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Brief Rangers update

Down 2-0 with 2:13 to play in the second period, the Rangers have a full two-minute five-on-three power play and a chance to get back into the game—and the series.  They pass sloppily in the Devils’ zone and turn it over a few times, but manage a couple of legitimate scoring chances, on one of which Petr Sykora hits the post after Brodeur barely gets a piece of his one-timer from twenty feet out.  They were just that close to a 2-1 game.  Then, as the penalties expire, the Devils chip it out of the zone to a streaking John Madden, who, just out of the penalty box, comes in alone on Kevin Weekes with no one around him for maybe thirty feet.  He slows as he nears the net.  And why not?  He has all day and all of the night.  He dekes, tries to chip it past Weekes on the short side, but Weekes clamps down . . . and the puck trickles weakly behind him, to rest safely on the goal line with five seconds left in the period.

But wait!  Here comes Rangers defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh, hustling back on the play.  Somehow, Ozolinsh, in “covering” Madden, manages to work his own stick over Weekes’ left shoulder and directly onto the puck (still motionless on the goal line), then manages to poke the puck over the line and into the net.  Now, I’ve seen players put pucks in their own net before, but never quite so craftily as this.  I mean, this one took dexterity.  And what timing, too!

Madden actually had two shorthanded goals on the night, but for this second one, he owes the hapless Ozolinsh a nice pink Cadillac.

In other Eastern Conference news:  I think I recall saying, with regard to the Flyers-Sabres series, “I betcha Antero Nittymaki will see some action before we’re through, and not under happy circumstances, either.” Well, sign me up at ESPN.com, folks.  Robert Esche was magnificent in a losing effort in game one, but tonight he stopped half of the ten shots he faced.  In came Nittymaki, under very unhappy circumstances indeed, trailing 5-0 after just one period.  My prediction in the Canes-Canadiens series isn’t looking good, but my, tonight’s 6-5 2OT speedskating contest was fun to watch. 

Posted by on 04/24 at 10:25 PM
  1. It looked as though Madden was going to try to poke the puck over the line and Ozolinish needed only to take the body.

    Posted by  on  04/25  at  12:03 AM
  2. Yep.  Besides, when the puck is sitting precariously on the goal line, playing the body is definitely the right way to go.

    Posted by Michael  on  04/25  at  12:08 AM
  3. 6-5? 8-2? Is this hockey or basketball?  Kidding aside, in most sports I follow the DEfensive intensity ramps up in the playoffs.  I (obviously) know jack about hockey, but since you and Scott pen such eloquent missives on the sport, I have been following these playoffs.  I always thought hockey scores were supposed to sum to single digits; am I a fool, or just ignorant?

    Posted by  on  04/25  at  01:42 AM
  4. Yeah, that was something.

    Posted by Matt  on  04/25  at  02:28 AM
  5. Frankly I could have done without all the excitement from about 18:00 in the third forward through the overtimes, but it ended well, and that’s the important thing.  Normally if the Habs had lost you’d say “Well, they split the two away games, good job, let’s go to Montreal” but blowing a three goal lead and facing a new goalie (I would think the ‘Canes are not going to put Gerber back in net) would not have put the momentum on Montreal’s side at all.

    Posted by  on  04/25  at  08:59 AM
  6. This Flyers series is ugly.  I don’t have cable, so I decided to watch the highlights on Yahoo.  It’s actually a pretty cool service, and a nice way to catch up on missed games.  But next time, I think I’ll pass on the sight of eight goals, and two hat tricks, against my (adopted) hometown team.  Sheesh.

    I really thought they’d put up much more of a fight than this.

    Posted by Matt  on  04/25  at  12:36 PM
  7. My stomach hurts.

    Posted by  on  04/25  at  12:40 PM
  8. Good question, funkyb0ss. We haven’t seen playoff games with ten or eleven goals in ‘em for almost twenty years, you know, let alone two games in one night in which teams jump out to 3-0 leads only to fall behind 4-3 and then win in OT anyway (Colorado clearly took their cue from the Habs on this one).

    The reason is simple:  the league promised that it would continue to call penalties on little clutching- grabbing- hooking infractions, and the league is keeping its promise so far.  It used to be an unwritten rule that if a team was killing a penalty in the playoffs, they would have to sever a limb from one of the guys on the power play before a ref would call a second penalty and create a 5-on-3.  And power plays in OT would be awarded only if you could show that one player’s stick had pierced another player’s body and come out the other side.  This year, however, they’re actually enforcing the written rather than the unwritten rules of the game, and there are power plays aplenty:  three for the Canadiens in the first OT alone.  As a result, goal judges have plenty of lamplighting work to do, and 3-0 leads are no longer insurmountable.

    As a scoring forward, I hail our new penalty-calling, power-play-awarding overlords.

