Sunday, April 29, 2007
Despite Evil Refs and Double Overtime The Rangers are Back!
Tomorrow there will be more on my trip to Toronto. Today there will be celebration, as the Rangers overcame exhaustion, referees who clearly favor cities closer to Canada, and the excellent goaltending of Ryan Miller to vanquish the Sabres 2-1 and bring the series to 2 games to 1. The Rangers are alive and well and living on Broadway (well, 7th Avenue, but its close down there).
If there is no winner after three periods in a playoff hockey game, the rules are much different than during the regular season. In the regular season, there is a one minute break, then a five minute, four on four, sudden death overtime, and finally a shootout. After about 25 minutes at the most, you are usually out of there. Playoff hockey is more like baseball. It may never end.
There is a 15 minute intermission between the third and fourth periods, and a full 20 minute period is scheduled. There are the usual 5 men plus a goalie for each team on the ice. The only difference is sudden death: the first team to score wins. If no one scores, the process is repeated until someone does. The longest game ever played had six overtime periods and had 176 1/2 minutes of game play. To put that in perspective, with only two overtime periods, we were all mentally and physically exhausted at the end of the game.
After a scoreless first period, the Rangers managed to score on an ugly goal by Jagr. They looked like they scored a second goal as well, but it was overruled by the television referees in Toronto. The Sabres tied it up in the third with a goal by Daniel Briere on one of Buffalo's nine power plays. Although the Rangers were clearly fouling, it is my opinion that the referees clearly deserved the shouts of "A&^H&#e" that they routinely were getting from the stands. By the second overtime period, all of the players looked exhausted. You got the feeling that someone would make a mistake: it was just a matter of time. The mistake was made by Miller and his defense: they allowed a 53 foot slapshot from Rozsival to get through, ending the game. Kudos must also go out to Lundqvist, the number one star of the game, for saving 38 of 39 shots on goal.
We await Tuesday!!!!
PS: I saw some guys who had "Section 314" t-shirts made. I am jealous!