NYR/WSH Round 2, Game 5 Recap: A Miracle On Ice, Big Time Goaltending, Rangers Force a Mother’s Day Game 6, Kreider Saves the Season, Nash, MSL, Zucc Injury & More

How every Rangers fan heart is like after this mess

I’m so glad the Ranger jerseys & sweatshirts don’t go into storage right now.

Welcome everyone to another Rangers game recap, here on DOINOW.com. I’ve been here all season, so we’ll skip the normal intro, you know the drill already.

First off, congratulations to my friend and life-long Rangers fan, Brian Miller on his Zuccarello (36, not crippled with AIDS or whatever rumor you heard about Zucc today) birthday.

I gotta give it to Rangers fans. As part of my hard-hitting research, I always check ticket prices for every game, just to get a gauge on things. For most of the day, ticket prices started at $250 in the obstructed view 400’s. 5 minutes before game time, tickets were $323 for the same seats. Down 3-1 in the series to the Washington Capitals, Ranger fans or perhaps even Capital fans traveling, spent their money to see this game.

I know many of you love my tales of the infamous JEFFREY, a Rangers season ticket holder. He gave up his seats to his friend and his friend’s girlfriend, as we all got together to celebrate Brian Miller’s birthday in beautiful Long Beach, NY. We hit “The Park” and had a great time. Any bar that has big screen tv’s and gives you the volume for the game is a homerun in my book. It wasn’t Hockeytown USA, like my normal stomping grounds, “The Bold O’Donoghue’s” but it was much suffice for the cause.

Sometimes my girlfriend wonders if JEFFREY & I have looked into same-sex marriage. She doesn’t understand OT goals.

If you’re a hockey fan or even a sports fan in general, I don’t have to explain this to you. You know this already. But it is amazing how ONE GOAL, can change your night. Curtis Glencross had us cursing. Glencross could’ve ruined our nights. Glencross could’ve ruined our summer. The Rangers still have to win two more games, but for this one night, the Glencross goal was long forgotten by the time Ryan McDonagh was celebrating.

On an aside, would it be Disney of me to think that Marty St. Louis wins the game for the Rangers, on Sunday, on Mother’s Day?

Just your normal Friday at 6PM for my crew and how I get through these blogs!

The Rangers won Game 5, in their best of 7 second round series, with the Washington Capitals, by winning in overtime, with a score of 2-1. As a result, the Rangers live to fight another day, as the series is now 3-2, in favor of Washington. For the Capitals, they missed a chance to close out the Rangers. For the Rangers, future Hall of Fame goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist, is still alive to win his first and elusive, Stanley Cup.

If you know me, read the blogs or just follow me on twitter, you know my deal. I’m a Talbot fanboy. I don’t think Lundqvist sucks or anything, I just think he’s overpaid. That’s all. The contract doesn’t benefit the Rangers. I just think if he took less or the Rangers went with Talbot in the future, you open more money for more offensively minded players. Maybe you get deeper four lines. However, Lundqvist is one of the greatest goalies in the world today, and I really hope he finally wins his Stanley Cup. I want the parade more than anyone.

Game 5 was just like watching any other game this series. The Rangers were all over the Capitals. They peppered Capitals netminder Braden Holtby. Holtby continued to play the best hockey of his life. He shut the Rangers down. The Rangers had powerplay opportunities, and while it was better than usual, the result was the same – no goals.

On the other end, Hank did his job. Win or lose the Cup this year, I plan on doing a blog on Hank. If you’re a Rangers fan you feel for the guy. If you’re not, just look at his playoff history. The guy plays amazing in the playoffs, but has never had offense in front of him. This year, he has the most pressure on him, than he’s ever had, because of winning the President’s Trophy, a star in Cam Talbot and the fact that trades were made to bolster the team for this year. I don’t care what anyone says, this is a Cup or Bust year.

The Rangers weren’t bad offensively this year. However, the second the playoffs started, they took a timeout from scoring. It is like watching the Tortorella Rangers, without the massive shot blocking. They just don’t score. The players may change. The jerseys have different names on the back. But the one constant is Henrik Lundqvist. Even with Lundqvist playing out of his fucking mind, the Rangers are now dealing with Holtby, who is playing at an historic level (He has the second highest save percentage in a series right now, in the history of the NHL.)

When you went into this series, come crunch time, you would bank Lundqvist over Holtby, 100/100 times. However, Holtby decided to become Patrick Roy, and all of a sudden, it’s the same script. Hope that Hank can steal games. Unfortunately for the Rangers, Hank can’t score goals. Washington has “outrangered” the Rangers in these 5 games thus far. They’ve just been scoring that timely or fluke goal before the Rangers could.

