still disagree on Avery – if that is all true, then why does that not turn into goals – I just dont see it – not for this current team anyway – the one point I forgot to also make I think sums up why we may be four and done:

    WE REALLY MISS CALLAHAN!!!!

  39. My biggest grief about these 2 games isn’t the score cuz I know the top end skill difference between the teams is enormous and the Rangers struggled most of the year to generate offense – it’s the physical pounding they are taking.

    It seems for every decent hit the Rangers hand out, they are getting pummelled at least 5 times over.

    It’s time for the softies to be pressboxed. Bring up Newberry and Weise and play them.

  40. Rhode Island Ranger on

    Carp:

    If you’re representing Kevin Lowe’s absolute Momentum Denial position fairly (I assume you are), then you must believe the Rangers have the same chance to win tomorrow as they did before dropping two to the Caps. Confidence and emotions be damned.

    If momentum doesn’t exist in the playoffs in the psychological and/or physiological sense AT ALL as Lowe claimed, then the historical success rate of teams that go up by two is a real mystery. Both stats and the personal experience of old players like myself demonstrates that the sensation of momentum is very real, indeed.

    Is momentum absolute. No, of course not. The stats and last year’s Bruins suggest otherwise. It is one slippery factor of many that go into playoff series victories.

    If you can remember the context in which he claimed this, it might help us figure out why he said it and whether he really believed it at the time.

    Because it touches on stats, experience, psychology and philosophy, the momentum question really appeals to me. I’m glad you introduced it, though I think you need to take Lowe’s wisdom with a larger grain of salt.

    Love your blog… even when the Caps have the momentum !!!

  41. Rhode Island Ranger on

    Eddie:

    Sorry if I laid on the irony too thick. I think the Lowe/Carp School of absolute Momentum Denial is demonstrably false… but fun to debate.

  42. R.I., do you believe the Rangers have less of a chance of winning Game 3 than they had in Game 1 or Game 2?

    The historical success rate of teams going up by two has more to do with mathematics and, in many cases, the team up 2-0 being simply a superior team.

    Conversely, if the Capitals think they have the momentum in this series and treat Game 3 as such, it will be 2-1 by Sunday evening. Oh, and then I suppose the momentum will have shifted and the Rangers will be heavily favored to win Game 4.

  43. Carp – Also, it was Gilroy on the ice with Staal for #9 as he had not changed for Girardi. Maybe Staal is to blame for pinching when Gilroy already was in.

  44. fwd lines for next game should be:
    dubinsky-stepan-gaborik
    woilski-anismov-fedentenko
    avery-boyle-prust
    zuccaerllo-prospal-drury

  45. TheREALMikeyNj on

    they held serve at home, now we have to do the same
    simpel as that, and everyon eneeds to step up.
    Only people I noticed last night were Boyle Prust Avery Fed and a little Dubi
    Drury has been rested all year,, and DEF needs to do soemthing
    Prospal is trying to make thign happen but EC and Gabby arent finishing

    And def put Eminger back in. He plays way harder than McCabe, And its not liek he can hurt th epowerplay

    And i agree, Sam Rosen is old so i will give him a pass but Joe Douchelletti needs to ge off the air. Go join the islanders staff
    I watch the game on mute for at least 48 of the 60 minutes.

    Another thign I noticed, everytime there not broadcasting, we win more

  46. Rhode Island Ranger on

    Carp:

    I think the Caps feel momentum after two wins. This should allow them to continue playing loosely and executing at a high level.

    Can the Rangers overcome it? It’s possible. But they have to BELIEVE it’s possible. A great individual play, ref’s call, big hit, fight, or lucky goal can help fuel that belief. A noisy crowd can boost adrenaline levels.

    Momentum is confidence from recent results. It boosts performance. I don’t believe (and hope in the Caps’ case it’s not absolute) it’s irreversible. But that’s different than denying its existence.

    We’ve all felt it in sports and we see its footprint in the stats. Momentum is real.

