Game 2… time to right the ship and shut those Rangers fans up. Yesterday was pretty unbearable when it came to hearing the Rangers fan yapping at us all day long and verbally attacking players kids on Twitter. Congrats, you won game 1, be gracious about it, it’s only 1 game, not the series. There is plenty of hockey still to be played.
Peter Deboer, who is constantly being asked about shot blocking, mentioned during his press conference yesterday that shot blocking is not the story of the series. It’s hard to agree or disagree with that statement but we can’t allow it to be the story of the series. It was certainly the story of the night after Game 1 because the Rangers did so well blocking shots. Hopefully the coaches came up with a game plan and watched some Capitals tape on how to combat the constant shot blocking of the New York Rangers. It can be overcome. Shot blocking isn’t going to be the be all end all of winning hockey games.
Since I am on the subject of shot blocking, I’ll throw my 2 cents into the conversations going on. Listen to hockey broadcasts, radio programs and podcasts, everyone is talking about it. Yes, it makes the game boring, something I’m sure Ranger fans will never admit to. I mean did we admit to the Neutral Zone trap being boring? No, it won hockey games and that to us wasn’t boring. Same thing for Rangers fans but this talk about how to get it out of the game, not sure we should be going that far. The only problem I have with it is that it does make for a boring hockey game but if guys want to throw their bodies in front of slap shots, go ahead. That’s a lot to ask a player to do because injuries are certainly possible. I don’t think I could ever do it intentionally but then again, I’m not a professional hockey player. I do fear that someday real soon, a guy is going to take a slapper to the face which will certainly make this a hot ticket debate. In due time, teams will figure out how to get around the shot blockers.
As for the Devils getting around the blockers in this series, I am certainly missing a guy like Brian Rafalski right now. He had the ability to take a (get my Boston accent out) wicked wrister (or should that be wicket wrista??) from the blue line and have it find its way through or find a defection on its way to the net. Maybe someone on the Devils can find a way to channel Brian Rafalski? The Devils could do a better job faking shots, waiting for the blocker to slide out of the way before taking the shot, although the Rangers have layers of shot blockers. The one true method that worked for Washington was quickly and effectively moving the puck around the entire real estate of zone. Not to take anything away from Lundqvist, because he is a good goalie but if the defense in front of him didn’t block so many shots, would he be just as good as he appears now? Ilya Bryzgalov probably would have come away with a shutout the other night if he had that type of shot blocking in front of him.
We will need to get more out of every player on the ice tonight. The Devils didn’t do a great job with the execution of whatever game plan they had. One major sticking point for me the other night was that Parise and Kovalchuk both allowed Ryan Mcdonagh to break up two good scoring chances, which is something they never let happen against Philly. Zidlicky, Greene and Salvador, 3 players that were crucial in our wins over Florida and Philadelphia had horrible performances in Game 1. Fix it!! I expect the ice to be just as bad tonight and hopefully NJ does to.
No way is this series close to being over. The Devils will bounce back if they just keep doing the things they’ve done up to this point. Really throw the forecheck at them tonight. The Rangers have a bad habit of coughing up the puck in their end which will give us chances but they have to capitalize on them. Hopefully NJ does a better job at winning face-offs in the Rangers zone as well. The Rangers have played two tough series up to this point and fatigue is certainly being questioned at this point. If they aren’t tired now, let’s make them tired.
Get Game 2 and take this series back to NJ where the game plan changes a bit.
Changes that you may see tonight, which were hinted at in the morning skate are: Parise, Zajac and Kovalchuk being reunited as the Devils top line and Peter Harold being inserted into the lineup and rookie defenseman Adam Larsson getting the healthy scratch. I have no problem with the change to the top line but I don’t understand the constant need to sit Larsson
We in the US get the NBC feed who, don’t get me wrong, is far better than it was but in Canada, they get the CBC feed who puts time and effort into their pregame presentations. This was the video before game 1 the other night. I don’t know how often they do these for the conference finals, I know they do them before each game in the finals but everyone they do, I will post right here for the next game.