Rangers are good; just not good enough to beat these birds

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Here’s my column from The Journal News and lohud.com:

By Rick Carpiniello

Same state, different birds.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are not, by any stretch of anybody’s imagination, the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Rangers are going to be involved in a test far above and beyond what they’ve endured the last two weeks, and they are going to have to be miles better and more consistent.

The point is, this second round of the NHL playoffs could expose the Rangers and all their faults and flaws.

The Rangers are not terrible or bad or even mediocre. They’re one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Just not on par with the top two — Pittsburgh and Boston.

And it’s not to say what the Rangers have done here should be ignored. It’s not a Stanley Cup or even close to it — and general manager Glen Sather made it abundantly clear last May that that’s the goal. Making the playoffs is no great shakes, and neither is winning a round.

But how many fan bases and organizations (thinking San Jose, mostly, and all the Tire Fire teams such as the Islanders, Buffalo, Washington, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Florida, Carolina, et al) would trade their situations for what the Rangers have done?

This is their eighth time in the playoffs in nine seasons. This will be their seventh playoff series in three years. Only the Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings have won a series in three consecutive seasons. So, yeah, it’s something.

This is men-from-boys time. This is where Rick Nash (one goal in 19 playoff games with the Rangers), most of all, can man up and be the player he was in Game 5 against the Flyers, the player he was only a few times this season (in Columbus, and before the Olympics).

We know that Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and that cast of characters with speed, skill and nastiness, will show up. The Penguins are dirtier between whistles than the Flyers were after whistles. Nash and Malkin have sparred at times in their careers, and they could see a lot of one another since Rangers coach Alain Vigneault likes to go top line vs. top line.

It’s also going to be on the Rangers’ special teams — a power play that stunk, and a penalty kill that was great at times and so-so at others — against a team that excels on the power play. It’s going to be about the Rangers’ having two shutdown defense pairs, since Malkin and Crosby are usually separated. And having those four defensemen survive six games in nine nights by Monday’s Game 3.

The Rangers’ shot in the dark? If goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has another playoff meltdown. That supposes that Henrik Lundqvist, who wasn’t at his best vs. Philadelphia, outplays Fleury.

The Rangers’ pass-first mentality is going to have to change. They have to try to get into Fleury’s head early.

The Rangers won’t antagonize Crosby the way Columbus’ Brandon Dubinsky did in the first round. They’re not built that way.

And they won’t have history on their side. The Rangers have lost all four of their playoff rounds against the Penguins, including some beauts:

• 1989 — Phil Esposito fired coach Michel Bergeron on April Fools’ Day in Pittsburgh with two games left in the regular season. Esposito went behind the bench, and the Rangers were swept while using three goalies, including a kid who had never played an NHL game, Mike Richter, in Game 4.

• 1992 — The overblown Adam Graves-Mario Lemieux mess, when Graves was suspended for a slash on the Penguins’ captain; the Ron Francis goal from outside the blue line; Mark Messier leaving Francis wide-open in overtime, after the Rangers had won the Presidents’ Trophy as the best team during the regular season.

It’s funny how in the playoffs, a “long series” is six games and a “short series” is five.

Prediction here? Short.

****************************************

Series at a glance

Game 1: 7 p.m. Friday at Pittsburgh (NBCSN)

Game 2: 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Pittsburgh (NBCSN)

Game 3: 7:30 p.m. Monday at Rangers (NBCSN)

Game 4: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Rangers (NBCSN)

Game 5: x-TBD May 9 at Pittsburgh (TBD)

Game 6: x-TBD May 11 at Rangers (TBD)

Game 7: x-TBD May 13 at Pittsburgh (TBD)

x—if necessary

Photo by the Associated Press.

 

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247 Comments

  1. Nash will shut down Malkin…maybe

    McDonagh may be able to slow down Crosby

    Hank needs to step it up another notch.

    Pens allowed Columbus 3 goals per game, we allowed Philly 1.88 goals per game. Keep the score low, Rangers have a shot.

  2. Thanks Carp, we deserve the pesissism, haven’t done much to make anyone feel good about our chances, but I hate Pitt. Remember all the slew foots from previous encounters? I hope the Rangers do and find a way to channel their efforts into a stunning upset. I’ll be a true homer and say Rangers in 6, LGR!

  3. Well…there is no Volkun behind Fleury..but there is a Talbot behind Lundqvist..if the King gets lit up a few times..how interesting would that be? That being said…it only get tougher from here and we take them one game at a time…injuries for or against may be a factor..
    same with the zebras…so let’s see what this team is made of…who is gonna step up and who is gonna lie down. I know I have at least four more games to watch..and hopefully lots of highs…most important..the health of Brad Richards. Valuable playoff experience to be had…and a coach who won’t shorten his bench to play half his team…we are better than LY…so lets go. If things go awry..well..there is always a Carp chat from the ledge….right? LGR..

  4. iDoodie Machetto on

    Has this gone to press yet?

    “This is where Rick Nash (one goal in 19 playoff games with the Rangers), most of all, can man up and be the player he was in Game 5 against the Flyers, ”

    I think you meant game 7.

  5. The truth hurts? Is that the message?

    Thanks for the words of encouragement Carp. Maybe the Rangers can use this for inspiration…lol.

    The Rangers will prevail!

    LGR!!!

  6. Rangers can win, if:
    Nash plays every shift like game 7
    We stay out of the box
    The Refs don’t take a goal away
    Hank kicks it up one more gear(and he has been real good)
    MAF does what the hockey world wants other than Pitt fans
    PK improves big time
    PP get hot
    Stay healthy
    Everybody finishes their checks
    Not that hard to do,right? Should be over with these jokers early if we take care of this list.

