As an athlete, there are certain teams you just feel more comfortable playing against. And for the Capitals Jason Chimera that team is the New York Rangers.
According to Stephen Whyno at the Washington Times, Chimera's game winner that somehow slipped past Henrik Lundqvist last night was his sixth goal in just 13 playoff games against the Rangers. He has just two goals in his other 24 playoffs games.
And it's not just the amount of goals Chimera has had against the Blueshirts, it's how crushing they've been. Besides the one last night, how could Rangers fans ever forget this one from the 2011 playoffs that Marian Gaborik and Henrik Lundqvist still have nightmares about...
Here's Chimera on his comfort level against the Rangers...
“Every time we seem to play them it’s a playoff series and it’s a big stage. It’s fun to play against a team like that. Regular season’s one thing but as playoffs come around you always want to be one of those players [who’s] relied upon to play good and help the team out.”
...Chimera is a big guy who plays a north/south game that is suited perfect for the playoffs. Unfortunately, during the previous three series against the Capitals the Rangers haven't had a big physical forward to offset a guy like Chimera. That's where hopefully Ryane Clowe can step in. If the Rangers can get him back in the next few games I think he can neutralize Chimera and Brouwer giving the Rangers a great opportunity to take this series.
That would be great for Rangers to focus on a third liner who scored 3 times this year, and have Clowe covering guys on two different lines. What a strategy!
Is it just me or should more people be talking about Erat's hit on Zuccarello in the second period? Those are the kind of dangerous hits that get players paralyzed. Erat clearly saw the numbers, continued, and sent Zucs flying headfirst into the boards. However, Zucs got up and only a two minute penalty is called. Of course, no further action. Who cares! Zuccarello is fine, right?
On the other hand, Eric Gryba makes a hard, clean hit in the open ice and gets a two game suspension because the result was less aesthetically pleasing. We don't want the fans seeing that, do we Gary? He should be punished because Lars Eller's teammate gave him a buddy pass through the middle of the zone.
If the NHL is serious about player safety, the benchmark for suspension shouldn't be if the guy is carried off on a stretcher. A hit like the one on Zucs last night could have much worse lasting effects than a hard open ice hit in the middle. Fortunately it did not, but it's just a matter of time before one of the league's stars is rolling around in a wheelchair because plays like that are ignored.
Puck luck is an interesting thing sometimes, and Chimera seems to have it against the Rangers. Last night's goal was a softy from the boards, he did literally nothing except have the puck land on his stick for the OT goal a few years ago. His goal in game 2 last year was a dribbler off a scramble in front when Hank left the net and was beaten to the puck.
Not that he hasn't been a major pain in the butt, but he's been quite fortunate in the goals department vs the Rangers for some reason.
During the pre-game interview last night, Ryan McD said we have to be aggressive on the forecheck and put the hits on their top men...guess what the Blueshirts forgot to do?!?!?
@JoeNYR Every once in a while I come up with one. lol