Derek Stepan’s pair of game winners was the first time since 1997 (Adam Graves).
When the New York Rangers met up with the Washington Capital in 2009, the headlines were easy; League’s Elite Scorer vs. League’s Elite Goaltender. As it turned out, that’s exactly what happened in that first matchup. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist stole three of the first four game and Capitals winger Alexander Ovechkin produced goals before his teammates joined the party in Game 5 to down the Rangers in seven games. In 2011, the script was very much the same. The Rangers had to keep the Capitals offense down and the Caps had to break through the Rangers defense. The Caps won that series in 5, which featured a Double OT win in Game 4, but last year was different. The Capitals featured a more defensive style as neither team scored more than 3 goals/game in the series that the Rangers won in seven games. So far, this series appears to be MUCH different.
There was no scoring until Mike Green’s one-timer crossed the goal line.
There’s always that saying in life- usually when talking to a lonely person at the end of a bar slowly sipping a drink- when they talk about, “The one that got away.” Perhaps it was a moment when things were perfect, but just bad timing. Perhaps it was a bad situation made good, but ended in tragedy. Perhaps it was all just the dream where you awoke without what you wanted.
Last season, Brad Richards’ goal in the closing seconds of Game 5 was the most memorable moment.
“Deja Vu all over again” – Yogi Berra
For the 4th time in the last FIVE seasons, the New York Rangers will face the Washington Capitals. It’s been a broken record, but most of the key participants are the same through the years. In 2009, the Rangers fell to the Capitals in seven games. Two seasons later, the Capitals finished off the Rangers in a tight five game series with a dominating Game 5 victory. Last season, the Rangers overcame the spunky Caps to win a dramatic series in seven games- that were really more like 8 if you included the Triple OT Game 3. To say that these teams are familiar with each other is an understatement, but there are differences through the years as well.
In 2012, the New York Rangers became the only team since 1994 to face the #6,7 and 8 seeded teams. This season, they are more likely to join LA as the only team to face the #1, 2 and 3 seeds since the Rangers are currently ranked 8th. A win today will clinch a non-8th seed and a matchup against either the Washington Capitals, the Montreal Canadiens or the Boston Bruins. Now every team will say, “Doesn’t matter who we play,” but we’ll dissect that notion.
As the 2013 Winter Classic approaches, will any of these coaches make the impressions these did?
As HBO play’s it’s highly rated NFL Hard Knocks series, audiences get to see the great work by NFL head coaches (this year is 1st year Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins Joe Philbin). However, that’s the pre-season. In December, HBO will run it’s third installment of it’s 24/7 series for the NHL as the Road to the Winter Classic. This year will feature two new head coaches, Detroit‘s Mike Babcock and Toronto’s Randy Carlye. Both coaches once coached the Anaheim (Mighty) Ducks and are now going to be center stage of the NHL’s showcase regular season game in front of 100,000+ at Wolverine Stadium in Ann Arbour, Michigan. The question either coach will have to answer: will their charisma match those who came before them? Will the results be the same? Will they have success? Those are some of the factors that will shape this list.
Last season, the NHL didn’t fail to disappoint. It produced several games that won’t make this list- and will be very New York Rangers heavy- but Gary Bettman and NBC were incredibly happy with the NHL’s quality of games last year and generated excitement that carried into the post-season. Hopefully, Bettman isn’t stupid enough to lockout the NHLPA because then we won’t see great games like these.
Lets all take this time to take a deep breath and exhale the stress from the free agent frenzy this year. From Suter and Parise to Rick Nash, this off season has definitley been one to either enjoy or anguish you, depending on the team you bleed for.
For my Tampa Bay Lightning, yes MY, I have enjoyed this offseason thoroughly. We acquired goaltender, Anders Lindback, from the Nashville Predators, and top tier defensmen, Matt Carle and Sami Salo. While I know these players are assets to this team, the pickups left me thinking….what will they offer to this Tampa Bay Lightning Team.