2013-14 New York Rangers Breakup Day
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06-17-2014, 06:42 PM
Join Date: Aug 2012
I suppose it [short shifts] is an indicator of whether you think the lackluster 3rd periods were due to a conscious coached decision or an LA team picking up their game. And if you admit the Rangers shortened their shifts in the 3rd, then they consciously changed something and maybe it wasn't all just because LA was the better team. But it seems like there is a better way to get at both points (whether LA's dominance was because of LA or because of a coached change in strategy that left the door open to LA) and bickering about shift lengths is missing the forest for the trees. As usual, I think the answer is somewhere int he middle.
When the series ended I felt (and posted) that the Rangers' 3rd periods in the SCF were maddening - and that either the players lacked the killer instinct to close out winnable games or the coach was asking them to play the game the way they did, which left the door wide open for LA.
Here is my take after having had some time to reflect on the series and the playoffs, which may offer a different perspective or angle from which to argue your points:
Look at game 6 of the Montreal series. The 3rd period of that game, the Rangers put on a defensive and neutral zone clinic. Just played it absolutely masterfully (even if I ****in hated watching it and felt it was a moronic strategy). They clogged the neutral zone, forced turnovers or dump ins, got control of the puck, got it deep into the Canadiens zone, laid off of the forecheck unless they felt completely safe doing so, and then changed lines. Rinse, repeat. Over and over and over until the clock hit 0:00. Shifts were shorter. Rarely did they press their advantages, attack, or initiate a strong or consistent forecheck. If you can watch that 3rd period and not believe that the game they were playing was not a consciously coached change to the way they had played the game up to that point, then I don't know what to say (because I 100 % disagree, and guess we'll have to agree to disagree). But if you think they changed something about how they played there, then I'm not sure why you can believe they changed their playstyle for that 3rd period with the lead but not in the LA series.
Had they been losing that game, that 3rd period would have looked a LOT different in terms of how the Rangers played.
Now fast forward to the LA Kings series. The Rangers revert to the same type of game in the 3rd periods in which they had leads, but because LA is a better team than MTL, not one of the games looked like game 6 against MTL did in the 3rd. So on the one hand, yea you have to give credit to LA for that.
And I believe LA may well have been the better team in the SCF. But sorry, I refuse to believe that - despite their proficiency at executing comebacks - they were so much better than NYR that they were able to outplay the Rangers in the manner that they did in virtually every 3rd period just by virtue of being the better team and finding the extra gear they needed to tie it up. You're telling me that the Rangers were attacking as hard as they could in each of those 3rd periods and not changing their strategy to try to protect the lead? You're really telling me the Rangers were so bad that they just couldn't hang with LA for even a single 3rd period in which they had a lead? Not buyin' it. It was a coached strategy to sit on the lead, not take risks, reign in the forecheck, get the puck deep in LA's zone, and try to force the other team to go the length of the ice time and again in order to get any chances against. Just didn't work out that way. And, in my opinion, was a moronic strategy, which was just begging LA (or whoever they played) to get back into the game (which LA did; albeit twice with the help of god awful ref calls - but we don't need to go there).
LA deserves credit for being able to break through the Rangers' 3rd period defensive shell, unlike MTL in game 6. But I'm pretty convinced the way they played those 3rd periods was a coached system. And a pretty stupid one to stick with after he saw LA was able to poke as many holes in it as they did (though, of course, easy for me to say from my keyboard since I'm not making that decision; and I suppose it did get NYR to the SCF after all).
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