So I was going to try to write something witty to get youse off the ledges, or something about how this is not really over.
Well, maybe I should go that way, because what this series has shown us, and pretty much all the other series have shown us, and pretty much every series ever, is that what happens in one game has zilch to do with what happens in the next.
1) So yeah, this isn’t necessarily over. All five games could have gone either way, and in two of them, covering 137 minutes, Henrik Lundqvist has allowed a total of three goals – one in regulation—and lost both. I think there’s a 50-50 chance the series goes back to D.C., and if it does, a 50-50 chance the Rangers advance. And I’m not just saying that for your benefit. I really do think so.
2) I really, really felt for Lundqvist last night. I mean, we got into the lockerroom a good bit after the game, and he came out a bit late after the doors opened, and he was still really, really, really upset and ticked off. I don’t blame him one bit. And he still was polite and somewhat patient. Very classy.
3) Could Ryane Clowe really be that important? Rhetorical. But when he went out, and with the Rangers playing with only three centers because Brian Boyle is needed on the wing, the whole lineup was messed up. Let’s face it, Clowe was really good in Game 4, and important to the wall battles and around the net. And they missed that in Game 5.
4) And if this is another concussion – because I’m assuming the last injury definitely was, and that this one also is – it’s probably going to cost Clowe a lot of free-agency money and years. In an odd way, it might make it easier for the Rangers to re-sign him. But it will be risky to do so now.
5) Rick Nash. You guys are probably hoping that he’s hurt, that this isn’t him under the spotlight, when the team needs him. I mean, he looked OK in this game overall, but how many times in this series, including Game 5, has he tried to shove his way around a defenseman instead of letting go that wrist shot he used so often and so well this season? I still think he has a left hand/wrist injury from the slash in the Toronto home-and-home. Wonder if there’s more.
6) Brad Richards. Been on him all season, and with good reason. The play that really bugged me in Game 5 was the one where he stood in quicksand and watched Mathieu Perreault go right past him and in alone, on which Lundqvist made one of his best saves of the series.
7) That all said, if both of them play like this, not only will the Rangers not win this series they could have already won, but they aren’t going anywhere even if they do. Did I just make any sense? It’s late.
8) Brian Boyle. I do wonder if he’s a guy who elevates during the playoffs, or a guy who needs a push … and the playoffs provide him that push. Whatever, he sure scored a gigantic goal that should have led to something, then he took a really undisciplined penalty that did lead to something else. Though, it was pretty lousy of the ref standing right there to not call the stick to the back of the neck by Ribeiro, too.
9) That start – with another great pass from Derick Brassard – was the one Adam Oates said he feared … 1-0 at :53. And the Rangers had them on the ropes until the last half minute of the first.
10) The power play, in a very real way, cost the Rangers yet another game. The 0-for-4 against that PK and that goalie is not acceptable. The first power play, with Mats Zuccarello and Brassard on it, had good movement. Couple of chances. The rest, with them and whomever else on it, did diddly.
11) And admit it if it crossed your mind even once that, gee, what it Marian Gaborik was here and popped one goal in either Game 2 or 5? I sure thought about the triple-OT game a few times. Nothing against Brassard, or John Moore (who had some struggles, including the game-winning goal) or Derek Dorsett. But one goal … And the bottom line remains that the Rangers started this season with three first-line stars, and in fact they played together at the beginning of the season … and now they are this close to elimination without Gaborik, without Richards and pretty much without Nash. And that kind of sums it up, doesn’t it?
12) That Joel Ward PPG. Derek Stepan wins the draw and Dan Girardi, with a chance to clear, runs into Ryan McDonagh. Puck stays in, Caps—with that high slot guy causing havoc all series—get the Rangers baffled with two quick passes. Bingo. And Ward, Jason Chimera, Troy Brouwer, Matt Hendricks, that Donald Fehr guy—they all were more than a handful for the Rangers, just as they were in Games 1 and 2, and not so much in Games 3 and 4.
13) Nice of the NHL to yet again say “Eff You Fans” with the debacle over the Game 6 starting time. Don’t get me wrong, the 4:30 start makes me happy, especially if the series has to go back to D.C. But to make people wait until late Friday night to decide what they are going to do on Mother’s Day is an absolute disgrace. Another one.
14) At one point in the first period, all the TV sets in the arena went black, with a box that said Weak or No Signal. Great advertising for Verizon, no?
15) Worse than that, because of unreliable, slow and small elevator from the rooftop pressbox, in the third period most writers go to the pressroom to watch the end on TV just to be safe. Which means we were treated to the cliché-riddled nonsense of Joe Beninati and chalk-on-blackboard voice spouting silliness by Craig Laughlin. Torture.
My Three Rangers Stars:
1. Henrik Lundqvist.
2. Carl Hagelin
3. Mats Zuccarello.
RangerJHW’s Three Rangers Stars:
1. The King.
Boyle…I hope that slash felt really good to you…especially with Ribeiro winning it!….Nash…remember that “we don’t want you” chant last year? You may hear it Sunday if you give us another “Richard’s” effort! Do or Die…LGR!
Your poll vote for Three Rangers Stars:
1. Henrik Lundqvist (22.22%).
2. Derick Brassard (18.57%).
3. Brian Boyle (12.96%).
Photos by Getty Images.