Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dubinsky's Late Goal Gets Rangers Back Into Series Against Capitals

The New York Rangers returned to Madison Square Garden looking to stake a claim in the quarterfinal series with the Washington Capitals.  Down 0-2 in the series the team needed to hold serve at home this afternoon if they were going to have a viable chance to take the series.  They got just that when Brandon Dubinsky finally made a mark on the proceedings with the game winning goal.  The goal came with just 1:39 left in the game as Dubinsky made a series of moves to step out in front on the short side and the deflected puck got in behind Neuvirth to give the Rangers the win and life in the series. Dubinsky's fake as if he was going to continue around the net was the key to the play as it froze Hannan, Alzner and Ovechkin and allowed for Dubinsky to step out and have the puck ping-pong into the net.
After playing two subpar games to open the series Dubinsky made two huge plays to help lead his team to this crucial victory.  The Rangers got back to playing to their style and it paid off as all three goals were created from hard work and their resiliency was on full display as well.  The 3-2 victory in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against Washington gives the Rangers a level of hope at 2-1 that would not have existed down 3-0.  Now they will be looking to even the series on Wednesday night at MSG.
During the first period the team played their style and set the tone with physical play.  Sean Avery was the kind of spark the team needs him to be during the period and helped to key the offensive chances along with Boyle and Prust.  The problem, like the third period of Game 2, was that the Boyle, Prust, Avery line was the only one really generating any offense and the team still came out with no goals.  The Rangers had a two man advantage for 1:25 late in the period, but another passive power play failed to generate any really good chances with the time.
After another failed power play early in the second the Rangers got on the board first courtesy of a beautiful snipe from Erik Christensen with the man advantage.  The goal came 5:30 into the period and saw Christensen score from a seemingly impossible angle high to the short side.
The Rangers held the lead until Alex Ovehckin tied the score with just 59.2 seconds left in the period.  New York failed to clear the zone and in the scramble play that saw Ovechkin dive to get a call near the point and Staal take out Green in the slot, Arnott would flip a shot at the net which Ovechkin tipped in.
The air came out of MSG following the goal by Ovechkin, but there was hope momentarily when Ruslan Fedotenko appeared to score with 0.1 seconds on the clock to give the Rangers the lead back to end the second.  After review, the puck was ruled to have crossed after 0.00 on the clock, thus making it no goal and a 1-1 hockey game heading to the third.
New York took the lead again 8:01 into the third when Vinny Prospal put home an empty net rebound.  The goal was created by a cycle play from Gaborik, Prospal and Dubinsky that saw Dubinsky feed Staal with a cross ice pass to the point, Staal fired high on Neuvirth and led to the rebound for Prospal. 
For the third time in the series, second in the third period, the Rangers could not hold the lead they had gained on the Capitals.  Knuble was the one with the answer this time as he scored a power play goal with 5:12 remaining in regulation.  The play was a combination of brilliance from Washington and defensive breakdowns from the Rangers.  Dubinsky failed to get his stick in the passing lane allowing a cross ice pass from Ovechkin to Backstrom that had the defense scrambling and left Knuble wide open at the top of the crease.  Dan Girardi had a breakdown on the play as well when he over pursed Ovechkin beyond the faceoff dot and being that far out of the play was unable to get back to Knuble. 
  • This is the version of Dubinsky the Rangers need every game, especially in the absence of Callahan.
  • Brian Boyle consistently put himself in the right place to get chances, which is shown through his 9 shots on goal, but now he has to start finishing.