Kukla's Korner Hockey
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?
from Dan Steinberg of D.C. Sports Bog at the Washington Post,
Last night was the first time I had been in Madison Square Garden for a professional sporting event. Some quick, cheap observations, became no playoff series has really started until you start picking on the opposing fan base….
They were profane. Look, there’s plenty of bad behavior in Verizon. Just yesterday someone forwarded me pictures of a Caps fan urinating outside the building on Saturday, in broad daylight. But I’ve been to dozens and dozens of games there, and the profanity last night was on a different level. TVMA would be putting it kindly.
There were dads cursing their brains out in front of little kids. Massive, rink wide “Bleep-hole” chants. Massive “These Refs Suck!” and “Bett-man Sucks!” chants. Repeated “Po-ti Sucks!” chants. Invitations for Poti to perform sexual acts. All variety of curse words directed at the officials. Homophobic slurs directed at people in Caps gear. I passed Bettman in the concourse; just as I noticed, so did a nearby Rangers fan. “I [bleeping] hate that guy!” the fan said to his buddy.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
“We stunk; it’s simple,” the head coach said after Simeon Varlamov blanked the Blueshirts 4-0 to bring the Caps within 2-1, with Game 4 set for tomorrow night at the Garden. “It was a good old-fashioned spanking where we need to take our medicine.”
It was medicine that tasted like acid going down the Rangers’ collective throats. While it’s true the Blueshirts did muster somewhat more of a down-low attack than they had in winning the opening two games of the series, their time of possession yielded nil.
Meanwhile, they broke down numerous times in their own end against the Caps’ skill players, notably Semin, who scored twice; Nicklas Backstrom, who might have been the most impressive player on the ice; Sergei Fedorov, who had a throwback game; and, of course, the unconquerable Alex Ovechkin, the hardest working man on the ice.
Rangers coach John Tortorella discusses the loss to the Capitals tonight.
“He is the guy who wants to win more than anybody, and sometimes he has the tendency of trying to do everything by himself. That’s just something that we have to talk to him and say, ‘Hey, Alex, you’ve got 19 other guys here to help you.’ His personality is to want to do everything so hard and so well and you can’t fault him for that. You just have to reel him in sometimes.”
-Washington coach Brude Boudreau on Alexander Ovechkin. More on the Caps/Rangers from the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs Blog at CBC.
via Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The New York Rangers had an interested observer sitting on the visitor’s bench as they took the ice for the pregame skate this morning.
Caps superstar Alex Ovechkin watched the Rangers practice before apparently being asked to leave by the home team.
The quote from Ovie on being asked to leave the bench during Rangers’ skate: “Because they’re afraid of me,” he said.
Rangers coach John Tortorella insisted after the skate he had no idea Ovechkin was there.
“Who? Oh, god, this is the first I’ve heard of it,” said Tortorella. “Ask me a question about the game, not that [expletive].”
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.
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