NYR/TBL Game 3 ECF Recap: Lundqvist Chokes Leads, Why I Would Start Talbot In Game 4, Why That Won’t Happen, 5 Goals Not Enough for the “King”, Touchdown Tampa, Nash & More From The Worst Rangers Loss of the Season

Oh wait, wrong sport. Couldn’t tell with Lundqvist in net.

Yea, no intro today.

You already know. The Rangers lost Game 3 of the ECF, to the Tampa Bay Lightning, 6-5, in overtime. TBL takes the series lead at 2-1.

While watching this game, I received more facebook tags, twitter mentions and text messages than ever before, which says something. I get more people hitting me up when Lundqvist sucks, than when the Rangers win. Of course, that happens because I’m known as the Cam Talbot guy.

I’ve said it before, and really, I’m not going to give you the whole spiel or rehash job, you can go back into the archives for my full length explanations, but I do not root against Henrik Lundqvist. I want him to win a Cup. More importantly, I want the Rangers to win a Cup. However, I have no problem calling out the most overpaid goalie in the league, where many Ranger fans think that it sacrilege to do so. For Ranger fans, it’s ok to go nuts and be infuriated with Rick Nash or Martin St. Louis, but say one bad word about Lundqvist, you’re Judas. FUCK THAT. Lundqvist is not even close to being one of the best goalies of all time, and his “King” nickname is fucking ridiculous.

I had three approaches to this blog:

1. Go the sarcastic route. “Oh, you can never blame the goalie when he gives up 12 goals in two games. It’s the defense!” I can’t believe any hockey fan really believes that.

2. The cheerleader route. “It’s a bad game, but the Rangers will come back and get them next time. It’s ok everyone!”

Or number three, the one you’re going to get now. The Skip Bayless/Jim Rome mountain of fury mode.

I’ll warn you now. If you’re a Hank fan boy and think Lundqvist can do no wrong, go read another blog that is looking to be accepted by the masses. This is my opinion, you don’t have to read it. I hope you give it a shot with a clear mind, then make judgment, but many will just see me truthing on Lundqvist and cry about it. Let’s break this shit-show down.

“But it’s not his fault!” Note, he gave up 6 vs TB tonight, as that graphic was posted before OT.

Lundqvist vs TBL, in his last 6 games:

6-5 L

6-2 L

2-1 W

6-3 L

4-3 L

5-1 L

For those with a calculator, that’s a 4.74 GAA in his last 6 games vs Tampa. Can Ranger fans admit that maybe Tampa has Hank’s number? Someone should check the inside tag on Lundqvist’s jersey, and look to see if it says “Made in Tampa” on it.

I get the Hank love. He’s been great for 10 years. Has he ever won a Cup though? NO!

We know the spiel, so short version. He demanded Torts to be fired, (I don’t disagree with why he wanted him out, Torts ran his course), said he wanted to win a Cup here at all costs, then teased becoming a FA before demanding to be the highest paid goalie in the NHL. Listen, if you want the money, like say Rick Nash, fine. Just don’t tell me you want to win a cup at all costs, then tease FA & ask for the cash. It’s one or the other.

Think on this – the Rangers have never won a Cup with Lundqvist. Is that his fault? Partly. He did blow the Cup Finals last year, blowing every 2 goal lead he had and losing 3 OT games. Yes, LA was stronger and got more shots off, but that’s why we pay Hank, right? Instead, a goalie making half Hank’s money, won his second Stanley Cup and with less years in the league.

In the team make-up, Hank gets $8.5M a season,  for 7 years, a ton of money for an aging and regressing goalie, especially one that has never won a Cup. Is he one of the best goalies in the league? Yes, you can’t deny that. However, is he worth his value, when you compare contracts of his peers & ages? HELL NO!

My thing is this – Yes, Hank has been a great goalie and at times, still is. However, when you look at the complete team make-up, maybe the Rangers should’ve cut down the budget on the goalie contract and used the money to beef up the lines/skaters. Even if you got a goalie that is or perceived to be, weaker than Hank, if you beef up your skaters, perhaps that gives you a better team balance. You want to say it’s not Hank’s fault? Then maybe the Rangers need to shake up the roster, starting with the goalie, to free money and do what they have to do to win a Cup.

I know it’s beach weather in Florida, but this is ridiculous!

I’ll say it off the bat. My prediction was Rangers in 6. Can they win three in a row? Sure. They’ve done it before. However, it shouldn’t be that hard. The Rangers can win this series and Hank can have 3 shut-outs (I wouldn’t bet on that though) but it doesn’t make you forget that Hank has now cost his team two games. Remember, this is the same goalie, on record, who said, “GIVE ME TWO GOALS AND I GOT THIS.” Well he got two on Monday and five tonight, and it still wasn’t enough.

Just think if Lundqvist did what he’s being paid to do. It gives Zuccarello more time to get ready for the Cup finals. It takes some of the pressure away. It creates confidence. Now, every time TBL shoots the puck, we all have a turtlehead touching cotton.

