|No pigs aren’t flying, Rick Nash got the Broadway Hat|
Welcome everyone to another blog here on DOINOW.com. Again, I must apologize for the tardiness of this blog, but as I said at the beginning of these playoffs, these blogs may not be posted until the day after the game. Either I’m celebrating a victory or re-watching a loss & trying to see what went wrong. Fortunately for me, my friends and I celebrated all night! Gotta love Friday night hockey!
Just want to give you a few site notes, here at the top of this post:
– For people asking me about the comment section, it’s not fully working nor easy to use. I will have my webmaster look into it. To submit feedback, I always check every email I get at BULLSMC@aol.com. You can also tweet at me @NYCTHEMIC and I’ll try to answer there.
– With these late playoff games, these blogs will be posted later than usual. You know I put a lot into these mini-manifestos, and I don’t want to just throw up a rush job. If I know a blog won’t be up til late, I’ll link the official BLUESHIRTSUNITED.COM report. You should check them out anyway.
– While on feedback, I have had readers ask about the DOINOW.com name. It’s not Rangers-specific. Would you like to see a name change or does it not matter to you? Feel free to email/tweet responses.
Ok, with that out of the way, away we go:
This blog has always been your Blueshirt Bluecollar place for Ranger opinions and recaps. You already know that the Rangers won Game 4, in their best of 7 ECF series with the Tampa Bay Lightning, 5-1, to even the series at 2-2. However, let’s skip the normal intro, and give you my take on the game.
For me, when the game was over, the biggest thing I took out of this game was the fact that all the stars shined. One of the biggest problems is that this doesn’t happen more often. If the Rangers could get production like this from their stars more often, the Rangers wouldn’t have to sweat out every series or game that they are in.
Obviously, you know from this blog that Henrik Lundqvist is the highest paid Ranger, at $8.5M a year. The second highest paid Ranger is Rick Nash, at $7.8M a year. The third highest paid Ranger is Marc Staal at $5.7M a year. The fourth highest paid Ranger is MSL, at $5.625M a year. Last night, Hank finished with 38 saves on 39 shots, Rick Nash finished with two goals and an assist, MSL scored a goal, and Staal helped to shut down Tampa’s offense. For a coach, GM, owner and for the fans, you can’t be any prouder than when your stars show up for you. Obviously, the stars were aligned, at least for one night, in Game 4. Will we see this constellation again?
Sometimes I wonder if people read these blogs from start-to-finish. When Hank finished with 38/39 saves, I had a lot of tweets/facebook mentions/texts from people saying “I TOLD YOU HANK WAS BETTER THAN TALBOT.” If you bothered to read my Game 3 recap (in the archives, on the right hand of the site), I said Lundqvist should start Game 4. I listed every reason why he should start. I also said that there was no way he could be this bad for three games in a row.
Bottom line, Talbot is in everyone’s head. All you heard on sports radio/tv shows were people talking Talbot. Coach AV was asked about Talbot. The Daily Fucking News was running articles on Talbot. Henrik himself even brought up Talbot, saying he switched lockers with him for luck. It’s great that Hank had a good game, but at the same time, to disparage Talbot or say the Rangers needed Hank to win, is ignorant.
No one knows how Talbot would’ve done. He could’ve been the next Ken Dryden. He could’ve also been Andrew Hammond and had a first round exit. We will never know. However, when you see ardent Hank supporters bury Talbot, as a way to promote Hank, it just reeks of desperation and lack of confidence.
We all know Talbot won’t get a start in these playoffs, barring a Lundqvist injury. We also know, that without Cam Talbot, the Rangers don’t win the President’s Trophy, giving the Rangers the home-ice advantage, in this now best of 3 series.
|Every Rangers fan was elated to see Rick Nash score|
Just like my last two blogs on this series, let’s recap the goal scoring, then talk about the game as a whole.
