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Rangers-Capitals Game 5 in review; Live Chat today at noon
Posted By On May 8, 2012 @ 3:50 am In Hockey,New York Rangers,NHL | 189 Comments
First things first: Whew. I thought I was going to have to bring some shrinks with me for the Live Chat today at noon. Thought I was going to be talking people down. Now I am going to have one happy group.
Be there at noon, with questions, comments, whatever. Or else. This one should be fun.
1) Look, I told you guys dozens of times this season that this group is something special. A lot of you didn’t want to believe me, and a lot of you only wanted to believe me until something went wrong … and I’m sure a lot of you are going to forget that, or won’t appreciate what this team is when things go wrong down the road. I’m not even saying that these Rangers are going to win this series, because there sure as hell is no guarantee they will. None at all. But it’s a special group.
2) Because part of our jobs as reporters still has to do with newspapers and deadlines, we have to write early, or “bulldog” stories to put into the paper if the game runs late or goes into overtime. A lot of time it’s filler stuff, leftover quotes that you cobble into something, just in case they need it. Well, my Game 5 bulldog was about Brad Richards. And that strikes me two ways. A) Perfect timing. B) The guy is a bulldog. He is clutch. He scores huge goals (9 GWGs during the season, don’t forget, including the Winter Classic winner and the one in Phoenix with 00:00.1 left; and he scored seven GWGs in the 2004 playoffs on his way to the Conn Smythe). He’s money — and that has nothing to do with his $60 million.  Oh, and there seems to be some discrepancy about the time of Richards goal. There were 6.6 left when he scored, but they put a second back on the clock after review; yet the official box says there were seven seconds left, which means 6.6 is somewhat official.
3) Speaking of Conn Smythe … not a chance in hell, but a guy who’s been really valuable in these first 12 games is Anton Stralman.
4) Veteran players know you can get away with a lot, especially protecting a lead in the final minute of a game when the opponent has pulled its goalie and is creating havoc in front of the net. But Joel Ward took it way too far and didn’t get away with it and earned himself a pair of goat’s horns. And because he cut Carl Hagelin, he not only helped lose the lead, but also the game. Also, that’s why that has to be an automatic call — just like flinging a puck over the glass. It has to be a call the referee will make every time; has to make. Wonder if Ward will face any further discipline, because to me, it’s not much different than what Aaron Asham did in Round 1. Spin the wheel, Shanny.
5) I didn’t write it down and it’s late, and I’m having trouble remembering who Dan Girardi lit up. (Was it Mike Green? I think it was, because I recall him complaining). I thought Girardi left his feet. People who saw replays insist he left his feet after contact. You know what? Tough. First of all, the refs and the league owe him one shot like that. Second, the league has obviously legalized and approved leaping, leaving-your-feet hits to the head. Goes around comes around
6) That was one helluva start for ya boys. I mean, as bad as they were at the start of Game 4, that’s how good they were to start Game 5, even if Washington threw a couple of big hits early on. And the Rangers continued to dictate right to the final shot, even if they easily could have lost this game. They were in control.
7) But, boy, does the power play need to be better than it was in until the final minute. Because it had zero shots until the sequence before the Richards goal. Somebody told John Tortorella that John Mitchell thought the power play had some chances and wasn’t bad those first three tries. Tortorella’s comment is in the post-game audio. Let’s just say he disagreed. And Mitchell, who continues to get PP time that I don’t understand, passed up two good opportunities to shoot and instead passed during the earlier PPs.
8) Also, I agree that part of the problem with the PP, which hasn’t been very good most of the time all year (and since Wayne Gretzky retired), in this case, is the pressure the Capitals PK applies. 
9) Michael Del Zotto took a pair of penalties. But otherwise I thought he was really good, and very physical against the most physical Caps: Jason Chimera, Matt Hendricks, Troy Brouwer. Just like he was against Teflon Chris Neil. That said, there needs to be a little more leniency on those interference penalties when the guy chips the puck past you. Del Zotto’s needed to be called, but sometimes the D-man has to be given a chance to get a piece of the guy. IMO.
10) That 1-1 goal by Brooks Laich, which was off a faceoff tie by Brian Boyle eventually possessed by the Caps, was yet another of many goals in this series created by random deflected passes/shots that wind up on somebody’s stick by accident.
11) Unrelated, but funny, My friend Ira Podell of the Associated Press told me that at the Devils home games against the Flyers they show clips of Rocky movies — you know, the Philadelphia icon — and in every one he’s getting his aasen kicked. Which I find pretty clever and hilarious.
12) Seriously, I expect some of you guys to jump ship and you didn’t disappoint in this game. I can almost predict who and when. But for the life of me I can’t figure out why so many actually left the game before the final minute. I mean, it’s 2-1 in Game 5 … and this team has shown all year that it doesn’t stop. I don’t get it.
13) Brendan Shanahan explains his suspension decisions … but I would love to hear him explain how the Claude Giroux head shot is so very different than the Chris Neil head shot or the Alex Ovechkin head shot. … or the Shea WWEber head shot … or the Chris Phillips head shot … But good thing they got that goon Hagelin. I would also like to have Shanny do videos of why he’s not disciplining somebody like Ovechkin for his assault.
14) If you weren’t in NYC last night, you probably aren’t going to believe this. But the Empire State Building was lit in orange. Swear to God.
My Three Rangers Stars:
1) Brad Richards.
2) Marc Staal.
3) Ryan Callahan.
Dore33’s Three Rangers Stars:
1) Brad Richards – CLUTCH!
2) Mark Staal – Hopefully he is back 100%
3) Carl Hagelin – was all over the place tonight.
AP photos, above.
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