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Rangers-Senators Game 5 in review

Posted By Carp On April 22, 2012 @ 4:05 am In Hockey,New York Rangers,NHL | 434 Comments

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Thoughts:

1) On the Chris Neil assault on Brian Boyle … not only did he drive-by, blind-side, head-target him, but after Boyle went down, Neil gave him another shot in the back of the head. I don’t think John Tortorella was correct in saying it’s the same as Raffi Torres … he didn’t leave his feet, and while it was dirty and dangerous, as Tortorella said, I don’t think it was as dirty. But it was dirty, and he should absolutely be suspended. Do I have faith in Brendan Shanahan to get that done? Nope.

2) Does anybody know, for sure, if Neil is a repeat offender? Because I don’t. I know he plays way over the edge a lot, and he has a reputation as a dirty player, but it’s 2 a.m. and I don’t know that he’s been suspended before, and I don’t have time to look. [3]

3) Here’s the thing, whether he’s suspended for two or three games, or if he’s sent away for life, the Rangers are going to miss Boyle terribly in Game 6, and any and all subsequent games they survive to play without him. They are awful on faceoffs, and without him they’re worse. Their top two lines are terribly inconsistent and he gives them consistent minutes. Never mind the three goals and the fact that he scored their only two game-winners. He’s also become their best penalty killer, or second to Ryan Callahan, perhaps. And their penalty kill has been huge in this series.

4) The shame of Game 5 is the wasted performance by Henrik Lundqvist. And that was one of the league’s truly skilled players scoring 5-hole on him, where he rarely gives one up. And it was a woeful d-zone play by John Mitchell and Ryan McDonagh chasing the puck that allowed Jason Spezza to pop wide open like that.

[4]5) Well, Carl Hagelin comes back for Game 6. I am certain that his absence hurt in the sense that it broke up the No. 1 line … which was going pretty well for a pretty long time, including Game 1. I do wonder if any of the Senators will go after him, now, too. I wouldn’t be surprised.

6) It sounded as if Chris Kreider may have earned a chance to stay in the lineup with his limited minutes anyway, but now, with offense so desperate, and especially with Boyle out, he’s got to stay in.

7) I thought the first power play was decent. Then I thought they got progressively worse, to the point of pathetic. Wow, we never saw that coming this year, did we? Still, booing your team off the ice, down 1-0 after one period of a pivotal Game 5? I don’t get that.

8) I know a lot of you are laying a lot of blame on Marian Gaborik, and to a point that’s fair. It’s a bottom-line sport, and his bottom line is puck-in-net or not. But I thought he stood in there and took some big hits from Carkner and Greening, and handed a few out. And I thought he was really trying. Erik Karlsson got smacked a few times, too, by Brandon Prust and Mike Rupp and a few others, and kept on going. He’s some kind of player. [5]

9) When Ryan Callahan took the penalty against Greening for the hit on Gaborik, well, let’s just say we haven’t seen as much of that all-for-one stuff in this series since Brandon Dubinsky got tossed in Game 2.

10) Michael Del Zotto, hasn’t had a great series by any stretch, and hasn’t done much at all with Neil in his grill for five games. I will give him this, too. He’s gone at it with Neil, physically, sneaky-dirty … even ticked off Neil a few times.

11) I’m not even going to try to dissect faceoffs … except to say that I think part of it is focus, attention and effort.

12) When Spezza went to the penalty box, one of the Ottawa guys in the pressbox said it was the first roughing penalty of his life.

13) My Rangers in 5 pick is long gone. My Rangers in 6 amendment is shot. I will say this. Based on what they’ve shown all year, and only on that, I don’t necessarily think they’re done. [6]

14) All that said, plenty of people thought this was a bad matchup because of Ottawa’s speed and skill and special teams. Plenty thought the other way because of the Rangers grind and their goalie. Well, can everybody be wrong? Because Ottawa has sure proved otherwise on all counts. I don’t think they’ve outplayed the Rangers overall to any great degree. But almost all the parts of this series—other than the Rangers’ struggles scoring, on the power play, and on faceoffs—are surprising. To me, anyway.

15) I’m also not buying any of the Matt Carkner-Boyle, Hagelin-Daniel Alfredsson, etc., turning point theories, because the Rangers could easily have won Game 2 and Game 4 and been done with this, and they could have won Game 5 and been up 3-2. I know, coulda, coulda, coulda. But a turning point suggests the series turned there, and this one really hadn’t turned to where it is until somebody won Game 5, and it was Ottawa.

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My Three Rangers Stars:
1) Henrik Lundqvist.
2) Marc Staal.
3) Derek Stepan.
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True Blue Mike’s Three Rangers Stars:
1) Ryan McDonagh.
2) Henrik Lundqvist.
3) Anton Stralman.
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AP photos, above.


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

[2] Image: http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/files/2012/04/neil-vs.-boyle-1.jpg

[3] Image: http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/files/2012/04/lundqvist-game-5.jpg

[4] Image: http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/files/2012/04/callahan-vs.-anderson.jpg

[5] Image: http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/files/2012/04/lundvist-vs.-spezza.jpg

[6] Image: http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/files/2012/04/anderson-save.jpg