    Posted by  on  04/25  at  12:57 PM
  9. forget about the unhappy circumstances for nittymaki and the flyers, what got this thing ugly was campbell’s hit on umberger.  though it was a ‘suicide pass’ by dimitrakos, this is looking like a series-changing hit.

    with ozolinsh, you expect ‘o-ffence’ but not the kind where he puts it in his own net.  he better sit for a while.  he couldn’t play junior b right now. 

    where are the pre-olympic rangers?

    go habs go!

    Posted by  on  04/25  at  02:10 PM
  10. John Madden plays hockey? Isn’t he a tad, um, old for such strenuous activity?  And how does his bus get from game to game on time?

    Posted by Linkmeister  on  04/25  at  04:13 PM
  11. The crazy thing about Rangers-Devs Game 2 was that the Rangers outplayed the Devils for most of that game, especially during 5-on-5 play. They caught a lot of bad breaks, Brodeur was ridiculous, and I’m sure if Jagr was in the lineup, they would have scored on that 5-on-3. I’m not totally pessimistic going into Game 3. It looks like they should have Jags back, and maybe even Rucinsky too, who is a key player on that team whose absence has clearly hurt the team. Maybe Lundqvist can turn back the clock to February and the Rangers take two at home. Like Gramsci said, “pessmism of the intellect, optimism of the will.” I think the Rangers take Game 3.

    Posted by  on  04/25  at  05:51 PM
  12. And who can forget Gramsci’s game-changing Theory of the Power Play, which, in his prison notebooks, became formulated as the “war of position”?

    Chris, we need to take game three if there’s going to be any series at all.  Optimism of the intellect, desperation of the postseason.

    Posted by Michael  on  04/25  at  06:06 PM
  13. Your update on Rangers is nice. The Rangers outplayed the Devils for most of the game-this is one of the rocking thing about the game.Need to take game three if there is going to be any series at all. I think Rangers take Game 3. What say buddy?

    Posted by danny  on  04/26  at  02:40 AM
  14. Michael, I don’t imagine you are immune from embarrassment just because you are a die-hard Ranger fan.  And I’m not talking about embarrassment about the Rangers’ play in the first 2 games.  I mean all of the histrionics and carrying on so far.  Just how many games did the Rangers expect to take out of the first two in NJ. . . 6 or 7?  How is coming home down 2-0 a sky-is-falling moment?  Yet the craven Rangers press is wailing and moaning, setting fantastically low expectations for the Rangers.  You would think the Devils finished 60 or 70 points higher than the Rangers during the regular season, the way the press has been comparing the task ahead (in other contexts known as “holding serve") to that surmounted by the 1980 US Olympic Team. 

    But the absolute limit is comparing Jagr, with his little, I-got-a-shoulder-boo-boo-when-I-tried-to-slap-the-other-boy injury, and all the coy “I won’t dance, don’t ask me” stuff about if he’ll play tonight, in Game 3 of the first round of the playoffs, to WILLIS REED!  Sacrilege!

    Posted by  on  04/26  at  05:19 PM
  15. It’s true, Esoth, the New York sports press consists of a bunch of hysterics.  That said, the Rangers were indeed sluggish and undisciplined in game one, and unable to score on a long 5-on-3 in game two.  That’s why we’re worried about game three.  About Jagr and Willis Reed, I’m with you. Please.

    Posted by  on  04/26  at  06:17 PM
  16. I’ve officially crossed into “pessimism of the intellect, pessimism of the will” territory. I don’t like to admit it, but my beloved Blueshirts appear to be toast after tonight’s latest debacle.

    Posted by  on  04/26  at  10:31 PM
  17. We knew when the Ozolinish goal went in...Nah-I was rooting hard tonight and felt ok for a good 68 seconds..the air went out so fast..the pinching Ozolinish re-earns his horns."Meet the new Os,same as...” (Better team won)

    Posted by  on  04/26  at  10:58 PM
  18. Sorry about the Rangers tonight.  I wish I had been prescient about that series rather than the Avs/Stars…

    Posted by Scot Lemieux  on  04/27  at  12:36 AM
  19. I think that Sandis Ozolinsh has just become the most reviled Ranger in a long time. Tom Poti is officially off the hook. I would be really surprised if they re-sign him at this point.

    The Rangers need to do everything they possibly can to get Zdeno Chara this summer. They need a big, physical defenseman really badly. I would also love to see Wade Redden on Broadway, but I think Chara would be a spectacularly good fit.

    Posted by  on  04/27  at  08:57 AM
  20. Hmmmnn...that was an awesome information..thanks.

    Posted by Pankaj Jain  on  06/21  at  01:43 AM
  21. The Rangers need to do everything they possibly can to get Zdeno Chara this summer. They need a big, physical defenseman really badly. I would also love to see Wade Redden on Broadway, but I think Chara would be a spectacularly good fit.

    Posted by cosplay  on  08/12  at  02:32 AM
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