2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs Blog - Conference Quarter-finals
The Washington Capitals are still alive. The circus around the New York Rangers is growing.
It was a wild night at Verizon Center.
Rangers coach John Tortorella got into an altercation with a fan sitting behind the team’s bench in the third period. Tortorella threw a water bottle into the seats and grabbed one of his player’s sticks during the melee.
At some point during the incident, there was liquid spilled on the coach, and he had to wipe it off his suit jacket with a towel.
“Ask me a question about the game,” Tortorella said. “That has nothing to do with the game.”
When pressed on the matter, Tortorella responded, “ask me a question about the game, please,” and Rangers vice president of public relations John Rosasco said, “another one on that and we’re done, OK?”
“I’m not sure. When I looked over, Torts was turned and facing the crowd and might’ve got sprayed or something from a fan,” Rangers defenceman Marc Staal said. “But I’m not completely sure, I haven’t really talked to anybody about it yet.”
After two games of crossing the line with his antics, Sean Avery took a seat in Game 5. He was a healthy scratch, and it appeared the Rangers missed his energy.
“No, I’m not gonna explain it in this forum,” Tortorella said. “It’s my decision, and that’s what it was.”
Avery, who hasn’t talked to reporters during the playoffs, walked out of the locker room and past reporters without commenting on his removal.
“King Henrik” was not so regal in Game 5. After four games in which he flummoxed the Washington Capitals with his stout play, Henrik Lundqvist yielded four goals in 14 shots and was pulled after two periods.
“I know I have to play better in order to win the series,” Lundqvist said. “A lot of times it starts with me. It’s tough when we get a start like that in the first period.”
Stephen Valiquette became only the third backup goalie to play in these NHL playoffs, joining Washington’s Simeon Varlamov and Montreal’s Jaroslav Halak.
“We were down 4-0; we were going nowhere,” Tortorella said. “Why keep Hank in there? [Valiquette] did a good job.”
Added Boudreau: “Every great goalie every now and then makes a mistake. The thing that worried me about that was when I saw [the second goal] go in, I said, ‘Oh, he’s gonna be great the next game,’ because usually they bounce right back and are great. I anticipate him being great on Sunday.”
Ovechkin adds to highlight reel
Alex Ovechkin has a deep library of highlight-reel goals, and he added another in this one. Ovechkin had the goal of this series late in the middle period. He carried the puck into the zone and brushed off an attempted hit by Rangers captain Chris Drury before slipping the puck through Derek Morris’ legs.
He lost control of it for a second, but kicked the puck back to his stick and backhanded a shot past Lundqvist just as Aaron Voros was falling on top of him with 29 seconds left.
“It was just lucky bounce I think,” Ovechkin said. “I hit Morris and it goes to my skates. I have balance but it was no good and I just fell. … My backhand is terrible.”
Varlamov keeps rolling
If Lundqvist was the hottest goaltender in these NHL playoffs, Varlamov has just replaced him. Varlamov, a 20-year-old rookie, now has nearly as many post-season starts (four) as he does in the regular-season (five) in his brief NHL career.
He now has two shutouts in this series, and leads the league in both goals-against-average (0.76) and save percanteage (.969).
“There are some things that will rattle anybody, but if there is anything that would rattle me I am definitely not sharing it now,” Varlamov said through a translator.
Boudreau’s history lesson
Bruce Boudreau was asked if he could believe that his team is down 3-2 in this series given that his team has won two games by four goals and lost three by one. Washington has now outscored New York 12-7 in the series.
“The first thing I thought of was the [1960 New York] Yankees against the [Pittsburgh] Pirates,” he said. “You go back through your history. The Yankees won three games by 10 runs and they lost the series because Pittsburgh won four games by one. It doesn’t matter whether you lose by one or 10.”
The 1960 World Series ended with Bill Mazeroski’s home run in Game 7. New York won three games by a combined 35 runs, while Pittsburgh won its four by a total of seven.
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- Saturday, June 13, 2009
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- Saturday, June 13, 2009
- Penguins sticking to regular routines
- Friday, June 12, 2009
- Babcock low-key all the way for Game 7
- Friday, June 12, 2009
- Rafalski shares Game 7 Stanley Cup wisdom
- Thursday, June 11, 2009
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