I don’t care what anyone says, the Game 3 loss is solely on Henrik Lundqvist, way more so than the Game 2 loss. He can come back and win the series and the headlines will all be “Will Hank get his cup?”, but the bottom line is Hank is way overpaid.

Lundqvist against Tampa this season

We all know I’m the Talbot guy. I’m one of the few to actually even have his jersey! If you’re new to the blog, just check the archives. I’ve been the conductor of the Talbot Train from day one.

In hindsight, I should’ve worn this rather than my MSL jersey tonight!

I said in my game 2 blog, that Hank had to start tonight. I also said at the end of the regular season (Which many people obviously did not watch, because I am reading social media posts saying “Lundqvist is the only reason we are here, not realizing that it was Talbot that put the Rangers in first place by a mile & won the President’s Trophy) that I thought Talbot should’ve started the playoffs.

To Henrik’s credit, he played great in the first two rounds, with a few minor hiccups. Great, no question. However, we don’t know how Talbot would’ve done. He could’ve had 8 shutouts. He could’ve got blown out of the water. We will never know. What we do know, is that the Rangers were better with him in net this year, than they were with Lundqvist. Talbot had better numbers than the “King”.

I believed that Lundqvist should’ve started this game. After all, Talbot has not seen the ice since the last week of the regular season. He has not had any real game time. Furthermore, not only hasn’t he played in nearly two months, he would be stepping right into a game against one of the best teams in the NHL.

Lundqvist has now spotted two touchdowns this series. At this point, what’s the difference if you start a rusty Talbot? It’s not like Hank is doing any better.

My favorite piece of Rangers memorabilia!

Before you get your panties in a wad, here’s why I would start Talbot in Game 4:

– Hank’s 4.74 GAA in 6 games with TBL.

– TBL has many ex-Rangers who practiced against him and know his weak points. They don’t know Talbot like that.

– Hank is rattled. You can see it in his face, in his words and how he looks back the majority of the time after every shot.

– Rangers need a spark. Look what happened when Chicago pulled Crawford, WHO ACTUALLY WON A CUP, for Darling. It changed their whole series with Nashville around.

– Rangers are better offensively, statistically, with Talbot.

– Talbot has a better save percentage. Some critics will say that’s because he has to make easier saves because the Rangers skate better. Even if that’s the case, then why not start him? If it keeps the defense so alert, if you’re using the “Rangers rely on Hank too much” defense, then put in Talbot!

– Talbot was amazing all year and beat the teams Hank had his doors blown off by. While Hank was owned by Boston, LA, NYI and other teams, Talbot beat them all. Talbot did not face TBL this year.

– Hank is getting owned by TBL. Why not shake it up? How bad can a rusty Talbot be, when your “King” is giving up TD’s like a college football defense?

That being said, Lundqvist will be starting Game 4. Why is that? Here’s the reasons why he will start, although I would rather Talbot:

– AV will not pull Hank. He doesn’t want the backlash from Lundqvist or MSG management.

– Hank has the ability to get coaches fired. Even the coach that Dolan loved the most, in Torts, was canned. To even stress this, the only coach Dolan ever fought for, against GM Glen Sather, was Torts. Torts did need to go, but Dolan didn’t want that. When Lundqvist said he would rather play for someone else, Torts was out of town.

– Hank is a $$$ machine for the Rangers, on and off ice. You think anyone wants to pay a guy 10% of payroll to watch Talbot play? You think MSG wants their face of the franchise sitting on the bench?

– If AV didn’t pull Hank, down 5-2, with 9 minutes left to go in Game 3, why would he start Talbot?

– The turnovers to goal ratio for TBL. There’s enough of them for people to say, “BUT IT’S NOT HANK’S FAULT!” However, when you take the lion’s share of the money, it sure is.

– AV has had goalie controversies in the past. In Montreal and in Vancouver. He got fired both times for picking the wrong horse. Hank is the safe bet.

– If the Rangers fail with Hank, AV takes no blame. If Rangers bomb with Talbot, AV is fired.

Bottom line, Hank is starting game 4, even if I would put my balls on the line and start Talbot. Then again, I would’ve started Talbot from the jump. It’s a shame we will never know what he could’ve done.

The Bold wants Talbot! Get Lawst Hank!

Where do you even begin when trying to recap this game? Tell me if you heard this story before. The Rangers start off really hot, get a 2-0 lead and Lundqvist blows it. Sadly, this story is a story repeated often. Just watch the Cup Finals of last year.

I want to recap the goals, just like I did in the last blog, so you can get a real feel of the game.

