Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rangers Blow Three Goal Lead, Lose To Senators 5-4 In Shootout

When Brad Richards scored 8:05 into the third period to give the New York Rangers a 4-1 lead many thought it was a safe two points in the standings for the team.  That assumption was a bad one as the Rangers absolutely collapsed in the second half of the third period giving up three goals in the final 10:42 of the game to send the game to overtime.  Milan Michalek netted the only goal in the shootout to complete the Senators comeback and the Rangers collapse.
The game was all about how bad penalties can absolutely swing a game.  The Rangers were awful in the first period and trailed 1-0 when Ottawa’s Zenon Konopka was assessed a major penalty for boarding was at 4:05 of the second period.  After the Rangers failed to tally even a single shot for the first two minutes of the major power play, Ryan Callahan and Brad Richards scored 1:20 seconds apart to completely flip the feel of the game.
Callahan’s goal came when he fired the puck from the faceoff circle after a Brad Richards shot attempt had been blocked by Ottawa.  Richards took a quick feed from Gaborik down load and beat Anderson to give the Rangers their first lead.  After the goal Richards showed the emotion of scoring his first at MSG for New York when he jumped into the boards.
The Rangers continued the momentum early in the third with Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards scoring to push the lead to 4-1.  The Rangers forecheck worked on the Gaborik goal leaving Stepan with the puck behind the net to find a streaking Gaborik in the slot for the goal. 
Richards second of the game came when he was paired with Wolski and Richards because Dubinsky and Callahan had just been out on the penalty kill.  Gaborik collected the puck down load and fed Richards for the shot over Anderson’s shoulder and it appeared the rout was on.
The Senators had other ideas as Jason Spezza scored only 1:13 after Richards looked to put the game away when as he deflected Filip Kuba’s shot beyond Lundqvist.  A 4-2 lead still felt safe until Wojtek Wolski took a foolish elbowing penalty to give the Senators the man advantage.  Jason Spezza would make them pay with a beautiful shot from the point to get the Senators within one. 
Milan Michalek tied the game as the Rangers defenders just watched him shoot, collect his own rebound and shoot again with just 2:50 left.
Richards and Gaborik were everything offensively that Rangers fans have been hoping for.  Richards however needs to stop being used in his own zone when you are trying to hold a lead.
Callahan and Dubinsky are getting back to playing more like themselves
Eminger needs to learn how to win a battle in front of the net or go sit in the press box.  Too often replays show him standing in the crease with a player of the opposing team while the puck goes in the net behind Lundqvist.