The NHL released the stat today that no team has ever
rallied from back-to-back 0-2 starts in the playoffs.
Prior to Sunday’s game, my Dad and I were talking. Since the
Penguins seem like they are going to steamroll everyone in the East, the Bruins
are almost mercy killing the Rangers. He withheld punching me like I’m sure
most people with hold from punching the screen every week they read my posts.
He explained that as long as the Rangers have the best guy in the world between
the pipes, they have a chance. And as long as they have the best six guys in
front of him, they will be in every game.
Well, what happens when the defense breaks down? A 5-2 loss.
The first time Lundqvist has surrendered five goals in over 150 games.
Lundqvist did everything he could, but the Rangers defense literally hung him
out to dry. Ironically, on a day when everyone was focusing on the Rangers
power play, it was their blue line that handed this game to the Bruins (not
that the power play was good. It went 0-5 in this game alone. That’s pathetic
by anyone’s standards).
Last year Dan Girardi became a write-in candidate for the
All-Star game. He was the only undrafted player to do so and was really the
only true defenseman on the roster. I say that because everyone puts so much
focus on the Karlssons and Subbans of the world that we overlook how good and
important stay at home defensemen are. It does not make for an interesting
All-Star game, but he deserved to be recognized. He has been absolutely
terrible. Yesterday he was on ice for all 5 of the Boston goals. He was our
rock. He was supposed to be the blue line protector while his partner McDonough
was going out to aggressively shutdown the oppositions’ top players. Girardi is not just being pushed out of position,
he’s putting himself there. He’s trying to block shots that are not coming. He
is screening Lundqvist. He is doing all of the things we would expect from 22
year old John Moore. Moore, who has never played in the playoffs, is looking as
if he was on a team that went to the Conference finals last year. Girardi is
almost a liability on the ice.
But it is not just Girardi. The whole team’s defensive focus
has been completely lost. They have coughed up pucks. The defensemen are
pinching in on the wrong times and allowing numerous odd men rushes the other
way. Last year, the Rangers drew ire for their defensive play. They would block
shots, clog up the lanes, literally infuriate their opposition. Now they are
leakier than a sieve.
Never in a million years would this Bruins team be
characterized as “fast”. But they look like the 1980’s Oilers out there. The
Rangers need to remember what got them this far. They need to step up. Every
single player out there needs to show some jam and not give the Bruins an inch.
That is the only way the Rangers can make a historic run. If any team can do
it, this one can.
*Photo credit goes to
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