  7. wildplaces on

    Stirring up a hornet’s nest, Carp? I’ll go with the others…if we can stay focused and healthy, strong in our end and strong on the transition game and forecheck, Rangers have a real chance against a team that has glided for long periods of time in the previous round against Columbus. Henrik will have to help steal the series…

  8. Matty"CrosbySucks!!"Boy on

    I dont’ know about the players, but I am still exhausted from Wednesday night!! How do they play well tonight? Adrenaline, baby. Adrenaline.

  9. Matty"CrosbySucks!!"Boy on

    As much as my heart tells me otherwise, my brain says the lack of closeout against a lesser opponent on Tuesday night, game 6, may speak volumes. A good team just does it there and we didn’t.

    Speaking from my heart, I hope that we can raise our level against a better team and all the gliders stop doing that crap and play hard. Maybe, just maybe, we have another level.

    Maybe.

  10. Think defense and goaltending will make this a close series…Pitt defense did not look good against Columbus…and rangers will bring more offense

  11. Pens in 5 Malkin and Crosby are miles better then our centers at it will show.

    We don’t stack up to the bruins pens with there great center depth.

  12. Can’t see NYR fans truly believing our boys will win this series other than blind faith! However, I thought the Rangers played them well this season, there are no surprises and like every game in a playoff series; fight every shift. My only concern, if the Rangers don’t bring their A game, is the calls the Pens will get vs NYR, especially Cindy!!!!

  13. We are not taking any hostages this series! And to prove that, I just pushed Mr. Popper off the Triboro bridge

  14. Carp, you did not mention that the Pens have some injury concerns, most notably to their centers. This could be a factor. Pen fans are spoiled babies and if the Boys get up early, this could also help. I feel better about the Rangers vs Pitt as the Flyers are an old rival and those matches are always contentious.

    On another note, loved seeing the Habs beat Boston at home. Habs will be tough for Boston to beat…they are faster and not too bad physically.

    LGR!!!!!!!

  15. If it doesn’t become a special teams series, we can win against the Pens. If we put them on the PP often, even with our great PK, they will definitely make us pay. Must stay out of the box and only take necessary penalties. My prediction is Rangers in 6.

  16. Stranger Nation on

    Rangers will be playing undermanned all series with Pissburgh suiting up 9 on the ice including the 4 officials. And you thought the calls were bad in Filthy series…

    Forgot how much you hate James Neal…well be prepared to build up that hatred. Guy is as dirty as Cooke, just scores so he gets a pass.

    Malkin played with Crosby the last two games vs. Lumbus to create a match up challenge. Dinty Moops, Big Rig and Double D have to shut/slow them down. Big Rig matching up with Malkin is a win for us.

    Henk – we are going to need you to raise your game big time. Start earning that big contract. Philly like performance won’t get it done.

  17. Mine:
    Boston over Montreal in 6.
    Pittsburgh over Rangers in 5.
    Chicago over Minnesota in 5.
    Anaheim over Los Angeles in 7.

  18. The Rangers have been the better team since The Olympics…. they posted a better record, the Rangers had the same amount of goals as the Pens in two less games since their last meeting, while giving up something like 20 less goals against. Our defense is worlds better! Our PK is unbelievable! They had ONE bad game 6 last series… one… it wasn’t bad at times, it was bad once out of seven games! Fluerry and The Pens on the other hand had two complete meltdowns against a much worse CBJ team. If you think The Penguins had trouble against The Blue Jackets, wait till they play a team with skill! Our offense has more depth than the Penguins do. Penguins might have a better duo in Crosby/Malkin, but Nash/St. Louis is nothing to scoff at by any stretch of the imagination. It’s our ability to roll four lines that will give The Pens a hard time. Zuccarello is going to make minced meat out of these guys! As far as not having a Dubinsky to get under Crosby’s skin…. his name is Dan Carcillo. Brian Boyle is going to have a big role in this too, is my prediction. It’ll be a short series alright, but The Penguins won’t be the ones advancing. The only reason they finished as high as they did this year in the regular season is because the Rangers start was dreadful. Again, the boys in blue finished much stronger than the penguins.

    LETS GO RANGERS

  19. Not to start an argument, Rob. But 1) the Rangers allowed five PPGs to the Flyers (plus one into an empty net) and 2) If Carcillo is on the ice much against Crosby, I change my pick to Penguins in 4.

  20. Good morning, boneheads!

    *NOT* a good post, Carp :)

    But honest, that’s why we appreciate you.

    Bortuzzo instead of Orpik could make a big difference. Nash will feel more comfortable out there.
    Having four solid lines is something they haven’t had for a long time, and if Moore-Boyle-Dorsett can put a few behind MAF, it would be tremendous. At the end of the day though, their best player will have to be better than anyone else. In Hank we trust. Going with my heart, Rangers in 6.

  21. Manny-O-War on

    Les Habitants of Montreal over Bruins in 6
    New York Rangers over Penguins in 7
    Chicago over Minnesota in 6
    Anaheim *Mallards* over Los Angeles in 7

    Those are my picks.

  22. Norm Merton on

    The Rangers’ pass-first mentality is going to have to change?!

    You might be referring to something else, Carp, but I think the Rangers are going to have to pass the snot out of the puck to score in this series. It would be nice to pour pucks to the net, crash the net, and score some dirty goals, but that’s not who the Rangers are. When you have passers as capable as Stepan, Brassard, Zook, Richards and St. Looie, even if you wish they were all hard-nosed guys, they aren’t, so you have to use their puck skills. Repeatedly hitting Fleury on his Penguin logo will only build his confidence. Gotta move him.

  23. They will have to stay close to Matt Niskanen on PK. He’s been throwing bombs from the blueline.

    Does anyone remember Crosby and Niskanen fight each other a few years back when Niskanen was still in Dallas? Don’t remember who won, but I thought it was funny.

