Joe Dyton

Posts Tagged ‘Braden Holtby’

Rangers-Capitals Game Five Recap: “Miracle on 33rd Street”

In Uncategorized on May 9, 2012 at 9:23 am

By Joe Dyton

I was ready.

I was ready to write the obituary for the Rangers’ 2012 season. With about six minutes or so left in Game Five Monday night, the Capitals were up, 2-1 and the Blueshirts couldn’t get anything going. I assumed the game was going to end, 2-1 or possibly, 3-1 on an empty-netter. I also figured Game Six would be nothing more than a formality. I know the Rangers took a 3-2 series deficit on the road in the first round, but the Caps are better than Ottawa and I figured they took care of business at their place. I shared this exchange via text message with my buddy Mike (a Caps fan) around the time I assumed the Rangers were toast:

Mike: “How are you feeling? I’m going crazy.”

Me: “I think the hourglass that is the Rangers’ season is just about out of sand. I am not sure they can pull off another Game Six and Seven back-to-back like they did last series.”

Mike: Caps haven’t won yet.

Could you blame me for thinking so negatively? The Garden was silent. The only line that was generating anything was the Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik-Carl Hagelin unit. All I could keep thinking was, “Who is going score?” The Rangers have some talented players, but no one who can just grab the puck and go score like the Capitals do. Even when the Rangers got that power play off of Joel Ward’s high stick, I didn’t get too excited because before that this as their power play for the night:

0-for-3, 0 shots on goal.

With a stat like that, I couldn’t get my hopes up even with Henrik Lundqvist pulled and the Rangers having a 6-on-4 man advantage.

Then, some way, somehow, the Rangers cashed in on their most important power play of the season. I don’t know what surprised me more; Richards tying the game with 6.6 seconds left, or the fact the Rangers scored on the power play. Either way, the Rangers had life.
Since Ward’s high stick drew blood, the Rangers got a four-minute power play and got to start OT up a man.

I thought it would be so great if the Rangers could just score on the PP and make it an early night. Then I thought it might be asking too much for them to score on both ends of a double minor.

Or was it?

Marc Staal and the Rangers PP proved me wrong again when he blistered that shot past a screened Braden Holtby. They got two power play goals in one game? I couldn’t believe it. Hopefully if they get any power plays in Game Six or (gulp), Game Seven the Rangers will employ the strategy they used for Staal’s goal. Get the puck to the points, forwards in front of Holtby and let it rip. Or at the very least, let the point-men wind up until the Caps’ forwards go down for the block attempt. Either way, I just know that the pass-pass-pass-perfect shot isn’t working and Holtby is stopping just about everything he can see.

A few other thoughts…

*I know the Rangers outshot the Caps, 38-18, but I felt like the Caps controlled the game after the Ranger-dominated first period. The Rangers had a lot of trouble generating quality scoring chances, while the Caps’ shot total wasn’t high, but the shots they did get were mostly high-quality.

*It’s scary to think how close the Caps came to winning this one. In the third period, they developed three great scoring changes on odd-man rushes and Nicklas Backstrom hit the crossbar after deking Lundqvist on a breakaway. It is game over (series over?) if he gets that puck an inch lower. Also, if Hagelin doesn’t bleed after he got hit by Ward’s stick, that’s perhaps a two-minute minor and OT starts at even-strength.

*The Rangers have to stop taking bad/lazy penalties. If the Caps had held on last night, the Rangers would have lost three games in this series on third period power play goals: Richard’s interference in Game Two, Hagelin’s slash in Game Four and Mike Rupp’s hook on Monday night. I’ll cut Rupp a little more slack because he was slowing down a scoring opportunity. Still, this series is too close and goals are too tough to come by to be taking needless penalties.

So, the Rangers have two cracks to win a trip to the Eastern Conference finals instead of one. I have a feeling that they might need both of the cracks. The Caps are going to come out even stronger than they did in Game Four; hopefully the Rangers will be more prepared for it this time.

Don’t be surprised if this goes seven.

Thanks for reading; until next time…

Joe Dyton is a marketing copywriter in Washington, DC and a freelance sports reporter for the Frederick News-Post in Frederick, MD. He is a former assistant editor for The Dealmakers real estate magazine in Hamilton, NJ and a former sports writer and copy editor for The Trentonian in Trenton, NJ. He can be reached at thedytonian@yahoo.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http://twitter.com/dyton99.

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Rangers-Capitals Game One Recap: “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”

In Uncategorized on April 29, 2012 at 2:37 pm

By Joe Dyton

So, was that a game between the Capitals and Rangers or a split squad New Jersey Devils scrimmage circa 1995?

