The best thing we can say about the ugly game we just witnessed is that it's over. Going back to New York down 2-0 in the series is not shocking or even completely unacceptable. What is shocking and unacceptable is how the Rangers, a few select players notwithstanding, completely failed to show up in an absolutely crucial game. The Bruins are a very good team, but the Rangers are right there with them. But for whatever reason they weren't today. The Bruins were superior in virtually every facet today. Their forechecking was better. Their defensemen were better than ours in all three zones. Their forwards were making more noise in the slot than ours were. Hell, though Lundqvist is far from the cause of this losing effort, there's a pretty good case to be made that Rask was the better goaltender tonight.
The good news is, as we learned against Washington, if you take care of business at home then you only need one win on the road. But being down 2-0 against the Capitals feels very different from this 2-0 deficit. The Capitals were an exploitable team and the Rangers seemed like a team that just needed a couple of adjustments and a few favorable bounces to turn the tide. This series is not a lost cause, but it's going to require a major shift in attitude to make anything of it. Let's review today's game.
Ryan Callahan, Ryan McDonagh, and Rick Nash: Here are the three guys who can go to sleep tonight knowing they did enough. Callahan stepped up like a captain is supposed to, causing a turnover in the defensive zone, battling to gain possession in the neutral zone, and then taking it for a breakaway that he put in to kill the Bruins' momentum they had just generated from the first goal of the game. After that goal, he was all over the place.He finished the night with a goal, three shots, and eight hits. Nash had another great game, abusing Zdeno Chara and drawing a penalty from a Rich Peverley high stick. He finally put one in the net - his first playoff goal as a Ranger - after beating Chara and battling past the swarm of Bruins who have been on him both games. McDonagh also had his second consecutive excellent game, with spot-on defensive play as well as four shots of his own. These are the three guys who can be proud of their effort today. Everyone else needs to step up.
Brad Richards: It's one thing to not live up to the paycheck. And, oh boy, has he not lived up to the paycheck this season. In nine playoff games so far he has a total of one point. A far cry from the team-leading 15 points he had last year in the playoffs.
But that simply isn't enough misery. A year removed from being one of the top point-getting centers in the NHL, he has been relegated to fourth-line duties for the playoffs and is playing against the Bruins' fourth-line, who burned him today. At the risk of over-simplicating defensive zone tactics, the center is often responsible for the man in the slot. And in this instance, Greg Campbell was, indeed, Richards' man. He left him in order to drift to nowhere in particular, and the result was Campbell putting the puck in the net with ease. It's bad enough that he isn't producing offensively. But what is completely unacceptable is that an NHL veteran with 900 regular season games to his name, a Stanley Cup, and a Conn Smythe is making bantam-level mistakes in a playoff game. AT THE VERY LEAST he should be dependable defensively, but right now Tortorella can't even trust him to do that much.
Dan Girardi: I like Dan Girardi. A lot. But, if it wasn't evident before then it should be now; he is heavily exposed if he is not paired with McDonagh or Staal. As physical as he is and as great at blocking shots as he is, he just can not be relied on to anchor a defensive pairing. While McDonagh has played like his normal self with Anton Stralman, Girardi has struggled away from McDonagh. He managed to be on the ice for all five Bruins goals today, and while not all were his fault, the one that buried the Rangers early in the third period most certainly was, as he was caught puck-watching while Marchand took the opportunity to get open above the crease for an easy tap-in. If Marc Staal is not coming back then the Rangers need Girardi to play smarter; he certainly can't play any harder.
Bruins Defensemen: Of the eight goals the Bruins have scored so far half have come from a Bruins defenseman. To some extent you have to give them credit; they are a talented group. That being said, the Rangers have done a miserable job of adjusting. On all of those goals the Boston point-men had all the time and space in the world to corral the puck, skate forwards, and prepare a shot. Coincidentally, the times the Rangers HAVE pressured the points turnovers resulted; Callahan and Nash scored their goals off of turnovers from the point. The less time and space you give them the fewer pucks that end up in your net. And the more opportunities you will have on the counter-attack. The silver lining is that this is a best-of-seven series and so the Rangers still have time to rectify their errors. This is one that has to be rectified immediately for Game Three and onwards.
