You may have noticed that my hockey posts are much shorter than my political columns. This is true for three reasons. Firstly, this is hard. I will never again rip a sportswriter for being trite. Jesus, what the hell is left, but trite? Especially with this internet getting in the way. The real clever stuff gets written on Twitter before the shift is even over, let alone the game. Secondly, the tightwads at Business Insider won’t fly me to LA for the game and the Rangers need to save the good seats for Susan Lucci and don’t have a ticket for me either. (Not for nothing Dolan, but I did vote for your fuckin’ tax break. How about it?). Finally, the crack analytics guys here at Business Insider tell me that after the 200th word, readers zone out completely.
For all of these reasons, I have put my game five preview into that ultimate internet format — the listicle. Here are my top five thoughts heading into the game.
1) Dan Girardi Has The Yips
Girardi is a very good defenseman, but he has been an accident waiting to happen this series. Trouble seems to be following him. There was his game ending giveaway in game one and the inexplicable play last GAME that led to LA’s only goal where his stick broke in a place I have never seen a stick break. Amid all this bad luck, Girardi has just been throwing himself around the ice, sometimes to great effect. He has blocked shots, but too often he’s been whiffing.
2) Jonathan Quick Gives Up A Lot Of Rebounds
Many of Quick’s most miraculous saves have come off of pucks other goalies would have left in a more harmless place. Everyone has seen the amazing save on Zuccarello in game three. But Hank and most NHL goalies would have eaten up the chest high shot that Quick dropped. He reminds me of Tim Thomas in that way. Part of his problem with rebound control comes back to his beloved full splits. This leaves his blocking area square to the front rather than angled to a side a la Lundqvist. Quick also isn’t a great puck handler. Given these weaknesses, it seems like lobbing pucks on net and dump and chasing more might be in order for the Rangers.
3) The Kings Have More Staying Power
Call it experience or fitness or whatever, but the Kings have played some great third periods in this playoffs. They played a near perfect one in game three. On the other hand, the Rangers have a tendency they also showed in the regular seasons of playing a nice 40 minutes and then pulling up seats to watch Lundqvist bring it home.
4) Hank Was Great But The Rangers Stole Game Three.
Not one, but two pucks beat Lundqvist through the five hole and were pulled off the goal line. The one that Stepan saved could have easily been called a penalty shot for the Kings. Even without those acts of god, the inaction of the Ranger offence produced only one shot in the third period. You aren’t going to win like that very often.
5) Still, The Rangers Will Win Game Five
The other thing the numbers guys at Business Insider tell me and the real sports reporters must know, everybody loves a prediction. Here’s mine: 3-1 on an empty netter by Boyle.
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