“Same Old Rangers”
If you have been one of the few people coming back to this site, you know by now that I’m a sick Rangers fan. Please keep that in mind while reading all of these posts. I will try and provide things that stand out to me in an unbiased fashion – try being the operative word.
1) Anton Stralman. Yes, I am going to start with him. He was an absolute monster last night and the Rangers need both him and Stu Bickel – DID YOU SEE THAT SAVE BY STU!?! – to continue to flourish as the playoffs continue. The playoffs are test of who wants it more and depth – the Rangers are ahead in both categories.
2) Brian Boyle. In 3 games, Boyle has managed to not only get under the skin of the Senators, but also under the skin of their fans – when’s the last a 3rd line player was booed every time he touched the puck? Every championship team has their “Brian Boyle” and I only see him getting better as these playoffs continue.
3) The King. Henrik Lundqvist has been the best player on the ice thus far (I’d argue he’s been the best player in the entire NHL) and definitely stole this one. Ottawa has proved that they really are a good team. They have Erik Karlsson – that dude is a beast and is ONLY 21!!! – and guys like Spezza and Alfredsson (when he isn’t hurt) that supply IO (Instant Offense). Unfortunately for them, they are shooting against the best goalie in hockey…Mike Richter is smiling somewhere.
4) John Tortorella. In all sports, there is an aspect of gamesmanship and Torts was at his finest yesterday. Throughout the day we were wondering what the Rangers were going to do to fill the void of Carl Hagelin. Torts wouldn’t say a word which meant Ottawa couldn’t prepare for what the Rangers were going to do. Then, during pregame warmups, the Rangers completely shuffled their lines. These clearly weren’t going to be the lines for the game, but Torts refused to show his hand. He announced, roughly 30 minutes prior to the game, that Scott would be playing. Right before the game, Scott was scratched and Kreider got the call. Lastly, the way he managed the game was absolutely brilliant. Making Kreider and Stepan interchangeable parts, the Rangers were able to keep the nucleus of their team together for this pivotal game 3.
This game was nail-bitter. I was sweating, cursing, telling my friends to shut up during the game – basically doing everything one should be doing while watching Rangers hockey. This Rangers team is proving to be the “same old Rangers”, but this time,that’s not a bad thing. Is it Wednesday yet?
My Three Stars:
1) Henrik Lundqvist
2) Brian Boyle
3) Anton Stralman