  24. Stranger Nation on

    need Le Flower to play the puck as much as possible. Get him out of the net and make him use his noodle. Dumb as a bag of hammers

  25. Rangers over Pitt is 6.

    We need to use our talent with Philly’s passion. I hate Filthy but they stepped up – they just didnt have the skill, speed or experience.

    Nash needs goals – he’s not here to simply pick up assists. REALLY fired up – I do believe we can disrupt the Penguins sufficiently given speed, strength and skill. We’re just getting better.

    ONWARD HANK!

  26. Manny-O-War on

    Nash might actually get a few goals against Flower if he keeps shooting the puck from the blue line or further.

  27. Bruins over Habs in 6. (Although only team I feel can beat bost is Habs in east)
    Pens over rangers in 6
    Hawks over wild 5
    Kings over ducks 6

    Same final four last year

  28. Carp, you sly dog…using reverse psychology on us doom-and-gloomers.

    Make us think we don’t have a prayer in this series, say it’ll be over in 5 if we’re lucky. This way we’ll be happy if we are simply competitive.

    Oh, Carp. You sly devil…

  29. Seriously, though:

    I honestly don’t think the Rangers can win this series. Only because the Pens can easily turn your mistakes into goals, and the Rangers haven’t been at their best. With the schedule they REALLY won’t be at their best considering how gassed they might be.

    Pens in 6, unfortunately.

    But why is it that when I’m looking online for predictions I see so many “experts” picking the Rangers? Is it just to rub it in?

  30. CJP: the experts haven’t watched the rangers play much and advanced stats show us to be better than eye ball tests would lead you to believe so it’s a mixed bag

  31. I have to disagree with you Carp. I am far from a Ranger homer but. If they were playing Boston this round i would say Bs in 5. But, since Jan 1 the Rangers have been a better team than the Pens. This isn’t the 06-09 Pens any more. They still have star power, but their defense is as bad as Philly and they have no depth at forward. PP edge to PGH, obviously. 5 on 5 I think the Rangers are better. Home ice isn’t that important in the series. AND, the most important position in any series is a huge advantage to NYR. Fluery is due for another melt down. Rangers better most night away anyways.

    Rangers in 7.

    PS probably loose next round in 4 though

  32. I think people forget, though, that this is NOT the same Penguins team we’ve come to know and hate over the past 8 years or so. They’re very vulnerable. Also, the Rangers, I believe, won’t be as gassed as they usually are after a 7 game series because of their new style of play. This ain’t the defensive Torts (or even Renney) era anymore. Plus, Nash should be quite ready to go since he barely put forth any effort last round. Go Rangers!

  33. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Rangers in 6 over Pens
    Habs in 6 over Bruins

    Kings in 7 over Ducks
    Hawks in 6 over Wild

  34. pens over rangers 6
    bruins over Habs 6
    kings over ducks 6
    hawks over wild 5

  35. Doodie Machetto on

    Pens over Rangers in 4
    Habs over Bruins in 6
    Kings over Ducks in 5
    Hawks over Wilds in 5

    Montreal is going to win all three games in Montreal with a ton of penalty calls and that lethal PP.

  36. I got screwed out of the bracket challenge. The day before the first games started on went on the website to make my picks. While I was making my picks the website froze. I exited out of website and than went back in and it showed that my bracket was locked. I couldn’t do anything and I never got to finish making my picks. It definitely was the website because the other day the hat trick challenge did the same thing and I checked back a half hour later and there was a message from web tech stating problem was fixed. Unfortunately I didn’t go back later to the bracket challenge to see if it was working before the first games started.

  37. So based on the predictions of some people, Carp included, the thoughts are that the Blue jackets are a better team than the Rangers? the jackets gave the Pens fits in that series, took it to 6 games and probably 7 if you consider they blew a 2 goal lead in 3rd period of game 3.

    If CLB can do that to pens with 2 or 3 offensive players and a better than average d core, what can NYR do with 4 balanced lines and a better than average d core and superior Goaltender?

  38. reason why the jackets gave the pens fits is because the jackets play a physical game which the pens don’t like, plus Dubi was a animal in that series and kept Crosby in check.

  39. Manny-O-War on

    Fleury is awful. I think our defense is better than theirs by a decent margin. Their forwards are better, sure. They have the stars. But if we can shut them down we have a good 4th line now.

    I still feel like we’re playing with house money and I know we will probably lose. But I don’t think the Pens have that much on us and I definitely don’t think they are a favorite for the Cup.

  40. Tommy, I agree with you on that point. but it comes down to putting the puck in the net and keeping it out of yours. I think the rangers are better at keeping it out than Pens and that usually wins in the playoffs.

    granted, the Pens 1st two lines are better. we all know that playoff series’ are won with goaltending and an player who you don’t expect to step up. who thinks the Pens 3rd or 4th line is better than NYRs?

  41. Doodie Machetto on

    No, I think our team is tired and is going to come out of the gate flat.

  42. Norm Merton on

    “Well, not shooting the puck sure helped Emery and Mason get comfortable last series.”

    Not to argue — translation: to argue — the Rangers had 36,33,23,38,22,36, and 33 shots (the low totals in the easier wins). I don’t know how these shot totals represent not enough shooting.

  43. Wouldn’t be surprised if we lose by 3+ goals tonight. Rangers may have a hard time getting their legs under them. And all Malkin, Crosby, etc need is those little slip-ups to put the puck in the net.

    After that, though. I like our chances Sun/Mon because, for some reason, the Rangers don’t seem to have a problem with stamina in back to back games. Rolling four lines helps with that (ya hear me, Torts?)