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The team certainly made its share of mistakes, but overall I think they played better than they did in Game 1 despite the lopsided score.
The coincidental 4-on-4 in the 2 period should be used as an example of how the power play should work. They moved the puck quickly, controlled the offensive zone, and took a handful of shots, including a couple one-timers. How is it that they can play well at even strength but are absolutely atrocious when they have what should be an advantage?
Hank has let in a few soft goals in this series and needs to get his head back in the game. I wonder if his frustration with the rest of the team is starting to wear on him.
Richards is abysmal and should be watching the games from the suite. The last place he should be located is on the point on PPs.
Can someone explain Torts stubbornness in putting Girardi and MDZ out together? Even after that pair gave up 5 goals, he still had them out there...he has no problem basically benching Richards, but heaven's forbid Girardi or MDZ get benched! Eventually his style of coaching and refusal to see what is actually happening on the ice will cost the Rangers a series and him his job. We cannot match up with their 4th line, yet there is no in game adjustment - oh he did double shift Nash at 3-2 - his whole act has almost run its course at MSG. Shame because this team can and should beat this Bruins team...
I cant sit here and complain anymore about the rangers play so instead I'm going to complain about the NBC broadcast. Every game I feel like I am watching on a Bruins station. I mean WTF was that "DONT POKE THE BEAR" rant after Lucic scored. Not only did he not do anything special on the play (put in a rebound on an open net) but nobody has "poked" him either. To make it worse I have to watch a replay of every Bruins goal 25 times while I cant even get a replay of a beautiful Callahan breakaway.
Time to strip off "A" from Richards. Worthless, no use at all. I take no exccuses from a guy who can take 12 M $ a year but can't preform. Send him packing in offseason.
MCD missed 2 key scoring chances, that is the difference in this game. One pass he got from Nash right in front of Rask and another was a one timer point blank. Its that quick second to bury the puck and he just couldnt do it, similar to Hags with the breakaways vs caps. He is a great shutdown Dman but until he starts finsihing he will never be anything close to leetch. So many Dmen can play shutdown only few can do both. I dont ever see MCD doing both. Lets all get off his high horse.....
I would say embarrassing , as we all always say why make this easy on the fans---we all knew 7 games but really no signs of it going that far.
obviously disappointing result. Despite being down 3-2, I thoughts the Rangers were the better team through 2 periods. Though they didn't have a good 3rd period at all - maybe they were deflated after boston's 4th goal. I would say there are a few positive to take out of the game - the power play (after the first one) was MUCH better, and they got some good movement and chances, even though they didn't score. Nash played quite well, and finally scored, which hopefully will give him some confidence. Callahan played well mostly. Hagelin was fast, almost had a goal, but a good save. Negatives - well obviously losing the game and now have to win 4 of 5 against a very good team like Boston. Girardi had a terrible game, a rare site. Bad timing though. Del Zotto continues to look lost out there. Brassard has cooled a bit the first 2 games of the series compared to the first round. Richards lost. Zuch quiet.
It may sound like sugar coating, but if Girardi plays a bit better defense on a couple of the goals, again, the Rangers did not play terrible. The Bruins didn't dominate like the OT in game 1 - the game was pretty even again, aside from the total goals.
Our powerplay was called putrid on NBC, its a well known situation and the national broadcast kept the camera on Torts.So everyone now is looking at the coach for an answer.He doesn't have one.He shrugs.Maybe people should start asking Sather about his coach, and why his coach can't find a solution for the powerplay.
I have mixed emotions with this game. If we get the bounce and score or some of the bounces don't go there way, then we don't get "philosophical" and analyze everything. The biggest concern for me (besides the power play) is that our defenders, with the exception of McDonough, look very uncomfortable. Girardi had an absolute nightmare and i hope this is a one game deal. Marchand is flying by everyone as if they are cones. We can't keep their forwards from screening Henrik. or getting easy tap-ins.
The way we match-up in our own end we struggle. When we defend higher up the ice and forecheck we do a decent job....until the Bruins break pressure and we struggle against them in transition.
