Friday, April 15, 2011

You Realize It Is Playoff Time Right?

Hi just a gentle reminder that the New York Rangers are in the playoffs and in the playoffs things are a tad different than they would be during the regular season.

Having a hard time wondering what the big deal is that Marc Staal and Dan Girardi averaged 33 minutes TOI (Time on Ice)? Yes I know Staal had the turnover that led to the game winning goal but sorry I am not going to blame Staal for the loss as it was a team loss.

For a top pair defense in a game that just about went into a 2nd overtime then 33 minutes sounds about right for them to have. They are the pair that has to go up against the other guy's top line, play on the power play and the penalty kill.

When you break down Staal's 33:48 then you see it does work: Even- 27:55, PP-3:25, PK-2:28 especially when you look at the other pairs. Sauer/McDonagh TOI 27, Gilroy/McCabe TOI 18.
The Rangers played 78:24 in game one so of course Staal's ice time is going to be up as were the 2nd pair.

Maybe if you looked at how many shifts that they played you will see that Tortorella tried to get his top pairing as much rest as he could. Staal- 37, Girardi- 38, Sauer- 35, McDonagh-36. Let's be serious here as there is no way any coach is going to send out Gilroy and McCabe out on the penalty kill especially when there is a Alex Oveckhin out there.

If you want to know who really to blame for this loss then point the finger at the Ranger forwards especially Dubinsky and Anisimov because they were under 500 on face offs. The Ranger forwards had so much trouble getting the puck out of the defensive zone that most of the time Staal and Girardi were trapped and never saw the offensive zone.

It would be nice if they kept a stat for the number of icings a team gives up especially like the Rangers who were constantly trapped in their own defensive zone. Want to know what Staal and Girardi had so much ice time then wonder how many times they were caught because of an icing?

I am going to guess that no less than 5 times were Staal and Girardi were caught because their number one job was to go against the Ovechkin line and every time the Ranger's iced the pick, Washington took the Ovechkin line off to force Staal and Girardi to be stuck out there.

Give the Caps credit as they milked their last line change advantage perfectly forcing Tortorella to double shifts because the Caps would send Oveckhin out there when they saw Staal and Girardi coming off the ice.

Oh and for those of you who do not think Chris Drury should be in the lineup; Drury was 6-2 on face offs and if you want to be critical of John Tortorella then ask why when Dubinsky (7-13) was still taking faceoffs why he did not switch to Drury.

Do like most playoff teams. get the best face off guy out there for as many defensive zone face offs and as soon as the puck is up ice swap him off. There was no excuse not to when in the 1st and 3rd periods when the Ranger bench just about ended in their defensive zone.

You want to point fingers then talk to the forwards who just could not figure out how to get past the Capital fore check. Wish I had a taser so I could have shocked any forward who tried to go cross ice with a pass.

The Rangers in the neutral zone were try to cross center ice, try a pass from one side board to the other, then scratch head wondering why the Caps were about to intercept it.

You want to point fingers then aim one at Brian Boyle who gets 2:09 in PP time and has 2 shots for the entire game. Sorry but it appears the Boyle goal machine is out of ammo and needs replaced. Point a finger at a coach who has not realized that whatever chemistry that Gaborik and Christensen had is long long gone.

If you want to get Gaborik going then get someone who is going to tie up the slot creating skating room for him. Why not try Avery and Stepan with Gaborik as you have a pest to attract attention then a playmaker who knows how to put the puck where Gaborik wants it.

Seriously as much as we dislike Avery, not dressing him for Zuccarrello (7:34) was a poor decision. The Rangers need Avery against the Caps more than Zuccarrello as they need someone to pester the Caps even if it costs a power play or two.

We can stop wishing for Callahan to make a miracle recovery it is not going to happen but since Coach Tortorella is not going to use 4 lines then move Gilroy to the 7th defenseman/spare forward role and get Eminger back in the lineup. It is the playoffs coach, scratching Eminger was a bad idea especially when you have hardly any confidence in Gilroy.

Still a 2-1 overtime loss was not the end of the world especially on the road and the Rangers have nothing to lose by going for it. The pressure is on the Caps not to repeat getting bounced in the first round.

Steal Game 2 and watch the heat go up on the Capitals.

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