The New York Rangers have 2-1 lead over the Ottawa Senators in their best of 7 series, but Ottawa is closer to evening things, all things considered. It may not sound logical, but then, consider these points.
Consider game 1: New York dictated the pace of the entire game and Ottawa was constantly playing catch up. They got very few decent chances and they were beaten down physically by the Rangers with some not so clean hits. Consider game 2: undisciplined, messy, unnecessary aggression and lots of gamesmanship. The Sens played better, they got a win, but they didn’t play to the level of New York in game 1.
Now consider game 3: both teams looked more evenly-matched, the pace was intense, the game was physical without being a banger with good clean hits, and there were good chances on both sides of the ice. Both goaltenders had incredible nights, with Lundqvist in top form, the kind that makes the league hate him, and Anderson showing great form himself, with some awesome saves. Both tenders got a little help from their teammates and scrums were all over the blue paint.
Ottawa seems to be adapting its game style to New York’s. They’re blocking more shots, opening up more space, doing a better job on their defense, but also pouring it on with their offense. All the signs are encouraging, and at any point, Ottawa could have won this game just as easily as New York. The redeeming feature of this game is not a win or a loss, although everyone wants wins; it’s the fact that Ottawa no longer looks like a number 8 seed playing a number 1 seed. They look a lot closer now.
The strong points of this game: the excellent play of Craig Anderson, who comes up big in key moments, Foligno, who continues to play smart and aggressively, and Karlsson, whose killer instinct in the third looked like he would skate through the entire Rangers team. He’s frustrated and he wants to do it all; and he just might at some point. The weak points of this game: Spezza allowing his emotions to get the best of him when he could have been the difference-maker and Boyle’s bad bounce goal off the back of the net which turned out to be the game winner.
It will generally be agreed that Ottawa deserved better in this game. New York probably feels the same way about game 2 after having seen the beatings in Madison Square Garden. Game 4 should be an edge of the seat thriller between two evenly matched rivals. Ottawa can’t get discouraged now; we have a series on our hands.
About the Author
Written by Mika Oehling
Office worker and sports nerd. Cannot play a professional sport to save my life, but love to write. Prone to rants, raves, snarky humour and caustic commentary. My team's the Ottawa Senators. Author of Armchair Hockey, a work of humourous fiction released this year and available for sale online at Chapters and Amazon.