We have traditionally been a team that has to win low scoring games. With the match-ups that we have i feel we are going to need to win 4-3 type games, which I am not sure that we can do.....especially considering our power play.
Gonna be interesting to see if Torts adapts or sticks to his guns as far as his defense strategy-which the Bruins have completely picked apart.
I love the rangers, they have been my fav team since I was a child, but I am not feeling confident from seeing them play these two games. The power play is dreadful, defense was not sharp, even Lundquist didn't look as sharp as normal. I hope they cone back but just don't see it happening.. It's going to be bruins in 6. :( now lets just say they do make a comeback, how the hell will they keep up with the pens? Lol
I hope our team learns to adapt - which starts with the coach, or let me put it this way, if we don't we'll lose in 4 games. It still looks like we're playing the Caps (same strategies with only minor adjustments) and making their scouts look better than ours and now they are getting more confident and a disturbing trend is starting to show up. We gotta put the kebosh on that right now. Proper adjustments will minimize their physical play advantage. Not saying to abandon the system but they need to go uptempo, play much more aggressive at the points and neutral zone and counterpunch with speed. Make them play our way. Make skill matter. that's how we'll win. LGR
2 goals for about 70 minutes of power play time. We average more goals even strength. Let's just scrap the power play and play it as if we were even up. Can only get better.
The Rangers should do a lot of deadlifts and squats in the offseason because they look very WEAK against this Bruins team...constantly getting muscled off the puck EVERYWHERE ON THE ICE!!!...They also look like boys playing men against the Bruins...please Sather fire Torts so you can hire a coach that believes that speed, power and aggression win stanley cups...
Sorry, Zucc lovers...hes getting bounced around the ice by these massive Bruin forwards and defenseman like a pinball!...Hes in over his head(literally)...I like him but hes just to small for this tough Bruins team...shows you how narrow the depth of this team is....Lets go Rangers!
maybe i am being a quitter, but I kind of feel like the team has quit too, and just is ready to be taken out
Sadly I agree, from overtime of game 1 on, the Rangers were utterly dominated. The Bruins depth is wearing us down.
Let me say something to all u Richards haters. He has been awful no doubt about it & he deserves all the criticism he is getting. Even if the hate is a little over the top Here is the thing though U don't give up & bench a proven playoff performer. U do what Torts is doing. U limit his ice time & hope he works himself out of it. Maybe some of you guys are young & don''t know this but in 93 all the same things being said about Richards were being said about Messier. Now I am not suggesting Richards is Messier just that if we gave up on Messier after 93 then he wouldn't be the legend he is today. This is what they said about Messier then. He was old, finished, done etc etc. He got Nielson fired, was hurt, played awful down the stretch & was booed at the Garden when we missed the playoffs. There were no blogs back then but there newspapers & was talk radio & they wanted himout of NY. They said he was a cancer a coach killer, who does he think he is?. This is NY not Edmonton he can't win here blah blah blah.Then he came back in 94 & we all know what happened. Same thing BTW in 97. We can't pay him 6-m a year for leadership. Checketts famously said when it was pointed out what a leader he was & what he did for the organization Checketts said "how long to I have to pay for 94?" Well we all know what happened after Mess left. The organization went into a tailspin, Neil Smith & Checcketts got fired & the rest is history. Now again Richards is not messier but he is a proven winner & playoff perfiormer.Its ok to be critical of him but the hate for the guy is ridiculous.
@Jbianco HOLY crap I agree 100%---so f'in tired of Pierre ---he hates the Rangers and hates torts----nice Pierre your sitting between the benches because you sucked as a coach--dick.
@Jbianco i was totally confused by that as well. Probably just waiting for an excuse to use that line and seeing none, just made one up.
@fs2020: "Putrid" is too damned polite. Embarrassing is far more accurate, and it has been that way (percentages of success in this or recent prior seasons aside) for too long. Watch practically any other NHL team and you'll see them gain the zone and actually set up for shots., It's all about speed entering the zone, quick passes, movement by all five skaters, and getting off shots without hesitating. We have to sit there and watch the boys do NONE of the above time and time and time again!