Lundqvist was incredible on Friday night

Lundqvist always gets an extreme reaction from me, because of his contract and the way he handled it. You know my spiel. Read the old blogs in the archives if you don’t know it already. Not going to get into it again. The thing is, if Kreider doesn’t tie the game up, late into the third period, we’re talking about how Holtby stole this series. Again, the Rangers need to win two more games, but on this night, Hank did it again and was able to out-wait Holtby for his team to do something.

Unfortunately for Lundqvist, this is his job and responsibility every night in the playoffs this year. Let’s face it. The Rangers refuse to score or shoot the puck. Even when they do, they got Braden “Brickwall” Holtby back there. Lundqvist needs to be 100% at 100% of the time. It’s a pressure job, but that’s why he’s the highest paid goaltender, at his request, in the league. His role this series is to do his job all game long, until the Rangers can figure out Holtby. 5 games down, and the Rangers are still trying to figure him out.

Zucc hasn’t played this series

Before talking the game at hand, let’s address the Zuccarello rumors. I know someone, through someone (doesn’t every rumor start that way?) that told me Zuccarello has a fractured skull, as a result of the McDonagh slapshot. The person who gave me this information gave me accurate timetables on the Lundqvist, MSL and Klein injuries this year. Today, social media was on fire. Zuccarello had brain bleeding. Zucc had a broken skull. Zucc had AIDS. Zucc is done for life. Zucc had laryngitis. It just went wild. The bottom line is that these rumors would be stomped out, if the NHL required their teams to release accurate injury reports like the NFL.

Before the game, Zuccarello was reported as doing light training. What the fuck does that mean? I don’t know. I’m sure Bryan Berard could do light training too. It would be nice to get an accurate injury report. Win or lose this series, I won’t blame the loss of Zucc. However, the Rangers do miss him, but no excuse to lose this round to the Capitals.

In either event, get well Zucc, we miss you and I hope you’re 100% soon.

The Captain was the difference tonight

What kills me about Ranger fans is whenever a defenseman has a turnover, it’s their fault why a goal was scored. I guess they forget about the highest paid goaltender in the league, who is paid to make the saves when it matters. So when McDonagh was burnt in game 4, you didn’t hear the end of it. Conveniently left out was Hank being burnt by a 20 year old AHLer for the second time or how the Rangers only mustered up one lousy goal against Holtby.

What people leave out, is how the defensemen shut down the opposing team. The Caps aren’t scoring many goals this series. Partly because of Hank and partly because of the defense. I don’t want to jinx it, but where has Ovi been after game 2? He’s not on the stat sheet. Neither is Backstrom. You know who else wasn’t on the stat sheet, Crosby (aside from game 2) and Malkin. McDonagh, Girardi & co. have done a great job of shutting down the opposition. If Hank can’t make a save after a turnover, then guess what, he shouldn’t be paid money to be a goalie god if he can’t do the job. Holtby is doing the same job for $6.5 million less.

For the Rangers to win these next two games and the series, the defense needs to keep at it and shut down the Caps stars. I mean no one wants to see the Caps score at all here, but it’s easier to accept a BS goal off a nobody, rather than leaving Ovi wide open to tee off. I’m just sick of seeing people blame our defensemen for losses, especially when Holtby has been outplaying Hank, for the majority of the series.

Kreider saved the Rangers season

You could look at my previous four game recaps of this series for the story of this game. The Rangers dominated the puck. Played great defense. Had many chances. Outshot the Caps. What they couldn’t do, is score goals. It’s been a trend all series.
Holtby has been amazing, you can’t give him enough credit. He came up big and big again, just as Lundqvist was. However, the Caps were once again, able to muster up a goal late, when Glencross beat Lundqvist on a breakaway. To Hank’s credit, he stopped Glencross’s first attempt and was beat on a rebound, with no defensemen in sight. However, the way the game was going, it looked like the Rangers were going to lose another game by one goal. Holtby was just able to outlast Lundqvist.

Not going to lie. I thought the game was over. The Rangers just refuse to score. It’s like they are playing for shootouts in these playoffs.

Leave it to Kreider, the hero of game 2, and arguably the hottest Ranger in this round, to find the game tying goal, with less than two minutes remaining in the game. The goal was scored with Lundqvist pulled, as he approached the bench, just as Kreider beat Holtby from the left circle. My memory isn’t the best and I’m too lazy to look it up, but this was maybe the second time (that I can recall) that the Rangers scored with the goalie pulled. For the Rangers, Kreider saved the season. It’s hard to blame Lundqvist, if the Rangers lost, but really, Holtby was phenomenal tonight.

