Ranger Recap 4/18/12 - Eastern Conference Quarter Finals
NYR-2 OTT-3 (OT)
I was thinking I would copy and paste the recap from the last Ottawa victory, but that would be cheating. It wouldn’t be inaccurate though. Again the Blueshirts got out to a lead. Again bad penalties killed their momentum. Again they couldn’t put their foes away. Again Ottawa proved it has a punchers chance to dethrone the conference’s top seed.
I’d love to finally have a chance to criticize Henrik Lundqvist, but again he gave his team every chance to win the game if they could just find one more goal. Props to Kyle Turris who made Anton Stralman his own personal screen and sniped a rocket between the defenseman’s legs that beat Lundqvist for the winner.
I can’t fault Lundqvist for the power play goal given up to Sergei Gonchar in the second period any more than I could fault him for the Milan Michalek breakaway goal that started the Senators comeback. I can blame John Mitchell though; his back check on the Michalek goal left something to be desired.
And so the story goes again, Ryan Callahan pots a big goal. Anton Stralman scores a goal giving us the secondary scoring that could put us over the top. No goals from Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards sealed our fate. Richards did chip in with 2 assists, but how far can this team go without its two most offensive talents combining for 2 goals and a minus 1 so far in the series?
Its tight games like last nights that should end on the stick of one of our stars. A 3-1 series lead would probably be too much for Ottawa to come back from. Instead, the teams head back to MSG to start a best of 3 series without a signal of who is in control. For 30 minutes a game it looks like the Rangers are going to stroll into the next round. For 30 minutes a game it looks like Ottawa will not be denied.
On a positive note it looks like the teams are shying away from the Federal League hockey we’ve been seeing throughout the playoffs. Last night’s game showed it could be mean and physical, but not outright dirty and shameful.
Craig Anderson has been stellar for Ottawa thus far, and the Blueshirts will really need to find a way to get some more pucks past the Senator net minder if they hope to make it to round 2. Four games into the series the MVP for each team has been pretty clear cut, Anderson for the Sens, Brian Boyle for the Rangers.
Who’s going to step up in game 5 on Saturday and try to steal the spotlight in the world’s most famous arena?
Hockey This Week
Follow Mike on Twitter @mikeferruzzi