  44. Shot totals don’t mean a whole lot if they’re fired right into the opposition team logo on the goalie’s chest.

  45. Having visions of Paul Mara turning into Mark Messier in that 2008 series when we finally won a game, proclaiming “We’re not gonna lose in our building again”

    Yeah, like everybody else since ’94…those guarantees just never work out.

    There’s only one Mess.

    And Carp, I agree. We’re gonna have to suffer through the BS of reliving Graves’ slash on Mario when they talk about the playoff history between these teams. And anybody who calls Graves a thug deserves to have a heart attack.

    Not to kill the person. Just ’cause they’re REALLY painful.

  46. I agree that NYR is a little more tired than Pens but the Pens just came off of 6 games that were 100times more physical and exhausting than the NYR-PHL series. There is some kind of fatigue there too. Plus Pgh has some injuries as well

    Hey, if the Rangers loose game 1 or loose the series I won’t be shocked, but I think they are not over matched at all in this series

  47. Montreal over Boston in 7.
    Rangers over Pittsburgh in 6. (Extra eff it)
    Chicago over Minnesota in 5.
    Anaheim over Los Angeles in 6.

  48. No, Stilwell Angel, we’re gonna win!!!

    Seriously, nobody can predict a series. Clubs that are lacking have dug deep, and ones that are stacked with talent have choked. One of the reasons that I love hockey is that whoever is the better cohesive TEAM during any given game, will win.

  49. Pre-Round 2 WBM (c)

    0) Boyle

    1) Richards
    2) Nash
    3) Stralman
    4) Stepan
    5) J. Moops

  50. Actually, scratch that

    *Revised* Pre-Round 2 WBM©

    0) Boyle

    1) Richards
    2) Nash
    3) Stralman
    4) Pouliot
    5) Stepan

  51. Carp, please give us some hope?

    How bout a “ya boys advancing past the Penguins, not happening” statement from the Carpinator????

    :)

  52. Gravy, Time to get Stralman off that list.

    C’mon, Even Manny and Wicky like his play in game 7. :)

  53. Could have swapped him with Pouliot, but you know as soon as he doesn’t do something perfectly, half the blog (and Manny) will bash him.

  54. Also, this is not my opinion. It is a complex program with algorithms I can’t even begin to explain that takes the “pulse” of the blog (kinda like The Machine in Person of Interest). I have no influence on the list whatsoever.

  55. Stranger Nation on

    Montreal over Boston in 6
    Rangers over Pittsburgh in 5
    Minny over Chicago in 7
    Anaheim over Los Angeles in 6.

  56. Here’s the thing, if the Rangers lose in 4 or 5, I’m going to get over it pretty quickly because they *theoretically* had no shot. But, if they get it to 6 or 7, it’s going to be a gut—wrenching heart—ripping out loss.

  57. Carp, my brain wants to agree w/ you but my heart says differently. Ah, the pain of being a Ranger fan. Care to share what you perceive “… the Rangers and all their faults and flaws.” to be?

    I do believe this series, much more so than the previous one, will us a lot more about this team’s strengths and weaknesses. I’m also very curious to see what strategies AV employs to counter Slewfoot and Frankenstein.

  58. In terms of Rangers versus Top Teams, this is our best possible matchup. We have D pairs as capable as any (relative terms) against Crosby + Malkin and we put a ton of shots on net against a goalie who can let in some terrible shots on net. If history has taught us anything, its that Pittsburgh loves to flame out in spectacular fashion in the playoffs as of late.

    Prediction: Penguins in 6

  59. Sioux per HAT TRICK on

    Carp – *C’MON MAN*!

    Not a fan of the negativity to start out the day!!!

  60. Sioux per HAT TRICK on

    Doodie -Nice slew foot.

    Good thing Callahan has lots of time to rest and relax his bum and watch from section 111 :)

  61. Also, I think we have some bottom 6 matchups to exploit. I wouldn’t say I feel 50/50 tossup confident, but better than I would against either Boston or Montreal.

  62. Predictions:

    Montreal in 7
    Penguins in 6

    Kings in 6
    Chicago in 5

    Here’s a REALLY good question:

    In the east, which series will have the most blatant one-sided officiating?

    Will it be the Bruins/Montreal series with Montreal continuing their time-honored tradition of getting virtually EVERY call their way at home?

    Or will it be the Pens/Rangers series with the officials doing everything possible to get poster-boy Crosby further into the playoffs and ignoring the slew-footing and dirty stickwork of Criesby and Corky?

  63. ThisYearsModel on

    Penguins over Rangers in 7
    Boston over Montreal in 6
    Chicago over Minnesota in 5
    Anaheim over LA in 6

  64. All I can say is that Letang was brutal against CBJ, Scuderi was too, and the defensive corps as a whole (excepting Martin) had absolutely no clue for 80% of that series. And I mean none. Plus the forwards, other than Sutter and Vitale, do not backcheck worth a damn.

    If the Rangers go to the net with purpose and conviction? I think they could win the series in 5 games. These Penguins are fragile, and there is unquestionably doubt about Bylsma in that room.

    But PIttsburgh has always had the NYR’s number in the playoffs, and I am bracing myself for more of the same.

  65. so hard to say, I think I’d side with Crosby getting more calls than Montreal.

  66. Sioux per HAT TRICK on

    LOL – Doodie did he get him in the head?

    Gomez touches him on the knee, Crosby should get a “Tony” for that one.

    To bad Sid wasn’t such a whiner & embellisher , he would be a H$LL of a hockey player.

    IF only he was more like Toews or Parise. Leaders that lead, and play the game straight up.

  67. Sioux per HAT TRICK on

    Carp – this would have been a good mid day post is all I’m saying. Can’t wake up to doom and gloom.