  47. agree with every point. bottom line there skill guys can score on occassion in the playoffs the rangers have no skill guys. gaborik actually appears to be playing hard but if you cannot put it in the net he is of little help.

    this team is just short of offensive skill. they get almost all of there chances off the forecheck and other teams turnovers…..

    henrik has played well but not insane… 18 shots or so, the 2nd goal was a lucky bounce….

    plug away……

  48. HockeymanRangers on

    Something that ,of all people, Roeneck (Versus) brought up inbetween periods, how easy it was to push Christinsion away from the net when he was poking at it. One little bump and he let up and quit poking that’s not desperation hockey. I thought it was a good point. We haven’t challenged that goaltender at all.
    Gaborick needs to place the puck instead of just shooting?? I guess it’s easy to say from my reclyner. But he got a elephant on his back.
    Well it should be intersting to see who Torts healthy scracthes for tomorrow??
    OK fans whomever is going to the game tomorrow I want to HEAR some series noise form my TV tomorrow. We can do this…….

  49. Here’s a hint on how to win an NHL playoff game.

    SCORE A GOAL. That means putting the little black round disk in the net.

    Rangers are going nowhere. Half on this team is pathetic.

  50. not giving up yet but obviously the odds are bad. at a minimum the young guys will get to see that playoff hockey is at a whole new level of speed and intensity.

    the latest whippin boy is EC. he is skilled and soft the kiss of death to ranger fans. interesting guys like boyle, dubi, and others who play hard but have not scored in many games get passes.. interesting how that works. ec just cannot get himself to ever play all in, go as hard as possible etc.

    the rangers need 3 young guys to make it next year as forwards who have some speed and skill, not sure if that is going to happen………………….callahan is 1 forward injury, frolow who stunk is another, there forward depth of guys with skill is very limited.

    grachev and weise just have not taken the next step and maybe never will……………

  51. zucc psuttering of also and he has some skill, vision, and creativity. he isw 5 ft 7 and 23 so to expect him to really contribute after 25 games was probably way to optimistic.

    just cannot believe the shortage of young scoring talent the rangers have in NY and Conn. there highest skill guys are in jrs. and are generally small, or kreider who needs to go pro..

    think if the rangers had cherapanov, how much of a difference that would have made!!!!!1 high draft pick goes bad and boom. Obviously I do not blame the rangers for the unfortunate and tragic circumstances of cherapanov but it affects the team 3 years later. cherapanov had offensive stud written all over him… to bad for the rangers and obviously to bad for Cherepanov and his family and friends…

  52. Boom Boom Bathgate on

    You know what would be really GUTSY for the Rangers to do, at this point? Bench McCabe. Have the courage to admit that his acquisition was a mistake, and that he cannot cut it, anymore. A really forward-looking organization does the right thing, and doesn’t worry about the embarrassment of admitting mistakes. The priority is correcting obvious mistakes, immediately.

    Look at the imbecilic, moronic New York Mets, holding on to Castillo and that Double A washout pitcher until the cows came home, at enormous cost to the team winning percentage, and with it a real bummer for the fans who pay top dollar to support an organization committed to nothing except the bottom line.

    The Rangers have a chance here to make the statement that they will not coddle old unproductive players one minute beyond their usefullness. I would really be impressed if they bench this McCabe, or at least cut him to “Avery minutes.” Or are they just the New York Mets on skates?

  53. If the momentum isn’t irreversible, then what is it? Did Pittsburgh’s momentum carry over into Game 2 against Tampa Bay.

    If momentum carries over, then the Rangers just need to break the momentum and win Game 3, and then they will win the series, right?

    I also think the Caps are smart enough to dismiss any idea of momentum, especially after what happened the last two years in their playoff series — when they were down 2-0 and 3-1 to the Rangers, when they blew a 3-1 lead last year.

    I rest my case (because I’m weary from arguing it. If you want to believe momentum exists from one game to another, go ahead and enjoy that). History has and will continue to prove otherwise.

  54. RANGERS NEED MORE JAM…..Insert Newbury for EC……

    We will win this series with Jam, and plenty of it.

    Let’s get jamming boys!

    (And agreed, McCabe missed a few opps to catch a pass and put a shot on net, made a few almost costly gaffs and he realized with that camera shot of his face. I dont think DZ would have gotten us in the playoffs. Gilroy looked inspired, not many others however. And did Drury play last night? We have a lot of invisible players and one and half lines of hard workers)

  55. benching mccabe is probably a bad idea. it is not similar to what the mets did. the met players had long term deals. mccabe is off the books in maybe 4 days. mccabe is slow but if he is not on the PP, they have no power play at all unless you want gilroy to take the lead after not having that job all year.

    yes the PP sucks now but it can get even worse..mccabe has been a issue defensively but they have given up 2 goals a game in this series and had the 6th best d all yr. emminger cannot score so he adds not much. benching mccabe is not insane but I do not see it happening the biggest issues of emminger or mccabe is the yare 3rd pair d men and becaus the rangers have 2 good d pairs nad 1 being all rookies they use staal and girardi a ton and they appear to be getting tired, that is the biggest reason for next year needing to have 3 pairs torts can trust………….

