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Rangers D-Nie-D in Plymouth, taken to brink

A graphic on the Plymouth giant pixel-board says it as the Rangers had a spectacular scoring opportunity.

After a triumphant victory in game 3 of the series the Rangers weren't able to generate the emotion, nor the scoring chances that they had in the previous game.  Both teams played very conservative games in this one and true to forum Mr. Nie had some adventures behind the Plymouth net, including a puck that was dangerously cleared up the center, but all in all the Whalers had a solid if not spectacular defensive plan to blanket the Rangers' offense while taking a commanding 3-1 lead in the best of seven.  Looking forward the Rangers have to win each of their next three games with the Whalers in order to comeback in the series.  The Rangers have only once in the history of the team returned from being down 3-1, and that was in the first round of the 1996 postseason when they at one point trailled the Barrie Colts 3-1 in their series only to comeback and win what is still thought of as one of the greatest Rangers' series ever.

The first period had little in the way of fireworks until the two teams neared the midway point of the period, when Peter Franchin whom had scored during the previous three games, took a minor for hooking.  While on the powerplay, Tim Sestito put a wrist shot on goal that appeared to handcuff Topping in the Rangers' net.  Initially he stopped the shot, however the puck eventually would trickle through Topping and drop into the net, causing what appeared to be a delayed reaction but the Plymouth crowd.

Nathan O'Nabigon narrowly misses a rebound opportunity in close.

During the second period the Whalers took the play to the Rangers even more, but Brad Topping stood tall in the Rangers' net.  He managed a really sharp poke check on John Mitchell, but late in the period, Boris Valabik took a roughing call when he tried to get one extra shot in after a big center ice hit.  A poor discipline play by the big rookie, that would prove extremely costly for the Rangers.  While on the powerplay, Mike Letizia found John Mitchell streaking from the top of the faceoff circle.  Topping tried to go down and take away the bottom half of the net, but Mitchell got the puck under him as he slide down sideways.

The third period nearly got ugly several times.  Adam Keefe elected to give Whalers' netminder: Nie a little bit of a shot after a puck was frozen early in the period drawing a 4-on-4 and a big scrum, later on while emerging from the penalty box Sesito who entered with Keefe seemed to send a message of his own, making more than incidental contact with Brad Topping who emerged from the goal to redirect a puck out of the zone and had his knee get clipped.  Much like in the first road game in Plymouth the Rangers' held the play during the third period.  They outshot the Whalers 14-9, carried the play but much like in game #2 of the series it was too little too late.  The Rangers' did come as close as a crossbar, and the Whalers did come as close to the empty net as a puck that got on edge and started travelling wide at the last second.