GOAL ONE- Brassard scores a Rangers PPG a minute into the game. The Rangers PP has looked better in this series. Brassard just blasted at Bishop and beat him. A rare bad goal allowed by Bishop. 1-0 NYR

GOAL TWO-  Jesper Fast beats Bishop on a breakway, with a sweet move to boot, 10 minutes into the first period. 2-0 Rangers and the confidence was growing. However, Hank wouldn’t allow you to sustain that. 2-0 NYR

GOAL THREE-  Lundqvist makes a save on Killorn, but instead of deading the puck or kicking it to the corner, he gives it to Stamkos. 2-1 Rangers, with 9 minutes to go in the period. 2-1 TBL

GOAL FOUR- Palat scores on a PPG, on a give and go play with perhaps the future of hockey, Tyler Johnson. 2-2, as we hit the halfway mark of the game, here in the second period. 2-2 TIE

GOAL FIVE- Lundqvist officially gives TBL the lead after blowing the two spot. Johnson, from Palat, this time, scores on  4 vs 4. Perfect pass from Palat. This goal you could give Lundqvist a pass on, but remember, he says he’s elite and a King. Can’t be blowing two goal leads. 3-2 TBL

GOAL SIX- Let it pour baby! Alex Killorn joins the scoring party, beating Lundqvist with a simple wrist shot. This happened with 3 minutes left to go in the period, which was infuriating. 4-2 TBL.

GOAL SEVEN- No it’s not Rick Nash or MSL, it’s Jesper Fast putting up a two goal game, scoring 30 seconds after Killorn, after capitalizing on a Kevin Klein rebound. 4-3 TBL.

GOAL EIGHT- The man who called the team embarrassing after Game 2 (I wonder if he will have the balls to call Hank embarrassing after tonight), our captain, Ryan McDonagh, tied the game up with a PPG, 3 minutes into the third period. 4-4 TIE. THE RANGERS CAME BACK. Now Bishop blew the two goal lead. However, Hank was determined to see if he could blow another lead.

GOAL NINE- Palat beats Hank in the slot, with 6 minutes to go. A totally deflating, like a Brady football, goal. 5-4 TBL

GOAL TEN- Dan Fucking Boyle, and who would’ve thought, he’s been one of the better producing Rangers in these playoffs, beat Bishop with less than two minutes to go, after yet again, another Bishop rebound. 5-5 TIE!

GOAL 11 – In the overtime, Lundqvist was determined to blow his third lead of the game. Kucherov scores from about 29948348 feet away. Fucking Christopher Reeves, TODAY, could’ve stopped that shot. KING NOTHING! 6-5 TBL for the win.

Three blown leads, 6 goals allowed, yet people will find someone else to blame. Incredible.

What really hurts, just as much as the blown leads and giving up 6 goals, is the fact on the night the Rangers lit up Bishop and Bishop had his worst performance in the playoffs, Lundqvist found a way to be worse. I’m not someone who says a game is a “MUST WIN” until you’ve lost three games in a playoff series, but this was a game the Rangers should’ve won.

There is no excuse for the Rangers to lose this game. I’ve heard people blame Nash & MSL for not scoring. Nash gets the worst of it, and deservingly so. I think people have accepted MSL is old and can understand more why he’s not producing. Nash is just A-Rod for many Ranger fans. Great regular season numbers (Although he was trailing off in the last month of the season) and no goals in the playoffs.

Here’s my take on Nash, as I’ve said before. He’s playing well. He’s not hurting the team. He’s creating opportunities. He’s played strong defense. He’s getting his looks. What he’s not doing is scoring. He’s being paid to score, not just play well. I can understand the Nash outrage, but really, if you are blaming him for these last two games, you are utterly lost.

Credit: NYRMEMES for the pic, and my liver for putting up with this shit!

So where, oh where, do the mighty New York Rangers go from here? The series isn’t over, but it doesn’t look good either. If the Rangers fall 3-1, and yes, I’m aware, they did come back last series, but I just don’t see it happening against this Tampa team.

You can say you hope the Rangers get mad and fire up. I thought they did that this game, after that Game 2 drubbing. Bottom line, the money is with Hank, Hank is the face of the team and this team will win or lose with Hank. He got five goals tonight. The Rangers exposed Bishop.

On Friday, the Rangers need to keep doing what they are doing offensively. They need Hank to just be the Hank of every other game they’ve had, besides this week.  I can give you the cliches, “gotta forget this game”, “throw the stats out the window”, “come out gunning” or whatever you want, but bottom line is Hank needs to live up to his nickname and contract. If he doesn’t, we will be watching Tampa in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Horrible loss. All you can hope is that after Friday, it’s a best of 3 series. One thing fans forget is that the other team is great and wants to win too. Winning the Cup isn’t easy. Just ask Henrik Lundqvist.

I’m going to bed pissed. Redeem yourself Lundqvist or spend all summer thinking about your TD performances.

LET’S GO RANGERS

IN CAM WE TRUST

WAKE THE FUCK UP HANK

SPLIT IN TAMPA

Sean McCaffrey

BULLSMC@aol.com

@NYCTHEMIC on that glorious twitter machine

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