OK they lost. It was bound to happen eventually. Let’s just move on and see if they can rebound from such a terrible outing.
There are a few roster changes to note:
Stephen Valiquette will get the start tonight to give Henrik Lundqvist a break for tomorrow’s game in Detroit.
Lauri Korpikoski will be scratched with an arm or shoulder injury.
Nigel Dawes and Dan Fritsche will most likely be the wingers on the third line centered by Ryan Callahan.
This would be Ryan’s first game as a Center for the Rangers.
Patrick Rissmiller and Petr Prucha are the healthy scratches.
There will be no changes made to line of Naslund-Gomez-Drury. I think Renney is going to give them 1 or 2 more games before he breaks them up.
Look for fatigue to start playing a bigger role in games. This is the Rangers’ 5th game in 8 nights and is their 7th game of the season. The Maple Leafs are only playing their 4th game of the season and 3rd game in the same 8 days. Their last game was on Monday night against the St. Louis Blues. They lost 5-4 in the skills competition.
Ryan Hollweg will not play tonight as he is serving his second suspension this season.
This morning I woke to the comedy that is the ownership of the New York Islanders. Oh what fun it must be to be a fan of the Islanders. You never know what will happen next!
Anyway, it seems that the Rangers shipped Ryan Hollweg to the Maple Leafs in exchange for a bag of used pucks and a 5th round draft pick. Some might say that Hollweg’s fate was sealed when he got that boarding penalty during game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semi-finals against the Penguins. I just think that he reached the peak of his potential and Slats and Tom realized this. Plus he had the gift of taking inopportune penalties that cost the Rangers multiple games and all he could come up with was, “I was playing my game.”
The NHL handed down fines to each player, but the amount of each penalty was not disclosed.
I’m a little bit surprised that there were no suspensions. A butt-end to the face is very dangerous. Osgood is lucky he isn’t being suspended.
And what Ribeiro did to Osgood wasn’t all too different from what Chris Simon did to Ryan Hollweg last season, which got Simon a 25-game suspension. Don’t get me wrong, what Simon did was definitely worse. But really the only difference was that Simon was more malicious and hit Hollweg in the neck/face. Ribeiro hit Osgood in the chest. You’re telling me that Simon should get 25 games and Ribeiro should get ZERO?? That’s incredibly inconsistent.
In my opinion, it is completely unacceptable to 2-hand chop someone no matter where you hit them. There should be no place for that in hockey and Ribeiro is lucky he won’t miss any games.
As if coming back from 0-3 in the series wasn’t going to be hard enough, the Rangers are going to have to do with it without Sean Avery (lacerated spleen), Blair Betts (broken bone in face), and without a 100% Chris Drury (torso injury). Drury is probable but after watching him skate at half speed and not taking any faceoffs in the 3rd period of game 3, I have to think he’s playing hurt.
So, where does that leave the Rangers? Well, the situation is not very good. Betts and Drury are the team’s top penalty killers, and the Penguins power play was destroying the Rangers despite Betts and Drury’s best efforts. I would be surprised to see Drury on the penalty kill even if he does play tonight. Now, without their services, it will be up to Scott Gomez, Ryan Callahan, and possibly Brandon Dubinsky to really step up their penalty killing.
Who is going to fill the empty spots in the lineup? Hartford call-up Lauri Korpikoski is going to play center for the 4th line but it’s not clear who will play wing and it’s also not clear who will play on the 2nd line in place of Sean Avery. It will be some combination of Prucha, Orr, and Hollweg. Korpikoski, the 19th overall pick in the 2004 draft, will be making his NHL debut tonight. Hopefully he can make the most of his 2-3 shifts per period. I think Prucha makes the most sense to fill in on the 2nd line. On Defense, Jason Strudwick will play along side Paul Mara in place of Christian Backman.
At the risk of stating the obvious, the situation does not look very good. But, there is still some hope. The Rangers have lost 3 in a row, but the Pens haven’t exactly dominated the Rangers in this series. The Rangers let a 3-goal lead slip through their fingers in game 1, and in game 3 the Rangers dominated the flow of the game but couldn’t capitalize on scoring chances as effectively as the Penguins.
I have to admit I completely underestimated the Penguins before this series.I look back at my series preview and I can’t believe I gave the edge to the Rangers offense.I let the flashy shot totals from the regular season get to my head.What I didn’t take into account was which team was going to capitalize on their scoring chances.
