So, in case you tuned out after the Rangers thrashed the Devils, your friend Mr. Snider’s Orange Crud did the Rangers a favor for the second time in a week. The Flyers beat Ottawa in regulation to clinch the sixth seed and yet another meeting with the Capitals (fourth time in five years) in the playoffs for the Rangers.
Maybe they should light up the Empire State Building in orange again.
All the other first-round matchups in the East are to be determined by the Ottawa-Boston game today. The Senators could still finish seventh, ahead of the Islanders. Boston could still win the Northeast and the third seed ahead of Montreal.
UPDATE, NOON SUNDAY:
NEW YORK, April 28, 2013 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has recalled 10 players from the Connecticut Whale of the American Hockey League (AHL) – Stu Bickel, Ryan Bourque, Micheal Haley, Brandon Mashinter, Dylan McIlrath, Jason Missiaen, J.T. Miller, Brandon Segal, Cameron Talbot, and Christian Thomas.
(Of the 10, only Micheal Haley will practice with the team and travel to D.C.).
1) Captain Callahan. About time he did something. We’ve kind of mentioned him right up on top of these reviews a lot lately. The guy goes out and chases down a John Moore rebound behind the net, takes a big slash and makes the pass to Derek Stepan for the quick 1-0 goal. Then he has two short-handed breakaways, the first one of which was stopped – he was out of gas at the end of a penalty-killing shift. Then gets another, off a Stepan steal-and-pass, and scored. Won the Steven McDonald award, then the Players’ Player. Just a great captain.
2) Derek Stepan=Monster. Seriously, I’m not going to mention any areas where I think he might need work because some of youse take that the wrong way when I do. The kid’s been absolutely terrific this season. On both sides of the puck and in all situations. I mentioned last year about his hockey IQ which is his greatest asset, IMO. And if he decides to shoot it more, I think he might be a 30-goals-plus guy.
3) And just to be clear, he is their No. 1 center this season. The reason I have said otherwise is that A) I want to see him produce offense like this over a full season and B) the real No. 1 center should have been their No. 1 center, and if he had been this team would have been hosting two home games this coming week.
4) That said, Brad Richards … made a play. Well, he made a few plays, but the one I mean was his hustle play after losing the draw, when he chased the puck behind the goal line, took it away from, I think it was Larsson (one of many non-competitive Devils in the game) and made the terrific pass to Rick Nash, who was kind of ignored by the other disinterested Devils. That’s the kind of plays the Rangers need from Richards more than the banked-in goals.
5) That penalty vs. Pyatt=Pansification.
6) Then, for the second game in a row, Rick Nash was pretty much tackled driving to the net … and no call. I don’t get it.
7) Never mind. I edited this one out because I realized in my rush I kind of already said the same thing earlier.
8) By the way, that was just an embarrassing half-hearted effort from Devils, starting with the Hall of Fame goaltender who – I was told definitively that he was joking when he said it – should not have said he doesn’t want to play because he’d be harassed and heckled by the Garden fans. He should have sucked it up and played. It set a bad precedent. Then Ilya Kovalchuk went out and failed to perform at all – his lack of effort on the first Callahan shorty breakaway was abysmal And it trickled through the lineup.
9) Last year the Rangers power play suddenly woke up in the playoffs, or at least some of the time, in big situations, it did. I really think it could be a major problem going into this postseason. If John Tortorella and/or Mike Sullivan have any set plays up their sleeves, now’s the time to show them. I think they might. We’ll see.
10) Nice to see the third and fourth liners get some power play time in this game. They deserved it, and Kris Newbury hit the post during the 5-on-3. Shows you, though, how simple a good power play can be. Move feet, move the puck. Get to open ice. The better players don’t seem to get that.
11) Henrik Lundqvist. Talk about a guy who gets it. He was honored to break the shutout record (season and playoffs) of Eddie Giacomin because he’s gotten to know Eddie, Eddie, Eddie and because he thinks it’s so cool the way some of the all-time greats in this star-crossed franchise remain part of the family. I think he wants to be one of those.
12) OK, that was a tangent. What I meant to say was, this guy is really, truly, more important than Callahan and Stepan and anybody once Game 49 arrives, and he’s really playing some kind of goal right now. Loved playing all the games down the stretch, and appreciates and welcomes the challenge of playing bigger games now.
13) I know it was just a coincidence, but at MSG, while they were doing one of those things during a stoppage where they were saluting fans, they played Cee Lo Green’s best-known song. Which is titled “Forget You.” And which, originally, was titled something similar, but the first word was a different F-word. Anyway, that was pretty much the song the NHL sang to all of you from September through January.
14) Gotta say, Washington wasn’t my first choice. But it could be worse. Wonder if NBC will fall in love with Alex Ovechkin again, because he and his car seat were on the outs with Mike Milbury and Co. most of the season.
15) The Rangers closed on a 10-3-1 run, had a better record than pre-ordained coach of the year Teddy Roosevelt in Ottawa, had a better record than the Miracle Islanders. So, to repeat the rallying cry: “Fire this CLOWN, his players hate him and won’t play for his BS.”
16) Also, I met Tobi, the eight-year-old son of a loyal Bonehead, at the game. So he’s picking Three Stars for me today. And maybe again during the playoffs.
My Three Rangers Stars:
1. Ryan Callahan.
2. Derek Stepan.
3. Henrik Lundqvist.
Tobi’s Three Rangers Stars:
1. The King.
2. The Captain.
HM: my Dad for bringing me to so many games this season.
RangerJHW’s Three Rangers Stars:
1. The King
3. Stepan & Cally
HM-Carp….actually our first star… for another great “regular” season … what ya got in store for us for the playoffs? Waiting for your next book…”Psychiatry from the Ledge!”
Your poll vote for Three Rangers Stars:
1. Ryan Callahan (25%).
2. Tie, Derek Stepan (18.27%).
2. Tie, Rick Nash (18.27%).
Photos by Getty Images.