Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The New York Rangers did everything that they could to ruin Gary Bettman’s dream of a possible Crosby/Ovechkin match-up (That is now happening). Unfortunately for the Rangers, Sergei Federov ended the Rangers chances when he fired a high wrister from the off-wing past a dejected Henrik Lundqvist to give the Caps the first and last lead that they would need. The shot itself may or may not have been helped by a Wade Redden screen. But really, it’s a moot point now.
The Rangers could not muster any offense at all in the most crucial period of the year. 1 shot on goal in the 3rd period? That’s not what you would expect, but those are the numbers folks. Washington can thank their lucky stars and the NHL for escaping this Game 7 alive. The Rangers came out flying and controlled the 1st period with early scoring chances by Sean Avery and Nik Antropov. Antropov had a breakaway but I think he outthought himself a little bit, he should of shot the puck from what I saw. Anyhow, the line of Avery, Dubinsky, and Antropov was the best line the Rangers had all night and they finally got one by Varlamov. The Rangers goal was a result of Nik Antropov slamming home a rebound to give the Rangers the much needed 1-0 lead. Late in the 1st period, the Capitals evened the score on a fluke goal by Alexander Semin that went off of Girardi’s stick and Callahan’s shoulder to beat Lundqvist. Very lucky, you bet! Sometimes though it’s better to be lucky than good, in this case the Caps will definitely take it.
In the 2nd period I thought was a tale of 2 halves. The Caps seemed to dominate the first 10 minutes with Lundqvist making a highlight film save off of Viktor Kozlov who thought he had an empty netter. It definitely kept the Rangers in this game. The next 10 minutes of the 2nd period was owned by the Rangers. The Rangers controlled the puck in the Caps zone, but could never get a clean shot on Varlamov. I thought the Rangers had momentum heading into the 3rd, but that was not to be. It looked like they were waiting for the one single mistake by the Caps, unfortunately that never happened and the Rangers offense was stuck in neutral.
Folks, this sums up the season for the Rangers. The lack of offense was a problem all year and it surfaced even more throughout this tough 7 game series. With the New Jersey Devils choking away a 1 goal lead with a minute to go in the 3rd to the Carolina Hurricanes, I know one person who’s jumping for joy. Gary Bettman’s dream lies in the Ovechkin Vs. Crosby series coming up. The Rangers found out the hard way just how tough it was to beat the Capitals and the NHL at the same time. Anyone who disagrees with that knows nothing about hockey. So, Gary who gets to play the Sean Avery character now? Even better, which side will you guys be choosing? Just thought I’d ask. Over and out!
Oh, one last thing. Memo to Alex Ovechkin: Lundqvist may not be a Tretiak, but you're no Gretzky either.