GOAL 1: With less than 3 minutes to go, Kevin Hayes hit an outlet pass to Rick Nash. Nash broke free, beat Paquette, then backhanded one past Ben Bishop. I am not one of the Nash bashers, that you see all over social media. Just read the past blogs, not going to rehash everything. He’s playing well, just not scoring. I am happy, to see a guy who was obviously plagued by concussion issues last year, finally get one in the net. Who knows, it could be only one game, but for tonight, in the Rangers most important game of the season, Nash came up big. Hopefully this is the start of something beautiful. 1-0 NYR.
GOAL 2: Stamkos, at the 8:30 mark of the second period, buried a one-timer from between the circles on Lundqvist. The way this game was going, the Rangers were lucky this would be the only TBL goal of the evening. 1-1 TIE
GOAL 3: Four minutes after Stamkos scored, Kreider found a Klein rebound and put it past Bishop. The Rangers are finding a ton of success with rebounds and deflections on Bishop. We didn’t know it at the time, but this would be the game winning goal. 2-1 NYR
GOAL 4: Yandle found a wild deflection, off a shot that was going 30 feet wide, as the puck hit Hedman’s leg and went past Bishop. Hey, throw it in front of the net and good things happen. The goal came with 2 minutes to go in the second period. A huge insurance goal. With Hank already blowing one lead, I can’t lie, I was nervous about the dreaded two goal lead. 3-1 NYR.
GOAL 5: MSL finally scored a PPG with 15 minutes left in the third period. I’m a huge MSL guy. It’s funny, the infamous JEFFREY, who I’ve talked about in these blogs, has the opposite feeling than me on MSL. I love MSL. If it wasn’t for him, we don’t make the Cup last year. However, he has looked old. As MSL was one timing the Brassard pass, I just saw him wiffing it. After all, how many times have we seen MSL wiff on a puck in these playoffs? I was so happy for him, as MSL found the puck and drilled it home. The fans in Tampa were not a fan of this goal! 4-1 NYR
GOAL 6: Rick “Motherfuckin'” Nash beat Bishop again, this time off a rebound from Yandle’s shot & a Hayes deflection. Nash was in perfection position. 5-1 NYR, Final.
|The King took the Bishop in Game 4|
If you’ve been reading me regularly (And if you haven’t, check the archives on the right hand of the site, for my coverage/recaps of every game this season), I love watching great goaltending. I never played goalie when I played hockey (I played defense, never professionally or anything, just in rec leagues, as there was no hockey team when I was in High School), but I always appreciated the position. Maybe that’s because at 32 years old (Will be 33 on June 13th, feel free to send me playoff tickets), I grew up on Beezer & Richter.
Listen, just because I’m the Talbot guy, doesn’t mean I don’t think Hank is great. If he wins a Cup this year, he’s the greatest goaltender in Rangers history. However, he needs to win that Cup, in my eyes, to surpass both Giacomin and Richter. For most of my twenties to today, Hank has been a rock back there. I just think Talbot is better NOW and I would’ve rode the hot hand. Again, we don’t know how Talbot would’ve done, and it’s a shame we will never find out. However, as a Rangers fan, I grew up with Beezer, saw Richter in his prime and saw Lundqvist dominate. I’ve been fortunate to see a lot of great goaltending as a Rangers fan.
There are many storylines in this series and coming out of game 4. You have Rick Nash getting hot. MSL vs Callahan. The Triplets line. AV trying to get back to the Cup. However, the biggest storyline to me is Hank vs Bishop. Will Hank get his Cup?
I think I should just throw in the towel on predictions. I can watch analysts speak, read books, listen to radio shows, see interviews, but bottom line is this – I never know what NY Rangers team will show up on any given night. The only thing this team is consistent in, is being inconsistent.
Would we see the Lundqvist of the Washington & Pittsburgh series in Game 4 or would we see the Lundqvist of Games 2 & 3 of this series? I said before the game, on my twitter account, @NYCTHEMIC that I thought there would be no middle ground. Either Hank was going to be great or he was going to be blown out.
Lundqvist played well. Lights out? Not really, but it’s tough against this offense. The Rangers got a lot of puck luck in this game. I believe Tampa hit four posts in this game. You had Johnson fuck up on an open powerplay shot. You had Kucherov grab a puck off a face off, then send it soaring over Lundqvist, rather than putting it in the net that was left open.
