Game in a (pair of) Sentence(s):
The New York Rangers were slow and methodical against the Washington Capitals in game one. The pace may have bored Braden Holtby to ineffectiveness as one of the top stories of round one was beaten three times on 14 shots to give New York a 1-0 series lead.
- Defensive hockey much? This was a game starved for a little back and forth and didn’t have much offense at all. What offense you did get was hardly anything to write home and tell you mother about.
- For the record, I love defensive hockey. I love the game you get from the Predators and Coyotes and teams that fit that mould. That being said, this wasn’t so much the good defensive hockey you see as it was the soul sucking type of defensive hockey. Mucking around at center ice and generating turnovers isn’t exactly getting me amped on much of anything.
- Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh vs. Alexander Ovechkin could be the match up that defines this series. Two very underrated defensemen against one of the world’s best. Could be a good showcase for both guys.
- Dale Hunter seemed apprehensive about leaving Ovechkin on the ice against the pair and it really disrupted the rhythm of his line changes. May I suggest what Don Cherry recommended to the Ottawa Senators when Alexei Yashin was being hounded by Shayne Corson night in and night out? Leave Ovechkin on for the full period. Let’s be honest, Ovie isn’t happy with his ice time and the Rangers will want to make sure they can fit Del Zotto and Staal in their rotation. If it becomes an issue, why not?
- I was generally unhappy with Washington’s game plan as they were still playing the grind it out style they employed in round one. I had no problem with their reluctance to run and gun in round one since I feel as though it would put them right into the teeth of the Bruins, but their distinct advantage over the Rangers is their high end skill players and their size. Push the pace, don’t sit back and counter-attack.
- Chris Kreider, welcome to the show. He looked right at home tonight and showed off the speed and strength which should make him a long term contributor for this Rangers team. Great performance to help his team get a win.
- Artem Anisimov scored for the Rangers which is a good sign, even if Ruslan Fedotenko did a lot of the leg work to get the goal. Anisimov was invisible for the entire first round and needs to be a contributor.
- Henrik Lundqvist was good but was bailed out by a ton of posts which, according to the rule book, do not count as shots on goal. The Caps were in good places to beat him and just couldn’t. Lundqvist need to be more aggressive and the Caps need to execute better.
- Braden Holtby showed some inexperience today as he lost the edge which made him dominant in the series against Boston. The lack of shots on goal really seemed to prevent him from being in that groove you like to see from a goaltender. We saw a few more veteran guys overcome this in round one and it’s something Holtby will pick up as he goes. He’ll need to be better in game two.
- We’ll see what adjustments are made in between games but I’m going to need a strong start from Washington to make me believe they’ll have a hope before getting back home where they should be stronger.
My Three Stars:
1) Chris Kreider
2) Ruslan Fedotenko
3) Dan Girardi