by Patrick Hoffman on 05/10/12 at 12:08 AM ET
With their 2-1 loss to the Washington Capitals in Game 6 at the Verizon Center tonight, the New York Rangers now have to prepare themselves for their second straight series with a Game 7 on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
This should not come as a surprise given the way the Blueshirts played tonight. There was not enough urgency, some sloppy play in their own zone and overall, it did not look like a full team effort tonight.
It also did not help that the team was put behind the eighth ball just over a minute into the hockey game when Capitals’ captain Alex Ovechkin scored a power play goal. Just 1:13 into the tilt, Capitals’ hard-working forward Jason Chimera was taken down by Rangers’ defenseman Anton Stralman, which led to the Capitals’ power play and ultimately, the 1-0 lead.
Chimera was a factor on his team’s second goal as he picked up his fourth goal of the postseason. This is a player that plays hard all of the time, has terrific speed, and has shown that he has some offensive skill, something that the Rangers’ pluggers need to start showing like they did during the regular season.
The only player that seemed to show up tonight for the Blueshirts was goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist made 21 saves in a losing effort and did everything he could to give his team a chance to win a hockey game.
Once again, many Rangers’ shots were blocked by the Capitals. As I have said in my last few blogs, the Capitals are playing very Ranger-like right now and are getting it done with discipline, hard work, a good forecheck and a dedication to team defense.
In other word, the Blueshirts are playing against themselves. They need to get pucks around shot blockers, find different angles to get pucks on Capitals’ netminder Braden Holtby, who was solid tonight with 30 saves, to create better scoring/rebound opportunities and they also need to play with a lot more discipline as taking penalties both early and late in games has hurt them in this series.
While I am sure the panic button is now just a few inches from your fingers, just remember what the Blueshirts were able to do against the Ottawa Senators just two weeks ago in Game 7 at the Garden.
Game 7 it is, folks.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.