    OUR boys have a chance. The stars may have to align, and all PLAY on the SAME DAY.

    But I could see this going 7 games.

  68. True fact: Crosby only drew one call in the 1st round, offset by one against.

    Penalties drawn leaders in 1st round …

    Zach Parise: 6
    Corey Perry: 6
    Claude Giroux: 6
    Logan Couture: 6
    Alexander Steen: 5
    Scott Hartnell: 5
    Antoine Roussel: 5
    Kyle Palmieri: 5
    Ryan McDonagh: 5
    Derek Dorsett: 5

  69. Can’t really blame Cindy…he spent how long living with Mario until he reached puberty? Mario taught him all about the fine art of diving and whining.

    Jeez, Mario was almost the biggest player in the league when he played and he would go down like Greg Louganis if anyone so much as breathed on him. I won’t begrudge a player’s talents…but Cindy just continues a strong Penguin tradition of being a consummate whiner and diver.

    BTW, the funniest thing about this series is gonna be that fuzz hovering over Cindy’s pillow lips. I’ve seen better facial hair in grade school…from some of the girls

  70. Sioux per HAT TRICK on

    Carp – How about….

    *Nash is good, but he will have to be GREAT to beat Pittsburgh*

    Can you call out a player, to step up?

  71. Penalties taken (5 min) …

    Kyle Clifford: 9
    Antoine Roussel: 8
    Ryan Garbutt: 7
    Jarret Stoll: 7
    Bryan Allen: 7
    Corey Perry: 6
    Brent Burns: 6
    Andrew Desjardins: 6
    Patrick Maroon: 6
    Clayton Stoner: 6
    Wayne Simmonds: 6
    Jason Demers: 6
    Derek Dorsett: 5
    Justin Williams: 5
    Raffi Torres: 5
    Mike Brown: 5
    James Wisniewski: 5
    Carl Hagelin: 5
    Brad Marchand: 5
    Kris Letang: 5
    Blake Comeau: 5

  72. (Scratch Marchand from that list, he took one last night so it was only 4 in the 1st.)

  73. Hey – if we beat Liut and St Louis in ’81, anything is possible. Good old WOR 9.

  74. It’s good to have a real hatred for your opponent. There is no team in the NHL I despise more than the Penguins. I hate their players, hate their coach, hate their lousy band-wagon fans who abandoned the team when they stunk, hate their city.

  75. And finally, penalty +/- leaders …

    Claude Giroux: +5
    Logan Couture: +4
    Kyle Palmieri: +4
    Ryan McDonagh: +4
    Cody Eakin: +4
    Matt Nieto: +4
    Rick Nash: +4

    Alex Goligoski: -4
    Kyle Clifford: -5
    Ryan Garbutt: -5
    Jarret Stoll: -5
    Bryan Allen: -5
    Wayne Simmonds: -5
    Jason Demers: -5

  76. Here’s another good one: If you buy the hit stats recorded in the Penguins 1st round series, their defense got beat the hell up. All 6 of their D rank in the top 35 in hits absorbed with only Scuderi not in the top 20.

  77. Sioux per HAT TRICK on

    Do I think my 20-1 ticket is going to win?

    Odds are against me, but it has a chance :)

  78. Did -The Doctor- someone do their homework and look up the average games played in the first three rounds by each of the Stanley Cup winners for the last umpteen years?

    I’m curious because I know a lot of people give the Rangers less of a chance because they played 7 games. I konw the Kings made quick work two years ago. Maybe I’ll take a crack at it later.

  79. I’d love to see that too, but I’m not a huge fan of pulling data together from a lot of sources, just messing with single source data. All you.

  80. Sorry Carp, but you give the Pens way too much respect. They’re a top heavy team. Yes, Crosby and Malkin are the best in the world. but after their second line, who do they have? Nobody. The Rangers are deeper top to bottom, though their top is so good it gives them an overall edge up front.

    The Rangers defense is worlds better. Orpik is hurt and slow to begin with. Martin and Letang are dangerous offensively but are both defensive liabilities.

    The goaltending is no comparison at all. MAF has been junk since 2009, and the Pens have been successful in spite of him, not because of.

    Defense wins series like these. Keep Malkin and Crosby off the scoreboard and the Rangers win. The Pens only have 3 more ROWs this season, over 82 games. No shootouts in the playoffs. The Bruins led the east in Corsi and Fenwick, but the Rangers were second. The Pens beat teams by outscoring them, not out defending them. They will have difficulty doing that without the puck.

    Yes, the Rangers top guns need to step up. But I don’t think the Rangers have played their best hockey yet.

  81. Going back to the 98-99 season (because I arbitrarily stopped):

    The Cup winning team has averaged 16.64 games in the first three rounds.

    Only one team (Bruins 10-11) went to seven games in the first round.

    The Kings 11-12 were the only team that needed less than 16 games (14) in the first three rounds

    Three teams during that time (Kings 11-12, Blackhawks 09-10, Red Wings 07-08) did not go seven games in any of the first three rounds.

    No team went to seven games in more than one round.

  82. If anybody’s gonna do any lending around here, it’s gonna be me?
    Whaddya want broken knuckles or somethin? We agreed youse guys worked the South Side

  83. “THE Kreider jumped on ice late in Rangers morning skate wearing non-contact jersey. Stick handling better.More strength on flip shots”

    That’s what I’m talking about!

  84. Boston over Montreal in 7.
    Pittsburgh over Rangers in 7.
    Chicago over Minnesota in 5.
    Anaheim over Los Angeles in 7

    As much as I want to pick the Rangers, my head is winning the argument with my heart on this one. That said, I would not be shocked if the Rangers beat them. I think we’ll be able to tell if they have a chance by the end of the first period of game one, by watching MAF. If he’s steady, making great saves and controlling the puck, I don’t think we’ll win, but if he’s giving up rebounds and giving up softies, then I think we have an excellent shot.