Look, I really do like Tortorella, but the PP has bitten this team in the arse too many times at the worst possible moments. If the players cannot figure it out, then it's up to the coaches to do it. SOMEONE has to be held accountable for these never-ending failed manpower advantages that accomplish nothing more than take two minutes off the clock! (And when is the last time you remember them actually scoring on a 5 on 3? Now THAT'S really comical viewing.) Either hire a damned PP specialist coach to travel with them, bring Gretzky and Mess out of retirement, or can Sullivan and yes, maybe even Tortorella - a scapegoat is called for here. This repetition of doing it the same way time after time and expecting it succeed is indeed insanity on ice.
@fs2020 I agree. We have a hard time just gaining the zone and getting organized. I did notice we had some better screens in front of Rask (Callahan almost got a deflection). I just don't think we have anyone that is dangerous with a one-time shot. To me this is how most power play goals are generated. When you don't have this the defensive unit can cheat and pressure the puck more.
@NYRfanInNC : You single-out Girardi, and he deserves criticism, but the WORST d'man by far in both games has been Del Zotto. He has been an atrocity with respect to his coverage responsibilties, has been caught on two occasions pinching that led to Bruins tallies, has been useles on the point during PPs (who hasn't been?), and been noticeably lax in making physical contact when called for.
He was so bad on Sunday, that had I been behind the bench I would've stapled his butt to the pine for the third period. I know, he's still only 22, but he's a vet now and making rookie mistakes is unacceptable.
@jvr They are concerned with the Bruins speed so they back up. This leaves room for Bruin defensemen to join the attack.
@Betweentheworlds Agree BTWs...how can you play uptempo and aggressive with Torts collapse on the puck in your own zone mentality...everything your saying punctuates my point that you have to skate in this league to be successful...MAKE THEM PLAY OUR WAY....THE WRONG WAY
@jvr : So let me get this straight - a new coach will suddenly make waterbugs like Hagelin and Zuccarello play "bigger, stronger, and more aggressively"? We beat a Caps team of larger players too but they had a weak will - the Bruins are a confident bunch, and their play is an indication of just that.
Our guys?, nah, not so much. All the difference in the world.
Nonsense no one evere said Mess was done in 93! It was said his best days were behind him but on the right team at the right time he could still be a factor and he was. And please don't put Richards in the same sentence with Mess. Richards could'nt hold Mess's jock strap!
Maybe I wasn't around for Messier, but I was around for Gomez. And Drury. And Redden. And Roszival.
@NYRfanInNC @fs2020 I don't think they practice quick one timers.I see the practice videos but I just see the telegraphed slap shots we see on the actual powerplay. Rangers need to tic tac toe or have better transition passing to get through the zone.Same thing with quick passing and movement inside the Bruins zone
I think they have the players, they just aren't being coached effectively.
@NYRfanInNC @jvr: "Bruins' speed"? NYR, the Caps were quantum times faster and they blunted a majority of their rushes by controlling the neutral zone and forechecking - neither of which they've done much of in Games 1 and 2.
Boston is skating in molasses compared to Washington. "Speed" hasn't been an issue.
@jvr @Betweentheworlds They should only collapse when the puck is down low. Challenge up high. I agree with Torts' fundamental system and philosophies but things need to be tweaked when we face different opponents and Boston can beat us at our own game as they have players better suited to the system that we ourselves use. So adjust. Modify. Torts? Can you play chess??
Hey mugs either u can't read or didn't read what I wrote. I said TWICE I am not saying Richards is Messier. And don't tell me people didn't say Mess was done in 93 cause I was there & died a thousand deaths as a season I thought would finally end the drought ended out of the playoffs. U R obviously either too thickheaded to remember or are one of the many of the reactionaries who were saying it who are now pretending it didn't happen. From reading ur posts I would say ur both. Well it did happen. In fact here is a history lesson for U. It was the yr Leetch broke his ankle falling in the snow. The reactionaries like U went as far as to blame Mess for that. people like U believed a stupid rumour that Mess & Leetch were playing around wrestling in a bar & Leetch fell down a flight of stairs. It got that bad for Mess so don't tell me their was talk Mess was done & a cancer cause there was. He got booed & treated like shit. Now people like u want to pretend it didn't happen. Learn a little before u question me & my knowledge/memory, cause u will never win w-what u have now.
