Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Boyle and Boogaard Can't Scare Up Two Points In Rangers 5-3 Loss to Capitals.

Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

Not even a combined three goals from the giants that are Brian Boyle and Derek Boogaard could get the Rangers a much needed home ice victory as they fell 5-3 to the Capitals and maybe more importantly to a pitiful 2-5-1 on home ice on the young season.  The positive story of the night that will get lost was the two goals adding to his new career high of 7 for Brian Boyle as it will be overshadowed by enforcer Derek Boogaard netting his first goal since 2006 ending a 234 game drought that was seen as likely to break Ken Danyeko's record for most consecutive games without a goal. The effort was much better tonight and the Rangers had multiple leads but could not stop the high powered Capitals attack enough on the evening and they are not talented enough even at full strength to just trade chances with the club on the side of the ice tonight.  For the most part they did a pretty good job of containing Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom and Green, but it was the supporting cast showing why the Capitals are again considered a contender as they picked up the goal scoring slack and the team still came away with 5 with none of the stars scoring a goal.  Ranger fans will no doubt spend the next two days perched on the ledge, praying for the return of their superstar forward, but don't expect him to ride and save the day until at least Sunday and remember as bad as it looks the team is still 7-7-1 after 15 games.  Of more concern is the home record and the fact that the Rangers are now 1-7-1 when tied or trailing heading into the 3rd period.

Full details of the game inside.

Rangers looking to work on their home ice game didn’t exactly start the way one would like giving up a breakaway to Backstrom in the opening minutes, but he hit the post.  That was just the beginning of what would be an action packed first period in this one.  A few minutes later Dan Girardi made a great play at the point to keep the puck in as he came off the bench shot his wrister toward the net and Brian “Bigfoot” Boyle nets the game’s first goal at 4:02.  A minute after the Boyle goal it was Lundqvist standing on his head to keep the lead as he stoned Mike Knuble on three separate glorious chances mostly created by the play of Alex Ovechkin.  Right after this sequence came a beginning of the chippy play as Dubinsky and Green dropped the gloves in an extremely ugly and awkward fight that I would have to give to Green if I was forced to score it. 

Boyle kept his night going in a different fashion a few moments later as Jason Chimera was determined to fight MDZ, MDZ wanted no part of it and Boyle came over to take the action, but there was no fight just coincidental roughing calls.  Christensen gets called for tripping right after the Boyle-Chimera situation and on the 4 on 3 that followed Brooks Laich deflected the puck thru Lundqvist for a 1-1 game 8:52 in.  Something went on at the Rangers bench, probably disgust over the penalty call that lead to the call, but it lead to a bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct, but the Rangers killed it and at the very end get a power play of their own as the Capitals had too many men on the ice.  The Rangers would get 1:40 of 5 on 3 PP time after Green took down Callahan and Neuvirth showed his best form with three gloves stops on Dubinsky and Girardi.  As the penalty is about to run out the Rangers lose the draw but Alzner pulls his best Del Zotto impression handing the puck to Boyle in front and he beats Neuvirth for his 2nd of the game, 7th of year making it 2-1.

Later in the period the chippiness continued as after a Hendricks knee on knee hit with Eminger, Sauer took exception and stuck up for his defense partner.  Hendricks got a minor and Sauer got two, but the Rangers would kill the penalty and Lundqvist would make a few more key saves to end the period up 2-1.

The 2nd period was just where whacky came to play as things you wouldn’t believe if someone swore they happened actually did happen.  Early in the 2nd off a faceoff John Erskine is allowed to walk in from the point to just above the faceoff circle and blast a shot over Lundqvist stick side shoulder at 1:34.  It was the only the second goal for Erskine in the last 167 games he has played.  Lundqvist was not screened on the shot and just seemed to expect a low shot going down way too early and being beat high.  If that wasn’t weird enough what would come 41seconds later was Derek Boogaard, he of the 0 goals in 234 straight games, comes down the left side wide open and blasted a slapper by Neuvirth to give the Rangers the lead back at 3-2.  For many the game ended right at that moment, too bad there was still 36:45 left in the game.

The Rangers would get a penalty when Gordon went off for taking down Christensen, but it would be negated shortly after when Girardi was called for boarding Girardi.  Just after 9 minutes into the period Alex Ovechkin took the puck in the neutral zone went around Avery and then drove wide around Staal sliding the puck toward the crease only to have it go off the knob of Lundqvist’s goal stick right to the slot where Knuble hit the empty net tying it at 3-3.  A minute later it appeared momentarily that the Rangers had answered once again when Fedotenko drove around Alzner and the puck went in, but the goal was disallowed claiming incidental contact with the goaltender even though Alzner clearly checked Fedotenko into the goalie.  It will come down to the 3rd as the Rangers played a better second evening up shots and winning more faceoffs, but Henrik will have to be more like period one to win in the third.

Early in the third Stepan made a beautiful move in the neutral zone leading to a chance for Fedotenko and an attempt by Stepan at a rebound but nothing results.  Neuvirth looking stronger in the 3rd then he has the rest of the night as he stops Boyle and putting up with the early pressure of the Rangers in the period.  The Rangers between MDZ, Rozsival and Stepan as the two D play patty-cake and finally lose it behind the net and Stepan had no clue where the guy in the slot was as Hendricks puts it away for a 4-3 lead at 7:53 of the final period.
Two minutes after going down Rozsival sends a beautiful pass to Fedotenko and he breaks in all alone and shoots…high over the net.  The Rangers would get a few more chances none better than Dubi almost getting one but unfortunately for the Rangers it bounced off the top of the net and was not meant to be.  Once again with the goalie pulled the Rangers prove they don’t know how to run that offense as they dump the puck with no one in the zone leading to easy clears for the Capitals and eventually an empty netter for Brooks Laich to seal a 5-3 Capitals win.

Next game Thursday vs Buffalo.
  • Brian Boyle is lining himself up for a very nice payday
  • Stepan was much better tonight than he has been in a while
  • Frolov and Fedotenko are so snake bitten it has gotten beyond comical to sad
  • Loved Sauer sticking up for Eminger though as pointed out by Jim over at BlueShirt Banter wish someone did it for Henrik