Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post,
After the few Washington Capitals who skated yesterday at the team’s Arlington training complex came off the ice, they removed their sweaty pads to reveal red T-shirts that left little doubt about what they consider an acceptable outcome to this season. On the back is the silhouette of a man hoisting aloft a familiar oversized chalice, all stenciled underneath unambiguous words: “Our Goal Now.”
That would be the broad picture, because the group that will assemble tonight at Verizon Center believes a Stanley Cup championship is a realistic possibility, considering the youth and talent of the team’s core.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Game 4 was his worst night as a Ranger. Nothing comes close to it. Instead of getting into the Capitals’ heads, Avery allowed the NHL, the officiating and the unforgiving environment in which he works, to get into his. And look at what happened—he was a liability to the only people who will employ him.
Avery needs to breathe deep here. He needs to take a timeout and practice the meditation exercises he learned during his time away this winter. He needs to call a timeout on the anger that built inside of him and led to two reckless plays that nearly wrecked Wednesday’s Game 4 for his teammates.
Because if Avery can’t call a timeout on himself, John Tortorella will have to do it for him. There is, in fact, no excuse not to, for the head coach’s obligation isn’t to Avery, it’s to the Rangers.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Oh, you’ll hear all these critiques of the Caps again—too much perimeter play, not enough traffic in front of Lundqvist, blah, blah, blah. Stop it. Ovechkin was a monster Wednesday night, his highlight-reel goal in the third period the only dividend of what was another passionate performance. The guy had 11 shots on goal—that’s more than what the entire Rangers team mustered in the final 40 minutes, when it was outshot 30-10.
“When you outshoot a team 19-5 in a period in their own building and they come out of it with the one goal, you know the goalie at the other end is doing something right,” said Washington coach Bruce Boudreau.
Folks, don’t overanalyze this baby. The seventh-seeded Blueshirts are one victory away from upsetting the second-seeded Caps because of one man.
“Lundqvist did an unbelievable job,” an obviously frustrated Ovechkin told reporters.
One could conjecture whether Tortorella has out-coached Bruce Boudreau and the only conclusion, based on the three-games-to-one Ranger advantage, that the answer is affirmative….
Is it to soon to celebrate? Of course. But, unless Backstrom, Kozlov, Semin, et. al. quickly stop auditioning for Rip Van Winkle, the horns can be taken out of storage.
-Stan Fischler of Game On. More on the Rangers victory over the Capitals.
from Ryan Dixon of The Hockey News,
You know what they’re saying in Washington. The Capitals were down 3-1 to Philadelphia last year before storming back to force a Game 7, which they ultimately lost in overtime.
Now, facing the same series deficit versus the New York Rangers, the Caps most natural rallying cry is, “We did it before, this time let’s finish the job.”
That notion would be more than hyperbole if they weren’t trying to score goals on Henrik Lundqvist, which is just about the toughest NHL assignment east of Vancouver.
The good news for Washington is Alex Ovechkin looks poised for another late-series surge similar to the one he had last year against Philly.
more and some Canadiens talk too…
from Stan Fischler of Game On,
Was it an aberration or a hallucination?
Was what we saw on Monday night at the Garden an eccentricity or were we just seeing things? Or both?
No matter. A 20-year-old inexperienced, third-string goalie blanked the Blueshirts, four-zip, leaving Rangerville in a state of shock and wonderment – if not awe.
The wondering has everything to do with how to defeat Washington on Wednesday night at MSG. Now that The Maven’s Sweep hopes are history, sweep-minus-one remains possible; if not probable.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
“We need to get a big play at a key time,” said Tortorella. “I thought [Washington’s] top guys brought it up a notch, and that’s what our top guys are going to have to do.”
That means, as it has essentially all season, that Scott Gomez is going to have to be much crisper with his decision-making and execution on the rush. It means that Nikolai Zherdev, who had an encouraging opening 10 minutes of Game 3 before relapsing into ghost mode, is going to have to create and finish. It means that Nik Antropov is going to have to make an impact after a couple of dozy matches.
from Neil Best of Newsday,
Sam Rosen was sitting on a battered couch in a cluttered hallway deep inside Madison Square Garden last night, awaiting the start of yet another in a quarter-century-long parade of Rangers games.
If there had been a photographer around, it might have made a poignant portrait of an aging TV voice, preparing for the red light to go on so he could tell one more version of an old, tired story.
But then Rosen opened his mouth, and the facts that he is 61 and has been the Rangers’ voice for 25 years - the longest active term for a play-by-play man with a New York-area team - were beside the point.
from Ted Leonsis at Ted’s Take,
I thought we played the way we needed to play last night. While aggressive, we weren’t focused on hits for the sake of hitting. We were more focused on scoring and playing tight, frustrating defense. Our penalty kill was very effective and we buried our chances scoring 4 goals. We are a bigger and faster team and if we control the pace of play, we are difficult to shut down for long periods of time. I think our goaltender’s stats are now better than their goaltender’s stats too. Who would have thought that was possible?
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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