@Zelrio True & like I said he has been awful & may be done he may done like those guys. I am just saying u don't just give up on a guy. U support him & hope he works his way out of it. He is not a bad guy so the hate for the guy is just too much.
I know what happened. Really do even read what I wrote? I know what happened. I said it got so bad for him a rumour started. A RUMOUR!!!!! I knew the 94 team really well cause I ran several restraunts at the Garden in 94-95 & I was there every night including the after party when they won the Cup. Since uthink u know so much. Here's a question what bar did they hang out at in 94 then went to after they won?
Watching hockey since the 60's u need to watch a little closer cause u don't know much. Fuckin punk? That's right I am & I speak the truth U don't like it then don't come at me.... & don'twrite untrue stupid shit.
@ThrSage By the way that's not happened with Leetch boy! He came home drunk nad slipped on th eice outside his aartment. I know this becasue my brother worked for Jenifer Covertibles which was at the street level of his apartment buildng. Yeah nice fucking memory boy!
@ThrSage Dude you need to relx! Watch who you're calling thickhaded, you dont me and don't know. I've been watching Hockey sice the 60"s so I've seen it all. I've played and coached. Tone your comments down boy or are you a internet tough guy. Fucking punk!
Sorry if u thought my caustic response was for U. I wasn't referring to u I was referring to EH big apple. U write smart well thought out posts. The GAG line was just b4 my time. Though I am old enuff to remember the Rangers being criticized for trading Ratelle & Park. Then compounding by trading Middelton for Hodge. I guess we are 2-old fools cause we preach patience.
@ThrSage Buddy, I was watching during the days of the GAG line. Giacomin and Brad Park - that's when I fell in love with this team (and arguably why I'm becoming a frustrated old man lol)
I get ur point & yes I have managed quite large operations thank you. Though u r right about about a bad performer I don't think that's the case here. If u had been paying attention u would know he has provided leadership & is quite popular w-the team. If you understood what I was writing you wouldn't be throwing a phrase about hope at me which my employess have heard so much they think I invented. U don't give away a guy like Richards over a bad half year until u have to.
Really well thought out response. Its not often someone thinks thru their response most of the guys on here just post from pure emotion? Also Nice to see someone as old as me & who knows what Im talking about....lol. I think ur right but I am not sure anyone thought Richards was great. Just a very good player who had leadership qualities. Thanks for the compliment & I think the same could b said about ur quotes.
When someone making the $ that Richards is making......when someone is expected to provide the leadership that Richards is expected to provide and he is not doing either then what happens is he sucks the energy out of the team of performers. It doesn't matter whether it is hockey, business or the performing arts.
You get rid of him as soon as possible. If you tolerate his underperformance and allow him to continue then underperformance will then become a part of The Ranger culture. Richards has a "victim mentality." You don't win with victims. Stop feeling sorry for the guy! Let's go Rangers....lets play tough and let Richards center the fifth line!!
@ThrSage @Zelrio Thr - you're consistently one of the most knowledgeable and reasonable voices here and thank you for your posts. I wrote a fairly lengthy one on Richey yesterday in one of the comments. Amongst the things I mentioned is that despite a couple great seasons he's over rated, good player? Yes. I'll even give him "very good" and certainly the best free agent in the weakest market in a decade, but not great IMHO. so expectations of him were unreasonably high to begin with (and this is not just hindsight BTW), and there are other more plausible explanations to this years slump other than the conjecture that he's through. So no matter who NY wants his head I think the management is going to agree with me and give him one more year to either break through or buy-out. Messier on the other hand was not under rated at all. We knew exactly what we were getting. One of the 5 best of all time (easily) in my book and expectations of him were ridiculous, and rightfully so. From what I remember his slump of '03 was nothing like what Richey's going through now but Mess was "the Savior" and even the slightest decline in his play became glaring. the press (probably even more than the ffans) couldn't handle the fact that Mess was actually human. So Mess was a completely different animal than Richey but the comparisons were certainly thought provoking.