Let down in Bean-town
There were good spots for the New York Rangers & there were some ugly ones. If you tuned into the game in the first period I’m not totally sure you would’ve realized it was a playoff game beside the logo on the ice & the “East Semis Round 1 Game 1″ in the upper right hand corner of your television. The game started off slow & mainly quiet. Maybe the Boston fans still had no voice from their game 7 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. It seemed almost as if the Rangers and Bruins were basically just “feeling out” each other in the first stanza until about the final minute and a half when Boston applied some pressure. The horn sounded and we all took a breather.
As the game wore on, it opened up a little more and started to feel like a New York/Boston playoff Rivalry. Some shots found twine, while others rang off iron. But another 0-for on the Powerplay is the cause for letdown in the game.
The Rangers were 0-3 on the PP. My biggest cause for concern? The Rangers are now 2 for their last THIRTY-ONE since the opening of the playoffs two weeks ago exactly. I’ve noticed a few problems with their PP but of course I’m only a writer not the head coach of the New York Rangers.
1. Why is Rick Nash, your best offensive forward not on the first unit?
2. Why is John Moore, the only defensemen who seems to shoot NOT on the first unit?
3. Why is Brad Richards out there….. period?
4. Penalty Kill hurting.
First I’ll discuss the Nash question. You go out and get arguably one of the best forwards in hockey to help your team with scoring. We all realize getting Nash was pretty much a steal for the Rangers in the off-season. Yet as the season deepened Nash found himself on the 2nd PP unit getting a little under a minute of time. John Tortorella made the right move putting him with Brassard, his ex-teamate, on the same line. Brass can create space for himself OR open space up for Nash. Although Nash hasn’t scored yet in the playoffs he has been playing better of late, especially tonight when he seemed like the best skater for the Rangers. So why isn’t the guy out on the first unit with his linemate and the teams best passer, Derick Brassard? Boggles my mind.
Attacking the second question is awfully similar to the first, only going from a Forward to a D-Man. When the Rangers acquired John Moore for Marian Gaborik at the trade deadline, most Rangers fans said “Huh? Who the heck is this guy?” Blueshirt Nation has grown to enjoy this kid a whole lot. Looks and plays very similar to a Ryan McDonagh but with more offensive talent. Maybe McDonagh and Moore are secretly twins who accel, in different ends of the ice. Finally near the end of the season Torts threw him on the PP and things seemed to click a bit. Why? HE SHOOTS. Yet for some reason we get Michael Del Zotto & a mix of Dan Girardi, Mats Zuccarello & Derek Stepan. In some situations he hasn’t even seen time on the Powerplay PERIOD. Your best offensive minded defenseman needs to be on the ice in those situations.
Thirdly, we get to Brad “Big Money” Richards, or whatever you call him. We all know, since Tortorella coached Richards to a cup in 04′ he’d be one of his favorites. Finally, Tortorella put Richards in the doghouse after a game 5 loss to the Washington Capitals. He was dropped to the 4th line and played under 10 minutes in both games 6 & 7, respectively. So you denote a guy, yet reward him with Powerplay time? Am I the only person seeing something wrong with this equation?
In overtime of Game 1 of the Rangers v. Bruins series, the Bruins got a powerplay. Although they didn’t score they produced a TON of momentum which eventually helped propel them to a Game 1 victory on a beautiful set up from Patrice Bergeron, finished by Brad Marchand. Boston was 1/4 on their PP in the game creating a ton of shots, a few “pings” off the iron and a goal. I think we can all admit, we miss Darrol Powe, strictly for his Penalty killing abilities. As fans who have watched this team over the past few seasons, seeing them with a struggling Penalty Kill is almost confusing being that its been so good in previous years. Can they regain that form? Only time will tell.
Other than the Special Teams, The New York Rangers played a pretty good road game in a hostile environment. Henrik Lundqvist made 45 saves and took the loss. Rask made 33. Believe it or not the Rangers could win this game, despite Hanks 45 saves 2 out of the 3 goals were a little on the “soft” side. Both squeaking through his armpit, saves “The King” usually stops. Rask looked shaky early on and gave up some juicy rebounds that were never pounced on. Nonetheless both teams now have 2 days to rest and maybe get players healthy & back into action before a Sunday afternoon matinée at TD Garden in Boston.
Looking forward, the Rangers special teams against this Boston team could very much be the deciding factor in the series. John Tortorella should go back and look at the tape from the Rangers/Penguins game right after the deadline and go back to that PP…. Whatever it was, it worked.
Until next time, hope you enjoyed the read. Lets Go Rangers!