Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Rangers Even The Series 2-2 Against Buffalo in Semis

After getting screwed by the refs again and again throughout the game, it appears the Rangers got a break at the end of their 2-1 victory against the Sabres tonight. But more on that later. For now, I will savor this victory, the joy of the crowd at The Garden, and even how both Dancing Larry and Dancing Granny were called upon to get the crowd going tonight. Not that they neede much help.

In many ways the game tonight reminded me of a World Cup Soccer Match. There was very little scoring, but plenty of action. And you could almost feel the momentum going the Rangers way in the way they were dominating on offense. Ryan Miller, the Sabres goalie, as always, remained a stubborn obstacle. I am extremely impressed with his goaltending. Lundqvist was also acting as he were puck repellent. Shot after shot was either deflected or caught. The goaltending was so good that it was almost as if the game depended less on the players and more on which goalie would eventually play slightly less than perfectly.

In fact this is what happened. Miller gave up two power play goals, to Jagr and Shanahan. Other than this, he was a terrifying wall against which pucks just harmlessly dropped. This was in spite of an aggressive, puck pounding Ranger performance. Lundqvist performed beautifully. His only miss was against Ales Kotalik, 33 seconds after Shanahan scored the second goal for the Rangers.

I note that Lundqvist often seems to give up goals right when the announcers loudly proclaim the Ranger who scored the last goal. I always hope that the announcement occurs when the Rangers are on offense and cringe when the puck is in the Rangers zone. I do not know if there is anyway to statistically analyze this data, but I will look into it.

The big end to the game occured when Lundqvist stepped out of net with about 14 seconds left. This was a mistake, and he scrambled back as quickly as he could. At 13.4 seconds, Daniel Briere let off a shot. Lundqvist fell on it. The play was called a no goal initially and again on review by the officials in Toronto. However, it was the opinion of Boy #1 at home, and also of everyone contacted by cellphone by other people sitting in Section 314 that the thing looked like a goal. I haven't seen the highlight yet: I'm sure ESPN will play it ad nauseum but I don't care. The Rangers won, and I await game 5 on Friday in Buffalo and game six Sunday at the Garden.

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