  56. momentum has zero carry over from game to game. look at the results of the games. anaheim game 2, tampa game 2 etc. these guys are pro’s they have short memories they have to…

  57. Dear Ranger Joe,

    What kind of weed do they grow up there in NY? cuz it aint quality if you think that the Rangers win in 6.

    In order to win you have to score, where are the goals going to come from. Gaborik? You need HEART & INTENSITY in the playoffs to win & show me a ranger with some, anyone?

    One thing I ‘d like to see happen is someone just lay-out Ovechkin. Man do I hate this Russian bastard.

  58. Boom Boom Bathgate on

    Thanks stuart. Yes, Cherepanov is and will be the unwritten story behind so many Rangers frustrations and near misses, for the curse of at least another decade. If the team comes close but does not win a Cup in the next decade, it’s the Cherepanov Factor. If the team does win a Cup with this maturing group, the question will be along the lines of would it have been two or possibly even three Cups, with Alexei as the big gun?

    All we have to do is live with the speculation, Alexei had to die at 19. We are still alive and blessed in many ways, that is something to hold on to.

  59. if you sit mccabe, girardi and staal will play even more because them or gilroy will need to man the point on the PP and girardi and staal look exhausted already………

  60. hang in there ranger fans, they are trying, they need a bounce or 2 get in front and play there defensive forecheck game….

  61. no time to read all the posts
    maybe read more of ’em later
    but i agree with something
    fran
    said
    in regards to what passes for passing on this team.
    yes, the caps have more skill
    but
    at this point in time
    it’s not being negative
    to expect the Rangers to actually
    pass the puck to their teammate.

    i understand that familiarity with linemates
    makes it easier to know where to put the puck
    but there’s got to be something better at this point
    than scramble behind the net
    try to get it to a man at the point
    and then chase it again.

    no wonder they’re exhausted!

  62. LGR! Let’s go Wings!

    The Wings are, in my opinion, the best team to watch in the league. They truly know how to play hockey, and it’s a joy to watch, even when they lose.

  63. Boom Boom Bathgate on

    First of all, I do not just bench or sit aging, unproductive players – I fire them. Rather lose, if I must, with “futures,” not with the past, and the term of veterans overpaid contacts is not the priority consideration, their negative impact upon the team’s overall performance is the motivation for making timely, not belated upgrade changes.

    The point re the minutes logged and the “exhausted” physical condition of young players has merit, but I think it can also be debated. Look, Washington played 82 regular season games and they are not exactly fresh as a daisy, either, competing for the top conference playoff slot, as they have been doing all year. When you lose, you do look tired, when you win you look sharp. We can agree that in playing favorites throughout the season, Torts now has an imbalance of burned-out players, contrasted with rusty players whose role was poorly defined.

    This series is looking like the coming to the fore of the way the players were handled during the regular season, and Washington, it appears, husbanded their resources more intelligently and less desperately. Hank is still at the top of his game, but sadly, Torts would start Hank every game with no respite, rather than spot a back-up goalie in relief, as he did the last, what, six weeks? I am looking for Hank to show signs of wear and tear, in the next two games. Let’s face it, the Rangers shot their wad in the regular season just getting to where they are – with almost nothing left in the tank

    At this point, to continue to put McCabe out there is tantamount to a concession statement, where this series in concerned. If Rozy or Redden were still around and playing the way McCabe is screwing up, everybody would be yelling for their’s and Sather’s head. Some say, go with the kids and give them experience. Some say a veteran like McCabe must be put out there or Staal and Girardi will drop from exhaustion from the extra minutes. Either way, it appears the Rangers are toast.