These Penguins certainly know how to put the puck into the net, scoring on 5 out of 17 shots in this game.You can’t fault Lundqvist.His save percentage looks terrible on paper, but not one of those goals was his fault.He wasn’t spectacular, but he wasn’t bad either.
How did the Penguins score 5 goals?It’s as simple as this:The Penguins offense was faster than the Rangers defense with and without the puck.The Rangers defense was burned several times, and frequently coughed up the puck throughout the game.
In the 2nd period, the Rangers seemed to have stolen the momentum after tying the game at 3 and keeping possession deep in the Penguins zone for well over a minute and a half.Then, Ryan Hollweg took a braindead momentum killing boarding penalty. The Penguins power play, which was absolutely killer, capitalized to make it 4-3.The Pens only had 2 power play chances, but scored on both.(The Rangers went 0 for 5).
So where do the Rangers go from here?The series isn’t technically over, but really, it is.
I’d be surprised if the Rangers can even pull out a win in game 4.
Game notes: I’m not sure what happened to Drury, but he’s definitely hurt.After missing most of the 2nd period, he came back in the 3rd but wasn’t taking faceoffs.(Avery skated at center with Drury on the wing).Blair Betts might be seriously hurt after blocking a slapshot.Renney tried a number of different line combinations, but none of them seemed to work.I really don’t like seeing Brendan Shanahan on the 4th line.Gomez and Avery did not generate any scoring chances with Sjostrom on their line.If Renney was going to keep Shanny on the 4th line, why wouldn’t he dress Prucha instead of Hollweg??I just don’t get it.I’d really like to see someone, anyone, other than Hollweg after that braindead momentum killing boarding penalty.
This is an obvious statement, but the Rangers have to win this game tonight. If they get the series back to 2-1, they are still alive. 3-0 is a different story.
You won’t see me quote a basketball coach too often in a hockey blog, but Doc Rivers had a great quote last night after the Celtics lost game 4. He said, “I could hear them in the locker room, saying ‘hey, guys we’re going back home, it’s going to be okay.’I told them, ‘You have to go make it okay.’ We have to go make it okay.”
Since falling into the 0-2 hole, the Rangers have all been saying that they were still in this series because they were heading home to MSG. I just hope they remember that nothing magical happens when you take your home ice that suddenly makes you play better. The team is going to have to earn these wins. Playing at MSG with 18,000 fans at your back is going to help, but nothing is automatic.
A few game notes:
Remember that lineup shuffle from yesterday? Scratch that. Petr Prucha will be scratched in favor of Ryan Hollweg, which presumably means that Shanahan will skate in his usual spot with Gomez and Avery. Strudwick will also be scratched, which means the fans at MSG will see plenty of Christian Backman tonight. Renney said that Paul Mara will probably see some time on the power play unit, so we got that right.
Despite Therrien’s comments yesterday that suggest otherwise, the Rangers feel they have done very little this series to make it hard for Marc-Andre Fleury to see the puck. Renney’s reaction to hearing Therrien’s comments: “Really?” The Rangers beat up on Martin Brodeur in round 1 by putting bodies in front for screens and deflections. Look for a return to that form tonight at MSG.
Going into game 4 of the series the visiting team has won each game. In fact, visiting teams are 13-14 so far in the playoffs. Jaromir Jagr, while laughing, had this to say.
It’s been huge so far. I knew it was going to be like that. That’s why we lost the last game (of the season). Everybody thought we lost but it was pretty smart. Sometimes when you lose, you actually win.
Hopefully the Rangers can break the streak in their series tonight when they play Game 4 against the Devils at Madison Square Garden.
Tom Renney is gonna be going with the same lineup as Game 3. That means that Petr Prucha (poor Petr 😦 ), Jason Strudwick, Marek Malik and Colton Orr will be the scratches. I guess it makes sense to keep Petr out of the lineup since the series has been very rough and he’s a pretty small guy. I have a feeling that Orr might take Hollweg’s place once he’s skated some more.
Something to look for in tonight’s game:
Does Sean Avery set up shop in front of Martin Brodeur?
Which way is he facing?
Does he continue his goal streak?
Sean Avery has scored a goal in all 3 games so far.
Will anyone drop the gloves?
There’s been so much tension between the two teams yet there hasn’t been a fight yet.
Will VS be blacked out again in the Philadelphia area?
They showed PBR (bull riding) here at Drexel (which is in Philadelphia) on Sunday Night