Thursday, April 21, 2011

Game 4 Stunner puts Rangers on brink

In what's been a hotly contested first round series against renewed Patrick nemesis Washington, the Rangers couldn't quite even it up despite a loud/chaotic atmosphere at MSG in response to Bruce Boudreau's comments that the "fans weren't loud enough and the bench/locker room not great."

If only I had more time. Unfortunately, this New Dorp Library is closing early due to some sorta maintenance issue. Just my luck. Anyway, onto the last three games that now has us in an unfriendly 3-1 hole our franchise has never climbed out of. The Caps did what they had to in Game Two shutting the Rangers out despite a strong first and third. Unfortunately, they couldn't beat Michal Hasek Neuvirth. So, they trailed 0-2 back to The Garden where our team responded with an emotional 3-2 win in Game Three. After blowing two leads, Brandon Dubinsky willed his way to the winner with under two minutes left with the puck going off two Caps including Alex Ovechkin. From there, they held on to get back in the series.

Then came last night. As excruciating a loss as I've ever seen. As usual, nobody scored in the first. Then, our team broke through thanks to a smart play by Artem Anisimov, who banked the puck in off a Cap for the lead. Chris Drury helped set it up. Our captain played a heck of a game. He's been money on faceoffs all series and also just missed ending it in the first overtime. Honestly, it never should've came to that point. Not when the best player on the ice, vet Ruslan Fedotenko set up two consecutive goals seven seconds apart to suddenly allow the Rangers to surge in front 3-zip to chants of, "Can You Hear Us," from a great MSG crowd. I can't say enough about Fedotenko who first set up ghost Marian Gaborik and then found Dubinsky for his second in two games.

It's hard to describe what happened next. We just backed off in the third and against a dangerous team like the Caps, you simply cannot do that. One mistake by Ryan McDonagh and Alex Semin pounced, steering a loose puck that looked frozen by Henrik Lundqvist. It easily could've been a whistle by Paul Devorski but I won't complain. We still had a two goal lead. Unfortunately, Marcus Johansson redirected a feed with Dubinsky failing to pick up the man. All it took was a John Carlson wide blast off Johansson to knot it.

Once in sudden death, I had zero confidence. We just don't have the skill to compete against them. How they lost will be replayed all summer by Gaborik if he's not gone. Jason Chimera steals what should've been an easy cover for Lundqvist in the second OT due to Gabby's folly. Incredible.

I have a feeling this series ain't over. I just feel we won't die without a fight. I'll explain why later.

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