  64. #6

    I feel like all to often I’m defending players in situations like this. This time it’s Dubi.
    Laich makes a sick play to set the wheels in motion for a boom boom play.
    He is behind the net almost entirely to the LEFT of the cage. While disposing of Gilroy with an elbow to the chest he makes a one handed pass through McCabe to Johansson who’s open in the RIGHT circle.
    Johansson makes a one touch pass to Chimera who one times the shot.
    Dubi collapses too low but Gilroy’s off balance and Laich has the puck on the LEFT of the net when he makes his crazy one handed pass.
    Good play by Dubi, hell no, but IMO hardly egregious and others share in the blame, of course. But more so IMO, a tremendous play by Laich, with a quick pass and a quick shot to finish.
    Sometimes the other team makes a really good play and you have to tip your cap to them.

  65. Rhode Island Ranger on

    Carp:

    Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner.

    On your denial of the existence of momentum in the playoffs, you wrote:

    “If the momentum isn’t irreversible, then what is it? Did Pittsburgh’s momentum carry over into Game 2 against Tampa Bay.”

    This analogy might help: Momentum’s influence is like the wind in an outdoor game. It’s invisible but real. You play better with it at your back. You can win against it, but it’s tougher. It can shift in direction and intensity, even disappearing for a time.

    As I said, momentum is simply confidence from recent success. Your difficulty accepting this (and Lowe’s too you report) will end as soon as you stop defining it as an absolute. Your complete denial of momentum’s influence depends on a false definition, a strawman, that you then easily knock down. Like EC !

    When you accept that it is one factor among many that contribute to victory in a playoff series, you’ll find that stats, personal sports experience and modern science all lead you to the truth of momentum’s existence.

  66. Dress 7 D-Men. Read my genius points above. I should be coach. Just kidding.

    On a serious note though – please dress 7 D-Men. Please. McCabe is old. Remember when we said he looks like the fat guy on Nintendo Ice Hockey? Well he plays like him too.

  67. Rather than read through all the hate and propositions of changes, and respond to it…

    I will just post this:

    “A lot can change, and it starts with one win. That’s going to be our focus.” -Henrik Lundqvist

  68. NYR – Plenty can change. I am still feeling positive. I thought they created some great chances last night (especially Avery). They are playing great with the D-Boys pinching in to play a deep wing (did I just make that position up?) on the offensive rush. Good things to come. Really. Get this to 2-1 and we are right back in there.

    I feel the best I can feel down 0-2. I promise.

  69. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    morning ILB and all!!

    Carp
    great review, I really agree about mccabe!!

    looks like the NHL went to the torts school of “fair and even handed” discipline and accountability.

  70. McCabe needs to play…I agree that he sucks defensively, Blowzy is probably better…but Caber can actually rifle the puck…something other guys can’t do..we need more help on offense, not defense…McCabe is a weapon…

    Sauer has been making smart pinches all season. He is awesome at it. I’ve watched him closely all season. He reads the play very well…

  71. Sauer is great. He is really showing it. McMonster is also great. Really great. I know he took a stupid penalty last night but I agree with Carp that it’s a soft call. He has looked awesome.

    How about Gilroy? Too bad this guy sat for the last few weeks of the season, eh? He looks great.

    Dress 7 D-Men and put Gilroy on the wing! DO IT!

    or, as an alternative….

    Get Newbury up here.

    Get Christensen out of here. OUT.

  72. RIR

    I’m not really on either side of the argument on momentum (if pushed, it feels like there is some merit to its existence, but probably way overblown – much of what is attributed to “momentum” must just be the better team being more likely to win consecutive games).

    But if you’re going to say your view is based on more than just gut feel, then presumably there are stats out there to support some kind of persistency of performance following wins/losses that goes beyond a team’s true ability level (i.e. some sort of hard evidence that winning/losing actually improves/worsens a team’s future performance)?

  73. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    I also think mccabe needs to play. I do not think he is horrible defencively (he was pretty bad last night), but he has had some decent defencive games. I just agree with carp and it looked like his legs last night, not his heart (which we can’t say about some other of our boys).

    Lets just be honest here, defencively he is no steve eminger.

  74. Girardi and Staal looked tired in the second period… Sorry to tell ya torts bout you need to split up the “best shotdown” dmen and pair Mcmonster with Girardi and Staal with Suaer.

  75. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    wow, boudreau spent 32 years in the minors as a player and coach

  76. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    LW
    that is frakking hilarious!!

    NYR
    LMFAO!!

  77. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    orr
    did you see the t shirt I was talking about?