There were 32 shots on goal for the game! That wasn’t the Caps or Rangers game total, the two teams combined to shoot (18 shots forWashington, 14 forNew York). I figured this game was going to be tight, but I figured each of teams would at least hit the 20-shot mark. Given that both teams went on power play four times (although one of the Rangers’ was for less than 30 seconds), those shot totals are ridiculously low.

During the game, I exchanged a few texts with Caps-fan friend Mike, and I said that after the first period there was zero room to skate out there. It was almost as if it was eight-on-eight. After the period ended with the shots advantage of 6-4 in favor of the Caps, I figured it was the result of both teams being a little tired from playing Game 7’s and also a bit tentative since it was the first game. Turned out that wasn’t the case as neither team didn’t record double-digit shots in the second or the third periods either.

As a Rangers fan, I’m happy they pulled out the win. I wasn’t sure what to expect since they played a grueling Game 7 against Ottawajust two days beforehand. I just hope that as the series goes on, the Blueshirts find a way to get more pucks towards Braden Holtby. I don’t think less than 20 shots going forward is going to do it. On the Caps’ side, Dale Hunter has gotten this offensive-minded team to buy into a more defensive approach, and it got them in the playoffs and past the defending Cup champs,Boston. If they can’t generate more offense in Game Two, I wonder how patient they will remain when they head back to DC for Games 3 and 4.

A few other thoughts…

* I felt one of the game’s biggest turning points early on came when the Caps didn’t score on their 5-on-3 power play. The Garden crowd had gotten a little quiet, and that kill reignited the fans. The Caps had an excellent opportunity to set the tone after a scoreless first period. Instead, the Rangers fed off the PK and took a 1-0 lead thanks to a crafty wrap-around by Artem Anisimov (pull him down and take the penalty there, Mike Green!) Although…

*Did anyone else see the Caps’ goal at the end of the second coming? I know I did. It was the perfect storm, the Rangers looked like they were headed to intermission with a 1-0 lead to protect, but couldn’t keep the puck in the Caps’ zone to close out the second. When the Caps came flying down the ice with less than 20 seconds to go, I just knew they were going to score there. Brooks Laich’s flip pass was brilliant, as was the concentration by Jason Chimera to knock it past Henrik Lundqvist without even having to really settle it down. As much as I wanted to kill the Rangers for giving up a goal so late, I think more credit has to go to the Caps for their clock awareness and execution.

I also don’t care what the NBC crew says, that wasn’t a “soft” goal given up by Lundqvist. Just because a shot goes through the goalies’ legs doesn’t mean it’s a soft goal allowed. Same goes for Brad Richards’ goal; it wasn’t soft; he put it past Holtby from point-blank range. Stop it, Mike Milbury, just stop it.

*Chris Kreider, the kid is all right. When the Rangers finally signed Kreider after he finished his season atBostonCollege, I thought it was nuts that people said he might join the Rangers in the playoffs. Huh? He just finished playing college hockey; his first NHL game was going to be in the Stanley Cup playoffs? I admit I dismissed the idea. Then Carl Hagelin was suspended during theOttawa series for three games, and the kid got the call. The Hagelin suspension sucked, but who knows if we would have seen Krieder without it? He scored the game-winner in Game 6 in the first round and did it again on Saturday, and had the primary assist on Richards’ insurance goal. I hope he’s wearing a blue shirt for a long, long time.

*I thought the refs were OK, but not great. They kept the game under control, which was good to see, and I had no problem with Mike Rupp’s goaltender interference call. He wasn’t pushed into Holtby. To me, the key missed call was the trip on Marcus’ Johansson’s pseudo-breakaway in the second. I agree that it wasn’t a goal, but he was tripped. I also got a kick out of the missed trip on Alex Ovechkin with about four minutes left in the game, and he yelled audibly, “Are you (effing) kidding me?” It’s too bad the microphones don’t pick up more of that stuff.

Overall, I thought it was a decent Game One. Obviously better for Rangers fans than the Caps’ faithful, but I have a feeling it will be awhile before this one is decided.

Final thoughts from my friend Mike from the Capitals perspective, “Two-minute breakdown, (crappy) PP and Mike Green (-2 on the day) lost that game.”

My final thoughts from the NYR perspective: I’m grateful for the win, but am concerned about the low shot total. The Caps probably deserved a better fate; they held the Rangers to 14 shots and lost, not to mention they hit the post three times. Even though the Rangers hold the edge, I feel winning Game Two is almost essential since the Caps are strong at home (last series not withstanding).

That’s all for now. Hope you enjoyed the game. Until Game Two…

Joe Dyton is a marketing copywriter in Washington, DC and a freelance sports reporter for the Frederick News-Post in Frederick, MD. He is a former assistant editor for The Dealmakers real estate magazine in Hamilton, NJ and a former sports writer and copy editor for The Trentonian in Trenton, NJ. He can be reached at thedytonian@yahoo.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http://twitter.com/dyton99.