By Brian Monzo
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The Rangers found a way to avoid virtual elimination from the playoffs on Monday night by winning Game 3 of their quarterfinals matchup with the Washington Capitals. The game was intense and stressful to watch as a Rangers fan. They had leads, gave them up and found a way to win the game.
The Rangers did a lot of good things and struggled in other areas.
Here are three things I took from Monday night — good and bad:
1) Brian Boyle had his best game in a long time. He led the team with 29 shifts and played over 20 minutes. He had a goal and an assist (somehow, he finished -1) and won 67 percent of his face-offs. His penalty killing was solid and he has shown a knack now for playing well and having big playoffs moments. His series last year against the Senators was very good before his injury, and he has played well here against the Caps. Coach John Tortorella is a big believer in someone stepping up out of the blue in the playoffs, and perhaps Boyle is the guy on this team.
2) John Moore played over five minutes of power-play time. Moore was acquired in the trade that sent Marian Gaborik to the Blue Jackets, and most people probably had no idea who he was. Moore is a puck mover with a great shot. He is still gun-shy when it comes to physical play and can sometimes make a mistake when he thinks he is going to be hit. But you have to admire the fact that he is new to the NHL playoffs and is stepping up in a big spot and playing big minutes. In the end, he could be the best thing to come from the Gaborik trade.
3) This is sort of 3 and 3a. I think that Henrik Lundqvist is great. But I was really bothered that after the Rangers scored a third goal to take the lead in the third period, he couldn’t hold the lead. I understand the arguments that pucks get deflected and there are defensive breakdowns, but when a team struggles to score, and they finally get a few, you’d love to see the goalie shut the door. Lundqvist made some incredible saves, especially in the second period, but when the game was on the line a deflected shot got by him. It’s not his fault, but it never seems to fail. I said when I previewed this series that he would have to win a game — maybe even two (and he should have won Game 2) — but the Rangers’ offense miraculously won the game on Monday night.
3a revolves around Brad Richards. I don’t think he was/is as bad as people make him out to be. But I was bothered to see that he finished with a winning face-off percentage of just 27 percent. That has to be better. The Rangers never seem to win an important offensive zone face-off. That needs to improve.
Here are a few others things that I liked/disliked:
-I know that he had a great year, but I was cursing at Derek Stepan for another quiet game until he scored the game-winner late in the third. Hopefully that gets his confidence up to produce in the playoffs.
-Rick Nash looked lost on the ice during the first two periods, but he seemed to find some urgency in his game in the third. His importance offensively doesn’t need to be stressed by me.
-Arron Asham scored his 10th playoff goal on Monday night. I’d “Like” that if I were on Facebook.
-It’s been fun to watch Ryan Callahan and John Erskine battle in front of Braden Holtby. Callahan has done a nice job getting under the skin of certain Caps.
-Alex Ovechkin has one goal and one assist in the series.
-Mike Ribeiro is a good player. Very underrated.
-Shouldn’t Carl Hagelin play more on the power play?
-What was Michael Del Zotto doing before the Capitals’ second goal? He didn’t move the puck in the corner, which led to the turnover, which lead to Mike Green’s goal.
-With Darrell Powe going down, that opens the spot for Ryane Clowe, if he is healthy enough to return. I still think that Clowe would have a huge impact on this series. Clowe would create a lot of room on the ice with his work along the boards. I would love to see him play with Nash and Stepan.
That’s it for now. See you at Game 4.
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