  78. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    orr
    well one of my buddies sent me a message that said some one had a tshirt on that said “hawks suck cawks” on it also, i didn’t see that one. LMFAO!! (sorry carp and all if that was offencive)

  79. Carp,

    Great summary of the game. Rangers just don’t have enough O to beat this or most playoff teams.

    When Gaborik has a good chance this year he just can’t bury it. Does not snap his wrister high like he did last year.

    About the Avery bias Coaches play the players who give them the best chance of winning. Torts obviously feels he can’t trust Avery so he has tried others. But after last night it is clear that Avery should play the rest of the series. Rangers need his forecheck, his hitting and jam.

    McCabe has looked bad. Gilroy has been gd expect when he got bounced by leading to the first Caps goal.

    I had Caps in 6 and unless the Rangers do not pick up their play it will end in 5.

  80. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    Rangers in 6, I’m still G2G!! LGR!!

  81. I’m gonna say something about McCabe. Yes he has slowed, and yes he sometimes gets out of synch a bit, but he recovers well, and he is not as defective as some of you have been saying. He makes no more mistakes than the hot bloods we have who go for a skate now and then in the midst of the action. and he does put pucks on the net consistently..point out another guy on the team who does this, from the blue line. they are low, hard and accurate. He’s not perfect, but he is the most consistent we’ve had in my memory. And look how long we tolerated Roszival!

    And I have always been mystified at Torts tip toeing about using Gilroy on a regular basis..the guys moves pucks when he’s cut free of the DEEfense posture a bit. Kaberle has slowed a bit and is not a slammer, but he is lauded for his puck control and passing. And He’s much faster than Kaberle.Right now I’d take Gilroy over him. And Gilroy is not as shy about the bashing game as one would be led to believe.

  82. I said it last night and ill say it again:

    Capitals defense has been spectacular, they have clearly been the better team. They have made less mistakes than the rangers have, and they have capitalized on chances much better than the rangers have.

  83. Rhode Island Ranger on

    LW3H:

    You’re right to want some statistical evidence for the competitive advantage of the confidence that comes from recent success.

    First, consider the two extreme positions on momentum: Momentum Trumps All vs. Momentum Doesn’t Exist (Carp-Lowe Theory).

    The stats easily demonstrate that momentum does not trump all other factors in playoff success. If it did, of course, the winner in Game 1 would sweep all series. Clearly not the case.

    On the other hand, according to the stats wizards at Versus, the winners of Game 1 claim 67% of seven-game series. In the social sciences, this is considered statistically significant.
    I think they said last night that the winner of Game 2 (as we know from above this is likely to be the winner of Game 1) takes 70-something percent of series.

    If the confidence from recent success we call momentum doesn’t enhance performance at all, we would expect either complete randomness from game to game or possibly something like the best team (by ranking) winning all the time.

    The scientific literature is now very clear on the positive effect of confidence from recent success (momentum) on physical performance of all kinds. It defies reason and our common experience and the ubiquity of “momentum” in sports language to think that momentum isn’t one important factor in playoff success.

    So, why wouldn’t a bright feller like Kevin Lowe admit it?

  84. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    I’ve gone cross eyed!!

  85. Question: Just saw Tie Domi at the New York Yankees game and as my fiance pointed out – the Rangers might actually MISS an enforcer right now. How great would it be if someone could go out there and just annihilate Ovechkin anytime he went near the puck?

    I am not saying I miss Boogard ….. but it’s a thought.

  86. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Maybe it’s a matter of semantics. To say that a player or a team plays better when confident is a statement that should not be challenged. Henry Ford said it best: if you think you can, you might – but if you think you can’t, you surely won’t.

  87. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    can’t believe that we have not put more traffic in front of their goalie!!

  88. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    Can you guys name 3 coaches currently in the league you would rather have than torts?

  89. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    Anisimov: “I’m not happy with my play, afraid of making mistakes. I need to relax and just play.”

    Excuse or coach’s “fair” (LOL) accountability policy??

    Orr
    not sure if I can, maybe bylsma or ruff, but that’s about it!!

  90. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    why does ryan have a hearing? What did he do?

  91. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    orr
    yes, He had to fill a malkin and a crosby hole….that team kept on winning. Have to give credit where credit is due.