    To me the trick will be to stay out of the box, and not give the Pens a free in to setup. I’d be playing hard on our blue line and looking to stop them from getting into our zone. Our transition game against that D, especially against Orpick who’s slow and Letang who’s still not in 100% shape. Keep Crosby and Malkin from creating, we’ll be fine.

  85. And This One Will Last A Lifetime on

    Carp, this is not the Stanley Cup Penguins
    Struggled versus Flyers and Rangers during the season
    Struggled versus Blue Jackets in the first round
    Letang is not 100%
    Rangers have better more even keeled coaching than seasons past

    I like the Rangers in 6

    We want the Cup

  86. Manny-O-War on

    Gravy: how can that statistic be correct if no team has ever swept it’s way to the Cup? Isn’t 16 games just 4 straight sweeps?

  87. Miami Pimp on

    CARP should be banned from this blog for picking against the Rangers.

  88. Thanks Carp and Boneheads for a most entertaining morning read. I believe that in order to get this team to up its level enough to advance, resting Henk in game one is a good idea. LGR!

  89. Manny-O-War on

    Looking at the Forward depth we have a much better bottom 6. Much better.

    I think the key Matchup will be the Staal/Stralman pair against the Malkin line.

  90. Montreal over Boston in 6.
    Pittsburgh over Rangers in 6.
    Chicago over Minnesota in 5.
    Anaheim over Los Angeles in 7.

  91. No way it happens but could you boneheads imagine what would happen if AV did put Cam in G1 and we won?!

  92. Manny-O-War on

    So we are:

    Better in net
    Better on defense
    Better in our Bottom 6

    Penguins are better at PP, Top 6

    Probably even on the PK

  93. yeah, i’m shocked at the number of people that are picking the nyr… it’s craziness

  94. Manny-O-War on

    I bet this series is going to be insane. Like the Rangers get BLOWN out in at least one game.

  95. “Gravy: how can that statistic be correct if no team has ever swept it’s way to the Cup? Isn’t 16 games just 4 straight sweeps?”

    Maybe you should learn how to read, and then try again.

  96. I’ll never understand the NYR fans that pick the opposing team to win. It happens every year, and I still get the same reaction from it.

    You guys do realize you’re not getting a prize if you’re right?

  97. Manny I agree. It was great seeing Staal back to the Staal we saw for a good part of the season (except for early and the late season slump). If he plays like that and Stralman plays the way he did against Philly, that will slow down TWO lines (assuming we see the G and McD we saw in game 7).

    There are a lot of positives when you look at the Rangers vs. Pens. There’s also the old adage that a good defense shuts down a good offense. I think our defense is better than the Flyers. Maybe they are better offensively, but they have to have time to make plays to be that. If we don’t give them that time they aren’t all that great.

  98. Manny, as you’ve probably ascertained by Latona’s seething comment, first *three* rounds :)

  99. Manny-O-War on

    Yea. I figured it out, Gravy. I’m the idiot.

    “I’m stupid. You’re smart. I was wrong. You were right. You’re the best. I’m the worst. You’re very good-looking. I’m not attractive.”

  100. do you guys normally experience a lag when trying to listen to radio feed + watch the TV broadcast?

    Additionally do we know who the announcers on NBC will be?

  101. Doodie Machetto on

    Orr, I would respond to you by saying, you do realize that you don’t get some kind of special fan card by picking the Rangers to win, right? Carp asked us for our predictions. Why does it matter to anyone whether person X picks the Rangers’ opponent so long as he has an actual reason for doing so beyond “RAG$ ARE TEH SUCK! ISLANDERS ARE GOING TO BE SO MUCH BETTER!”

  102. The Bruins issued a statement, which I assume pertains to the reaction of fans on social media regarding the race of the player that pwnd them last night.

  103. Today’s Sid Cros He gets high on you. And the space he invades. He gets by on you. No, his mind is not for rent. To any ref or government.special teams will do the trick. gonna cry to every ref! A RIVERRRR!!

  104. Manny-O-War on

    I will forever BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO anyone that doesn’t pick the Rangers to win and claims to be a fan.

    Sandbagging is bush-league.

  105. Czechthemout!!! on

    Contingent prediction

    Rangers in 6 if and only if THe Kreider plays beggining in game 4. Otherwise,

    Penguins in six

    Kings in seven

    Bruins in 6

    Blackhawks in five.

  106. If you’re an NYR fan why would you pick against them? I can’t understand why a fan year after year would keep picking just aboot every team to beat NYR in the playoffs and have no confidence in them.

    Crappier teams have made it to the Cup finals.

    Makes you less of a fan. That’s a fact.

    I don’t care how much money the “fans” spend on tickets, I don’t care that they know the entire 1960 NYR roster, yada, yada, yada.

    I shouldn’t care what you people think. But it’s really the one thing that annoys me year after year. I wish it wouldn’t but it does.

  107. Manny-O-War on

    It really annoys me in those contest ticket prediction threads. I think if you pick against the Rangers you shouldn’t get the tickets even if you’re right. The contest should carry over until the Rangers win!

  108. PENGUINS IN 4!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    THEN SIGN STASTNY FOR A HUNDRED BILLION SCHMILLION DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  109. my plan exactly Orr : D I shall boo them for the next 4 games then go spend $180 on a Stastny sweater next October. yes! YES! YES!!!!!!!

  110. Even if Slats overpays him, which he probably will, I still don’t think Stastny is Richards 2.0 simply because Stastny is a much more complete, and younger, player than Brad.

