NY Islanders News

Nice finish for Rangers. Canucks cruising

By Gary Harding
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The Caps/Rangers series has been a real fun one to watch.  All three games could have gone either way.  The Rangers could be up 3-0 as easily as the Caps could have been that way too.

It is no surprise to this reporter that Henrik Lundqvist has been the difference.  He has been outstanding, especially being in every game since the 7th of February.  When the Caps look like that are beginning to dictate the play – #30 stops the action in his tracks.  I must admit that he is one of the top 3 netminders in the league.  With the young and improving defense that the Rangers have, it could be an interesting future for Broadway.

On the Caps side – Alex Ovechkin has responded to the challenge.  He has been all around the ice, been in the face of the Ranger defenders (ask Mark Staal about it), and had been involved in the offense.  It has been a big difference than last year’s debacle against the Habs.

The biggest difference in the Capitals success has been the change in the team’s philosophy.  The defensive mode that has not been the modus operandi of Washington Capitals hockey  has really made this team dangerous.  Because if they just change the gear, and know when and how to change it – this can be a team to reckon with.

Back to the Rangers – you have to like the passion Brandon Dubinsky brings to the game.  As an Islander fan – he drives me nuts when we play them.  But watching him from an observer’s eyes – you have to like what you see.  He has good eyes for the game, plays with extreme passion, and stands up for his teammates.  He could be the future captain of this team.

This series is going to be a lot of fun.  Looking forward to game 4 on Wednesday.

Now – off to Chicago and game 3.  Chicago needed to make a big statement after losing two in the Pacific Northwest.   To be honest, I have Vancouver winning the Cup.  I had that statement in October, and I stick to it.  This team is on all cylinders.  Scoring, defending, special teams.  They get contribution from ALL 4 lines, and that is a big asset to have come playoff time.  It takes pressure off the star players, and just allows them to play the game.

Roberto Luongo has to make a statement and he is doing that against his nemesis.  In the last two years, Vancouver has been eliminated by the Hawks, and at times, the Canucks looked mortal, especially the netminder.  He is been sharp, keeping the rebounds to a minimum, as well as keeping his angles sharp.  His confidence is high right now, which trickles down to the rest of the team.

Contributions from the twins Sedin has also made the Canucks serious.  Their game has slipped against the Hawks in the last two years.  They got goals almost a minute apart last night.; and they are key to the success.

I still stick by my predictions (Caps in 7 – Canucks in 5).  Although – to be honest, I would like to see Vancouver sweep the defending champs out of the playoffs.  That would be a large statement for Vancouver.

Stay tuned.

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