  92. Detroit is so good. Is anybody else seeing this? I’m mesmerized, just like Phoenix is.

  93. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    RIR – thx, earlier I mentioned your ironic twist… Don’t think for one second it was too thick…. I am pretty much in agreement with all of your posts.

  94. RIR- In your opinion, if a team wins the first 2 games of a series, then lose game 3, but go on to win the series, does that fall under “momentum”?

  95. Totally agree that Boogard is not the guy – but having a big man that could push people around would be REALLY helpful in this series. Or any series.

  96. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    manny and orr
    yep, a huge help.

  97. Yes – I am watching this….Red Wings are definitely “good.” Totally amazing. Almost like watching the Canucks.

  98. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    I heard boogey is taking skating lessons this summer from boyle’s coach!

  99. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    DDe – I think you are missing RIR’s point. Momentum in and of itself is not the end all be all…. Talent, work ethic, passion, and other non tangibles are also in play. Much of what momentum is – is really about confidence and the inherent role that psychology plays in sports. I played college tennis and hacked around on a satillite tour and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that when I was winning matches it made winning the next match much easier…. Winning breeds confidence which breeds more winning. Conversely, when I hit a rough patch… Easy to get down and stay down….much of it… All of it – mental.

  100. RIR

    “The winners of Game 1 claim 67% of seven-game series. In the social sciences, this is considered statistically significant.”

    This shows the significance of what? The “better” team is more likely to win Game One and more likely to win the series. That 67% stat alone doesn’t confirm anything about the actual act of winning Game One making winning subsequent games more likely than it originally was.

    “If the confidence from recent success we call momentum doesn’t enhance performance at all, we would expect either complete randomness from game to game or possibly something like the best team (by ranking) winning all the time.”

    There is a pretty significant element of “randomness”, luck, call it what you will, that determines the outcome of single games and series, regardless of the existence or otherwise of momentum. A winning/losing streak could easily occur due to randomness and then retrospectively be attributed to “momentum” (confirmation bias).

    To support its existence, the numbers would presumably show that random variation decreases with every win/loss, i.e. the outcome of individual games become more predictable over time. This increase in predictability might be the case, but again, I’d be sceptical as to whether you could properly attribute this to “momentum” rather than just the games revealing more about the teams’ true relative talent level (which you’d relaistically need more than seven games to do).

  101. Stuart let’s just keep going with what doesn’t work! And what the heck do the Mets have to do with hockey. I also don’t think McCabe got them to the playoffs what did he score 1 goal? Fran I agree with most of what you say but McCabe has had very few shots on net and they have not been accurate. He is way to busy trying to get in position and not getting off any quick shots or passing it onto anyones stick in a good shooting position. You talk about the Ranger’s passing being bad McCabes’ been as bad as anyone. But in the end your right who else has doing what we expect McCabe to do?

  102. Triple Eddie I think your right when you win you know what works and keep doing it until it doesn’t. I agree with Lowe’s theory of momentum.The only momentum has been the Ranger’s not scoring. Ranger’s have been playing a good game but the the offence ain’t working they need to do something different. They are doing what they did during dry spells during the season not shooting. Get as many shots on net as possible you never know when 1 is going in or be a big juicy rebound. I know that’s an old cliche but players wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true. There have not been many rebounds or deflections. When the Caps get the slightest chance to shoot they do , The Ranger’s are always looking for better chances that aren’t there. Once you pass up the slightest chance to shoot it’s not coming back. They need to play D the way they have and be a little more net hungry.

  103. Nice write up Carp.

    NYR are a team 8th seed in the conference playing a #1 seed team, and its showing in spades. Caps are physically manhandling the Rangers. Keep in mind, we do have a bunch of kids getting their first taste of play-off hockey & I’m content with the mindset that this series will be a learning experience for the kids. However, our vets have not been a good influence on how play-off hockey should be played.

    Prospal looks as though he’s on his last leg, literally. Gabby’s shoulder injurie from earlier in the season (thank you Colbie Armstrong) has him out of sorts. His wicked shot that was on display for much of last season is now non-existent. Lecavalier suffered the same injury, and look how long it took him to rediscover his game.

    For me, I’m chalking this series up as valuable experience for the kids.

    I’m almost 90% sure that when NYR are officially eliminated, we’ll come to find out Dubinsky has been nursing an injury for the past few months. Its possible the stress fracture never fully healed. These types of injuries can be tricky.

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