This is going to be a series very much like the last one. Two teams that like to grind it out and have no interest in taking risks. The Rangers might be more reliant on counter-punching and scoring off turnovers than any team in the league. Right now, the Caps are playing pretty responsibly in that regard.
Wouldn't be surprised to see another bunch of low-scoring 1-goal games in this round.
After re-watching game 7 today, here's a couple of points:
- #52 is playing better and better. He made a couple of smart plays at the point, and was steady in our end;
- #55 made some bad mistakes yesterday. I don't know whether it was rust or nerves, or whether he has just sunk back to the mean after the initial uptick which followed his release from Hunter Healthy Scratch jail.
- #44 was steady, physical, smart with the puck. He seemed composed and effective, especially along the boards behind our net. I also liked the 120-foot slapshot on TT as a dump-in technique in 3rd. He put it right on net. Just seemed like a composed, confident play. Exact opposite of the tentative work of 55, who wad woefully out-of-sync with his partner on several occasions, and who gave puck away in our own zone just a few seconds before Noobs & Playoff Action Figure saved the day.
- 74 appears to have emerged from the regular season stinkfest. I hope he is allowed to 'activate' once in a while, as the broadcast teams all seem to say nowadays. (In the old days it was just 'joining the rush.') True, he let Seguin dive past him to pop in the rebound last night, but overall, there is much less stupid lately from Baby Dino, IMO.
- nice forehecking work yesterday by 26 and 90, among others. Beagle, too.
So freaking happy we are not playing PHI in next round. Not that NYR is gimme, not by a long shot. But I am happy to leave PHI for another day. They seem like the odds-on favorite to go all the way, at least for now. Their D corps and goalie may not be awe-inspiring, but team is stacked up front.
I didn't realize that both Knuble and Bryzgalov already have Cup rings. Granted, they were not key cogs in those past glories, but still. Just a random fact. And it does appear Noobs is gathering some momentum, with goal in game 5 and the primary assist on GWG in game 7. As usual, I had given up on the guy. I do each year.
Finally, I really want to see some Orlov, Halpy, and Perochocinco (if healthy) during this next series. I also want ovie to force the issue of his TOI by playing hard and with jump. Just like that shift after he scored tying goal in game 6. The one where he dinged one off the crossbar. He was a man possessed on that shift.
Should be an interesting series. I'll find it interesting to see this new style the Caps are playing under Hunter and see how it works for them in the playoffs.
And for those saying the Bruins have a better defense: We don't have a Chara, but we have more depth on the backend than they do. McDonagh is not the same guy as last season. He was our #1 while Staal was out and still could possibly be our #1 although Staal is playing his best right now.
Also, the goalie plays differently than Thomas. While the Caps played better than the Bruins in their series, I believe Thomas let in some softies along the way, especially the goal Brouwer scored in game 5. Lundqvist has been on his game against Ottawa and really carried the team to some wins until they realized it's the ****ing playoffs. Last two games were much better for them.
Also, Kreider is starting to get confident. I wouldn't be surprised to see him have a big series. Can't wait to watch Holtby. I know he played the last game vs the Rangers, but I want to get a really good look at him. He was very good vs Boston and we'll see what happens this series.
Here's to a good series and possibly 7 more games this season Thinking it'll go the distance with the Rangers on top of course
However, Bickel doesn't get many minutes, so you will probably see combinations of the other five. McD-Girardi is the first shutdown pairing, DZ-Staal usually gets time when defending a lead towards the end of periods or on the PK.
I see the Rangers as a less playoff orientated version of the Bruins. Not as gritty and big as the B's, and without a good bottom 6. Other than that, it's pretty much the same. Strong D, great goaltending and capable top six. Maybe Rangers play a little more open, with a few more 2-on-1 and 3-on-2 opportunities going both ways.
Since our D was able to completely shut down the Boston top six, and they're GOOD, I see no reason they won't take away the Rangers top forwards. Gaborik isn't really made for the playoffs, the biggest threat is Richards as I see it. He is one of the best players when it really matters in my opinion, Carlzner will really have to put it all out to shut him down.
And sure, Rangers have elite defenders, but I see none as good as Chara - Seidenberg. Once again Ovi will act as a decoy against their top pairing, and he will run them down. Won't be surprised to see some injuries to whoever will play him. Russian machine never breaks.
I like how most of you guys seem to think Rangers defense sucks. That's like our main strength... 3rd lowest GAA in the whole league during the regular season. Lundqvist nominated for Vezina and now in the playoffs he has got a great start. .945, 1 shutout.
McDonagh, Girardi, Staal (who's been back to his former self after the concussion the last few games now), Lundqvist, fore and backchecking etc.