  111. As much as I hate to admit it, Richards has been relatively good so far this post season and was also ok most of the regular season.

    He is very clearly not what we thought we were getting when we signed him but he has been effective

  112. long time no see LANTona ; ) I tend to agree…

    ps- if you add wingers to that it’s more like Robitaille 18.0

  113. I don’t know why anyone would hate to admit when Richards plays good. I mean, he’s still a Ranger, right? :)

  114. Stranger Nation on

    If we sign Stastny which #2 center do we move to bring in this new #2 center?

    I would sign Mel Ott and play him on the second line, play Miller Time on 3rd and Dinty Moops.

  115. Stranger Nation on

    _Richards has been relatively good_

    relative to having zero expectations and him possibly being benched? Yeah, I guess so…

  116. I’m doing well Lat. I don’t get to visit RR as often as I want anymore. But tis the season.

    And boys, you can’t say Richards hasn’t had a good playoffs thus far. he’s got high mileage and slow feet. we’ll be saying the same thing about St. Louis in the next 18 months too.

    Unfortunately, this is Nash’s team. He needs to play like it in this series.

  117. Stranger Nation on

    New line next year: Jagr – Heatley – Selanne

    probably outscore any other line we put out there

  118. by the way- how hellish will the fall out in SJ be this summer? How low has the stock of Marleau or Thornton fallen at this point given their playoff reputations? yikes

  119. I don’t think playoff reputation will cause their stock to drop based on regular season numbers alone. Those guys still put up good numbers.

    There’s always the “change of scenery” scenario.

  120. Doodie Machetto on

    “Makes you less of a fan. That’s a fact.”

    How does being honest about evaluating your team’s prospects make you less of a fan. Does disagreeing with government policies make you less of a patriot? If I were comparing the American auto industry to the Japanese auto industry and chose the Japanese auto industry as the superior auto industry, that makes me anti-America? Not at all. Likewise for looking at this Rangers team and not thinking they are capable of winning. It doesn’t mean I won’t support them to the bitter end. It just means that I’m not expecting them to win.

  121. Doodie Machetto on

    Also, Marleau was a point per game this year in the playoffs, and is currently second to Jagr all-time among active players in playoff goals. And he has a higher goals per game than Jagr (last year’s 0 for 22 hurt Jagr).

  122. Doodie Machetto on

    Salty, by the NBC production crew in trying to build the series rivalry up.

  123. Doodie just for the sake of conversation i’m going to say this flat out. I wouldn’t want Marleau (or for that matter Thornton) anywhere near this team based on his lack of playoff success. I don’t care about his all time production. They blew a 3-0 lead in the series with LA. Where was Marleau after game 4? not so much as an assist in games 5,6 or 7.. “former 50 goal scorer” and “point per game player” are phrases that haven’t amounted to much of anything around these parts over the years. I’m looking at who performs when it counts. Marleau doesn’t.

  124. Doodie Machetto on

    Orr, seriously, I just don’t understand your position. Help me understand. It’s not like I’m at the game cheering for the Penguins.

    If I pick a team other than America to win the World Cup, that means I’m not a fan of the American team?

    If a fan of the Sabres goes into next season saying that the Sabres won’t win the Stanley Cup, he’s less of a fan for doing so?

    It just doesn’t make sense.

  125. and Orr, just because fans are realistic doesn’t mean they WANT their team to lose. blind confidence makes us no better than the loud mouth fans of other teams.

  126. Doodie Machetto on

    James, a guy puts up 7 points in the first four games of the series and you’re going to say he didn’t perform? How about the rest of his team show up and provide some secondary scoring? It’s not fair to expect a guy to score in every game. If he goes on a run like that to start the series, you need to expect regression. Where was Thornton? Where was Burns? Where was Couture? Where was Pavelski? Where was Hertl? Where were any of the defensemen?

    After the first four games, the Kings adjusted and took Marleau away. That’s fine. Somebody else has to step in and fill the void.

    Sure, Marleau has been nonexistent at some points in the past in the playoffs. But this year, he gets a pass from me.

  127. Doodie, I get what your saying. There’s just some “fans” that take it to another level and almost gloat when their prediction (against the Rangers, Lundqvist, any player) comes true.

    It’s easy to say a team isn’t going to win because you have a 29:1 shot. It doesn’t mean that person should have a sense of satisfaction when they get eliminated.

  128. Doodie Machetto on

    Someone asked why we don’t refer to the next bad free agent signing as Holik 5.0 or Kamensky 8.0. The answer is Holik and Kamensky were precap. It didn’t matter how much we paid overpaid someone. We could overpay everyone else to compensate.

    In the cap world, overpayment is an absolute handcuff to the rest of the roster. Really, the first really bad offensive player signings were the Gomez/Drury signings. I just don’t know whether you call it Drury or Gomez 3.0. Probably Drury, since he won that stupid coin flip and was such a natural winner.

    Besides, Gomez became McDonagh. Drury just became a joke.

  129. Nash has generally been a good regular season player. How many boneheads are looking for a way to get him off the team?

  130. Rangers over Penguins in 5
    Canadiens over Bruins in 7
    Wild over Blackhawks in 6
    Ducks over Kings in 7

  131. My heart beat twice as I crossed that ice
    And you held your hand in miiiiiiine…
    Oh, how could I dance with D. Sutter
    When I saw AV standing there?

  132. Doodie Machetto on

    Gravy, I totally get that. What I’m saying is that there is a third choice between blind support and being happy when the team fails.

    Nash is not even close as a comparable to Marleau. First, Marleau has consistently better regular season numbers. Second, Nash has done absolutely nothing during the playoffs. 2 goals in 23 games. That’s less than 8 goals across an 82 game season. Marleau is scoring playoff goals at a pace of about 33 per 82 game season, which is just about in line with his regular season average of about 35 a season.