Even with the goal, the game was tied, 1-1, with 100 ticks left in the period. After being there for game 1 of this series, I knew that OT wasn’t guaranteed. The Rangers would have to find a way to hold on, then hopefully figure out Holtby in OT. For my sake, thank the hockey gods that they did.

Patrick Roy Braden Holtby

With the game going into OT, I can feel a turtlehead touching cotton. In fact, I had to check if I sharted! Some how, some way, after looking like they would never score another goal (I believe they were 190 minutes with only one goal) Kreider was able to give CPR to the Rangers season.

Lundqvist, who finished with 28 saves on 29 shots, as opposed to Holtby, who finished with 41 saves on 43 shots, was remarkable all game and in the OT. I’m sick of hearing how Holtby has faced “easy” shots. No one talks about how he’s in position and anticipating the shots coming his way.

A miracle on ice occurred, 9:37 in the overtime, when the Rangers, once again, overpassed the puck (the overpassing has killed them all series), when Stepan, instead of shooting right at Holtby, found McDonagh trailing. McDonagh blasted the puck, in between the circles, in the middle of the ice, for the game winning goal. The feeling of jubilation, ecstasy and pure excitement, fueled my veins more than steroids in the body of Alex Rodriguez or JEFF-ROD. The Rangers aren’t dead yet!

I love Marty & will never forget last year, but he needs a big playoff game soon, ASAP soon

Aside from the Rangers extending their season, what can you take out of this win? For starters, Lundqvist was amazing again. Highest paid goalie in the league? To me, that’s always questionable and you know my argument for why.

Some idiots will blame AV for being outcoached by Trotz in this series. For me, AV has been Midas since he’s been here. He’s with the team every day. He knows what’s best. He’s forgotten more about hockey, than I could ever know, as a diehard fan. It’s not like Pete Carroll throwing the ball in the final play of the Superbowl.

Two guys that I’ve defended on this blog, that Ranger fans attack are Marty St. Louis & Rick Nash. Just a few words on them. Marty St. Louis was a hero last year. I will never forget what he did for us last year. He’s made some great passes, but all series, he has looked old and has missed open looks at the net. Even tonight, he had a wide open net and just lost his hands. It was inexcusable.

Everyone is going to gang up on Rick Nash until he has that game where he just dominates. I hope it happens. He’s not playing bad, but he’s not being paid to play “not bad.” He’s being paid to score goals, and he’s not doing that. He’s not a liability out there at all, but unlike the other playoff stars, the Rangers biggest money skater isn’t delivering the goals. It hasn’t happened yet. It would be great if it happened in Game 6 and hopefully in a Game 7.

It’s hard to dump on Kevin Hayes. Shit, at the beginning of the playoffs, I thought he could be a Conn Smythe winner. I will say, he hasn’t been the same player since the playoffs started. He’s very hesitant with the puck and not playing the same way he played in the regular season. He’s a rookie, so it’s hard to criticize him, but man, he could be the future of this team. It would be nice if the future started now. He has all the tools and is on the cusp of being a Rangers playoff hero. He just needs to shoot the puck and drive to the net like he did in the regular season.

I expect this to be full in June!

On tap is a Game 6, Mother’s Day, this Sunday, in Washington at 7PM. Throw the stats you’re reading away. Every game is independent of each other at this point. I don’t want to hear the histories. These two teams are not the same teams from the regular season, nevermind 1,2,3,4,5 years ago. Throw the away and home records out the window. This is playoff hockey, where those records include games against powerhouses such as Edmonton, Arizona and Buffalo.

Game 6 is about these Rangers vs these Capitals. If there are any facts that bother me, it’s this, from Blueshirtsunited.com:

 

Dating to last season’s Stanley Cup Final, each of the Rangers’ past 12 playoff games has been decided by one goal. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, New York’s streak of one-goal games in the playoffs is the longest in the NHL’s modern era. In the playoffs, 15 of the Rangers’ past 16 games, 17 of their past 19, and 18 of their past 22 have been decided by one goal.

 

Man, I drink too much, smoke too much and have a beer belly that makes me overweight. I don’t need this stress. For the love of all that is hockey, please, just blow someone out Rangers! I’ll let my fat ass sweat out a game 7, but just get us to a game 7!

I’m not ready to pump my chest out yet. We’re still losing 3 games to 2. We all know this is a Cup or Bust season. We all know all 5 of these games could’ve went either way. However, the Rangers are still alive and I just used the word “WE” in a douchey manner. For many of you reading this, you’re a diehard or you wouldn’t be reading this in the first place. Bring us back to the Garden. We will be waiting.

LET’S GO RANGERS

WE WANT THE CUP

Sean McCaffrey

BULLSMC@aol.com

@NYCTHEMIC on the twitter machine

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