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Rangers-Senators Game 4 in review
Posted By On April 19, 2012 @ 4:23 am In Hockey,New York Rangers,NHL | 214 Comments
1) Well, there goes my Rangers in 5 prediction. Back to Kanata Monday. Yee-freakin-hah!
2) This has been an odd series, IMO, in that I thought Ottawa’s best game start to finish was Game 3, a game the Senators lost, and one of those many, many games this season that could have gone either way and went the Rangers way. 
3) That said, the Rangers — and every other team that plays playoff hockey — sing the mantra about how “we expect that they will get better each game, and so we have to get better, too.” And I think, though that hasn’t proven to be completely true in this series, that Ottawa has gotten better as the series has gone on, and the Rangers haven’t gotten much better, if at all. I don’t think they’ve played, except for the first part of Game 1, anywhere near their best yet. They’d better hurry now.
4) The Senators are 2-0 in games Matt Carkner plays. Just proves how usesless stats are. Carkner nearly cost them Game 2 by himself, and the Senators ended up winning despite him, and long after he had been kicked out of the game. And he had a huge hand in the Game 4 win with that assist out of the penalty box. And he made a smart play by delaying coming out of the box, though I’m not sure why he did it, so that he hopped out just as the puck was arriving, and in stride. I still say he stepped in carcillo and was extremely lucky there, because he had taken a dreadful penalty in the first place and Marc Staal nearly put the game away on the power play just before Carkner was released. He also made a nice pass. So credit where it’s due. I think he was a complete non-factor otherwise.
5) Now, about Zenon Konopka. I still say Paul MacLean messed up big-time in not using Konopka or Carkner in Game 1 and trying to beat the Rangers with a soft lineup, it it still might end up costing the Senators the series. But since Konopka was re-inserted, he and Chris Neil have created havoc around Henrik Lundqvist and along the walls. I think the Rangers have handled them well, but they have had to pay them a lot 0f attention, and expend a lot of energy doing it. 
6) That sure was a shocking start for the power play, wasn’t it? The Rangers were 25-2-4 when they scored PPGs during the season. They are 0-2 when they score PPGs in the playoffs.
7) A lot of times I’ve noticed Marian Gaborik taking off, and then noticed that he’s playing against the fastest defenseman in the league in Erik Karlsson. I think that has hampered Gaborik some, and so has Filip Kuba, and so has not having Carl Hagelin for the last two games (and Game 5). So last night the GAS line was reunited, as was the Brandon Dubinsky-Brad Richards-Ryan Callahan line.
8) John Tortorella kind of piled it on Artem Anisimov for taking that penalty that led to the Senators’ first goal. Not defending Anisimov, but if they do a better chance around the net on the shot by Sergei Gonchar, maybe we don’t even remember the Anisimov penalty. And he wasn’t the only guy to take one.
9) That Marc Staal hit on Jason Spezza … I’m not sure what part of Staal’s arm or shoulder hot Spezza, and it sure wasn’t a high hit, because Spezza’s head was low and going lower. But the fact is, the point of contact was the head, and so I’m not sure he won’t be hearing from Brendan Shanahan today. Then again, I’m not sure anymore at all what is a penalty, what isn’t, what’s deserving supplemental discipline, what isn’t.
10) Chris Kreider, in his very few shifts, sure showed off his wheels in this game, didn’t he? Used them like Hagelin, in a defensive way, and in a way to force a play by the Senators. And he had another really good scoring chance. That said, I don’t know if he plays beyond Game 5, after which Hagelin comes back.
11) The Senators finally contained Brian Boyle.
12) Speaking of dumb penalties, how stupid was the slew foot by Nick Foligno against Ryan Callahan at that stage of the game?
13) Sometimes I believe stuff just happens and that you don’t draw conclusions. The fact that Henrik Lundqvist has lost seven straight OT games in the playoffs is one of those. IMO, it doesn’t way anything negative about Lundqvist other than maybe he’s been in an unusual, maybe inexplicable bad-luck streak. But I think if it goes on much longer, it could be a problem.
14) What was more unbelievable last nght? That Philly allowed 10 goals? Or that the game didn’t deteriorate into another fight-fest? Also, does anybody think it’s not possible for Pittsburgh and/or Vancouver to come back from 0-3? Two years ago, Philly came back from 0-3 and won a series. Last year two teams — Chicago and Detroit — fell behind 0-3 and ended up forcing a Game 7. The Blackhawks lost Game 7 to Vancouver in OT, the Red Wings lost Game 7 to San Jose 3-2.
My Three Rangers Stars:
1) Brad Richards.
2) Marc Staal.
3) Dan Girardi.
rangerJHW’s Three Rangers Stars:
1) Dan Girardi.
2) Ryan McDonagh.
3) Brad Richards — maybe he should take every faceoff!
AP photos, above.
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