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Rangers-Senators Game 1 in review

Posted By Carp On April 13, 2012 @ 4:13 am In Hockey,New York Rangers,NHL | 333 Comments

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Thoughts:

1) Oh, Captain. Ryan Callahan set a tone early, as usual, found a way to score an uglier-than-hell goal—and he’s made that an art form—and helped will his team to victory. I know, that’s a bit dramatic, because he sure wasn’t alone. You’d have a tough time finding anybody in a blue uniform who didn’t play pretty darn well in this one. I think that black hat is silly sometimes, but Callahan’s had it as much as anybody (other than the goalie, maybe more than him, I don’t know). Fitting that he got it for Game 1 after missing last year’s playoffs. [2]

2) Brian Boyle had some freight-train hits early on, scored an enormous goal, won faceoffs, took Erik Karlsson off a power play with some sneaky little punches, and sent a whole bunch of messages to the Senators that they’d better be ready to face four, five, six or seven games of this style. Not sure they all will be willing to do that. Boyle=Beast.

3) Once again, the Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, Carl Hagelin line was solid, and everything a No. 1 line needs to be. Gaborik used his speed and his hands. Hagelin’s speed created two goals. Richards was good all night. Against Ottawa’s top guys a lot, against Ottawa’s top checkers a lot. And Richards took plenty of crap, and gave some back, with that Zach Smith guy, who’s going to be a pain in the aasen this series.

4) Um, what was that about this being a bad matchup for the Rangers?

5) Though I wouldn’t start celebrating just yet. I still think there’s a very good chance this is 1-1 going back to Kanata.

6) The Rangers, as promised, didn’t change a thing with the way they play. Just played it at a higher level. And were sure not perfect. But good enough. Plenty good enough.

7) And if you break it down to simplest terms: Henrik Lundqvist—a.k.a. the Rangers’ biggest advantage in this series—was better than Craig Anderson, who wasn’t awful, but is going to need to give up fewer than four, fewer than three actually, for Ottawa to have a chance in any game. Lundqvist was really good when he needed to be, and he even admitted he had to calm himself down because he was complaining to the officials early on.

[3]8) Scoring? Rick Nash who?

9) How good is Karlsson? But will he want to play four or five or six games like this? Boyle took him off, and he seemed to handle being banged around. But he was banged around. The kid is magical with the puck, and he can skate, too.

10) Even though one of you in particular, maybe more, disagree, there is no momentum between playoff games. In other, simpler (slower) words, nothing that happened last night is going to matter tomorrow, or carry into tomorrow. Nothing. The Rangers aren’t going to win Game 2 because of the way they played last night, and Ottawa’s not going to lose Game 2 because of tonight, and vice versa. Is that simple enough?

11) Chris Neil tried to start trouble when it was 4-0 (shocker) and again in the final minutes when he was kicking out skates and slashing legs. I imagine somebody’s going to have to take care of him at some point. Brandon Prust, Mike Rupp or Stu Bickel. [4]

12) Speaking of Bickel, he didn’t sparkle like Hagelin, but I thought he handled himself quite well in his first playoff game. And Anisimov, not a rookie, was as good as he’s been in a while, as John Tortorella said.

13) Don’t underestimate those three PKs against that Ottawa PP.

14) Today’s Friday the 13th. But it’s also April 13, or the anniversary of the Rangers’ 1940 Stanley Cup clincher. Which means today it’s officially one Cup in 72 years.

15) My friend Mike Vaccaro from the Post, best sports columnist in NYC, came up with this. The last time the Rangers hosted a Game 1 of a playoff series, Derek Jeter got his 22nd and 23rd career hits that night.

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My Three Rangers Stars:
1) Ryan Callahan.
2) Henrik Lundqvist.
3) Carl Hagelin.
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ilb2001’s Three Rangers Stars:
1) Brian Boyle.
2) Ryan Callahan.
3) Brad Richards—could be surprising to some, but I think he was a calming force for this young team all night long.
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AP photos, above.


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[1] Image: http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/files/2012/04/callahan-Game-1-vs-Ott.jpg

[2] Image: http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/files/2012/04/McDonagh-Game-1-vs.-Ott.1.jpg

[3] Image: http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/files/2012/04/Gaborik-in-Game-1-vs-Ott..jpg

[4] Image: http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/files/2012/04/boyle-Game-1-vs-Ott.jpg