Tampa’s offense is tough for a goaltender like Lundqvist. I thought Stephen Valliquette, Hank’s ex teammate/current MSG analyst, made some good points. Lundqvist plays deep in the net, so he doesn’t have much reaction time, and you need reaction time from an offense that is constantly going side-to-side.
I just think the Rangers were extremely lucky to walk out of this game, only giving up one goal. Tampa was knocking on the door all night.
On the other side, Ben Bishop gave up five goals for the second straight game. No one is screaming for his back-up, like some Ranger fans were with Lundqvist, because Bishop is now 10-2 vs the Rangers, where Hank vs TBL was 1-5 with a 4.74 GAA.
One question, the most important question, will be answered starting Sunday. Have the Rangers figured out Ben Bishop? If you look at the goals, the majority of the goals are from just shooting at the net and finding deflections and rebounds. That’s what the Rangers need to keep doing. When they get away from the overpassing and looking for the perfect shot, that is when their offense is most successful. Turning turnovers into breakaways help too, as this was the second straight game with a breakaway goal for the NYR.
How crazy is hockey? Going into this series, Hank & Bishop, were #1 & #2 in every goalie stat in the playoffs. Hank has given up 12 goals in two straight games, while Bishop has given up 10 in two straight games.You can’t predict this shit. That’s why they play the games on ice and why our heart rates are through the roof.
Win or lose this series, Ranger fans can not deny the greatness of Coach Alain Vigneault. In his first season, he took a perennial playoff team, that could never get over the hump and into the Stanley Cup Finals. This year, with his star goalie out for 30 games, his team won the President’s Trophy. Now he has them two wins away from another Cup appearance. If he doesn’t get the Jack Adams award, the league is totally rigged and full of shit.
After two miserable games, AV made some bold decisions before Game 4. First, he went all out and laughed at the notion of benching Hank. He made it clear that Hank was his guy and settled the Talbot chatter down a bit. Then, he plays with his lines again, putting Miller with Brassard & Nash. Nash scored two goals tonight. AV also juggled his defense, and while McDonagh logged 20:04 of ice time, it felt like he was out there all game. McDonagh was superb once again.
Game 1 is always the least important game of a series. It’s what you do after it that matters. We are seeing both teams adjust to their opponents, come up with new schemes, juggle lines and show creativity. Give it up to AV for his ability to make sure this series didn’t go 3-1. I honestly don’t know if the Rangers could’ve come back from another 3-1 hole, especially against this Tampa team.
|Game 5 is Sunday at 8PM on NBC|
Where do we go from here? Well the series is now 2-2 with a Game 5 at the Garden on Sunday night. You can enjoy your weekend, your BBQ’s, your pool openings, your family outings or whatever. Life would’ve been a little miserable today if the Rangers didn’t get it done last night.
I love this sport but man, talk about the roller coaster these games put you through. As I said above, I really don’t know what to expect on Sunday. What Hank will we have? I mean, after his press conference after Game 3, I was extremely nervous of what we would get here tonight. What Bishop will be there? Will the Rangers continue to keep putting the puck on net? Will the Lightning find nets instead of posts?
The Rangers earned home ice, and with home ice, you have the crowd behind you and you get the on-ice match-up advantage. We have the first (TBL) and third (NYR) highest scoring offenses in the league. We’ve seen a 2-1 game in this series, while games 2,3,4 saw at least 5 goals for the victor. Who knows what game we will get, who can predict this shit anymore!?!
The only thing I can accurately predict is that I will be watching the game and chanting….
LET’S GO RANGERS!!!
I thought these videos were worth watching after the game. Check these out, from BLUESHIRTSUNITED.com:
Rick Nash’s Reaction:
MSL Talks About Win:
Coach AV’s presser:
Lundqvist Talks Victory, Doesn’t Blame Teammates:
See you Sunday night/Monday Morning. Enjoy the weekend.
@NYCTHEMIC on twitter