  133. capodetuticapi on

    This is why this will be my last post or view on this site and I wont follow carp anymore.

    You USED to be good, fair, honest reporting, even from a Non ranger fan which you admittedly are.

    And it’s not even like what your saying is not true cause most times it is.

    But Your just such a pessimist this entire season for the rangers, basically 9 times out of 10 bringing up only negative concepts that I cant even stand reading your “Opinions” anymore

    Its enough to read this from the opposing team writers, but on a rangers site, supposedly for rangers fans? No Thanks .

    I support the rangers, I’m a fan of the rangers, I’d like the rangers to win. Just not going to read follow or recommend your site to anyone anymore, and I’m not alone on this

    See ya

  134. Nasher is what he is. He can stink up the joint or he can shine like a diamond. Let’s hope it’s the latter.

  135. You don’t understand me and I don’t understand you. I guess just leave it at that until next year.

    And you’re comparing the worst team in hockey to a team that’s in the 2nd round of the playoffs and has one of the top 5 goalies in the world. A pretty good team.

  136. Doodie Machetto on

    Brassard: “It is not going to be easy, but we honestly feel we can beat any team.”

    How about try scoring more than two points in seven games.

  137. Robby Bonfire on

    Re “Eighth time in the playoffs in nine years,” 16 teams make the playoffs every year. One thing counts and that is winning the Stanley Cup. Even total “Trips to the Cup Finals” carries a negative connotation as the failures begin to mount up.

    One Stanley Cup in 74 years is one hell of a lot more telling than an accumulated bunch of “Sather Seasons,” – being a chronic marginal contender. Assuming Pittsburgh is the end of the line for this year’s Rangers team, should we regard this season as a “success” because the team “Made the playoffs and bounced Philly in the first round?”

    I think not. The Cally organizational disaster; Sather trading younger guys for older guys; Miller and Allen being treated like lepers in the best “our system kids stink” Sather tradition. And some other kids who at least deserved a look not even getting that. It all adds up, to me, of this being yet ~another~ season of just spinning the wheels around here, with minimal, if any, foundation planted this year for a major breakthrough next year.

    Put “Sather stepping down” at the top of my Christmas wish list. Really, really, tired of how stale and stuck in the mud this organization is.

  138. Doodie Machetto on

    But I’m asking you to explain. I want to understand your point. Because as I see it, it ignores the possibility of intellectual honesty about your team’s chances.

  139. not that carp needs any defending but to departing friend who is going to be leaving…

    carp was the one telling this sorry group of people here all season long that this team was making the playoffs when a lot of us, myself included was writing them off

  140. Robby, by that logic, there are about one or two good franchises in the NHL.

  141. also this debate between orr, manny, and doodie is an all-timer…

    i’m with doodie, predictions have nothing to do with fandom. i’m still rooting for them tonight but i have a very hard time imagining the team that just needed 2 weeks to beat the flyers being able to beat the pens…

  142. capodetuticapi,
    seriously, get a clue. Carp had rangers finishing 2nd before the season started and that’s exactly where they finished, 2nd. Carps opinions about the rangers are usually accurate but he is human, nobody is correct 100% of the time. If anything, Carp is usually the one who is optimistic about the rangers and reeling in the pessimistic ranger fans.

  143. Carp should always pick the Rangers to win the Cup because this is a Rangers site.

  144. Doodie Machetto on

    Gravy, no, it’s OK that he picks against the Rangers since he’s admitted to not being a fan.

  145. Yo I HATE the Rangers in this series. I’m pulling for the Pens now.

    And Doodie before we go off on a Marleau debate my point wasn’t just about him. It was he, Thornton, Boyle, Stuart, Couture Pavelski Havlat…the whole lot of them. I wouldn’t want to take a chance on any of them with their playoff performances the last couple of years. I’ll retract this much about Marleau. He’s not an underachiever in playoff hockey. the man is 60-43-103 in 147 games. but it’s an ugly situation out in SJ right now.

  146. Manny-O-War on

    @NHLGoaliesToday #Wild Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov Confirmed in goal 05/02/14 versus Blackhawks

  147. You saw squares on the day game 7 too……Good sign!

    *gravy see square avatars*

  148. Manny-O-War on

    I’m pretty much with ORR on this. I don’t think that you’re “not a fan” if you pick the Penguins. But you have to do it in the spirit that *eric* does. The spirit in which he knows it’s going to happen, bleeds blue til death and will be devastated when his prediction comes right.

    There’s another thing when people are more interested in being “right” I find that pretty damn annoying.

  149. and I ESPECIALLY hate Manny. and Doodie. And Miami. And CT Blueshirt. and EDDIE.

  150. Manny-O-War on

    For the other debate I would take Marleau before Thornton but am more interested in *PAVELSKI*

  151. They’re rioting in Africa, They’re starving in Spain. There’s hurricanes in Florida, California needs rain.
    The whole world is festering with unhappy souls – The French hate the Germans, The Germans hate the Poles.
    Italians hate Yugoslavs. South Africans hate the Dutch.
    And I don’t like anybody very much!

  152. capo, I picked the Rangers to finish second in the Metro. I said they are the third best in the East, repeatedly. I picked them to beat the Flyers in 6.

    So, sorry.

    Salty, in Pittsburgh.

  153. Headzo, YES!!!

    I kind of cracks me up all these people picking the Rangers and at the first sign of adversity, the first goal Lundqvist allows, or whatever, everybody will be jumping ship: Buy out Nash, Fire Sather, Stralman and Boyle and Richards and Staal and Girardi all suck. Lundqvist is way overrated.

    But Rangers in 5. :)

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