Martin St. Louis trade paying dividends when it matters

Martin St. Louis has put the regular season behind him

Things didn’t go so well for Martin St. Louis in his first 19 regular season games with the Rangers, but the trade for him on March 5th was never about the 82 games between October and April.

The deal was made because A) New York wasn’t going to re-sign Ryan Callahan and wanted max value in return, and B) St. Louis is of capable of carrying the Rangers much deeper into the postseason than Callahan is at this stage.

So sure, one goal in 19 games was a disappointment, and eight total points was pretty unimpressive. But everyone goes through a slump, and St. Louis clearly had a major adjustment to make upon arriving in the Big Apple.

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Rangers take 2-1 series lead on Lundqvist’s 31 saves

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Rangers followed up their dud in Game Two with a convincing 4-1 win in Philly last night to take a 2-1 series lead. The win was a complete team effort with great goaltending, solid defense, and balanced offense. But don’t be fooled by the score, Philly controlled most of this game, generating a 65.2% Corsi advantage for the game (score effects). Good teams find ways to win games in which they are dominated, and the Rangers did just that by taking advantage of some terrible goaltending.

Martin St. Louis (1-1-2), Dan Girardi (1-1-2), and Rick Nash (0-2-2) all had multi-point games. Dan Carcillo played the best game I’ve ever seen him play in his entire career. Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves, including some very difficult saves late.

On to the goals:

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Metro Division Semis Game 3: Rangers at Flyers

(Photo: Adam Hunger/USA Today)

(Photo: Adam Hunger/USA Today)

The Rangers took Game One in relatively dominating fashion on Thursday night, but followed that up by blowing a two goal lead and giving up four straight goals to the Flyers.The Rangers were a better team on the road this year than at home, so let’s hope that translates into playoff wins.

They will need to weather the early storm that every road team must, but once For a complete preview of this series, including the systems Craig Berube has the Flyers playing, check out this post by Suit. Justin wrote a post on Steve Mason’s goaltending style, but until he’s in net, it’ll be Ray Emery in net.

Rangers Lines:

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A quick review of the Klein for Del Zotto trade

Klein

If a trade was judged purely on previous production there would have been a lot more complaints the day the Rangers traded away Michael Del Zotto for Kevin Klein. Luckily, the Ranger fan base is (on the whole) more informed than that.

Looking back at Glen Sather’s acquisition of Kevin Klein, it would be easy to assume Sather gave up on Del Zotto (which was true to an extent) but a more appropriate way of looking at it would be how Sather was able to BETTER balance his defense when he brought Klein on board.

While Klein’s 6 points, +4 rating and 36 hits are not jaw dropping numbers the good ol’ fashioned eye test helps to review his game. Klein has generally impressed with his decision making and ability to make a solid defensive play consistently. His positioning has been consistently good and his ability under pressure has been strong. Klein has no problem taking a hit to make a play and has been a solid addition for the Rangers. No longer do Ranger fans hold their collective breath like they did when Del Zotto wandered around his own zone.

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Marty St. Louis a finalist for Lady Byng

Rangers forward Martin St. Louis has been named a finalist for the Lady Byng trophy. The trophy is awarded to the player who player “adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

St. Louis has been a finalist eight times in the last ten years, and has won the award three times in the last four. The last Ranger to win the award was Wayne Gretzky in 1999.

An Open Letter to the Chicago Blackhawks and the Wakey Wakey shirts

Dear Hawks,

Usually, I like you. Despite growing up loving Detroit (thanks to my brother), I always thought there was something about you that was a bit charming. Maybe it’s the awesome jersey, or the great crowds you always seem to draw, or maybe it’s Patrick Sharp’s face. I can’t be sure. I certainly appreciated you last year when you took out the team that steamrolled the New York area straight into baseball season. But this postseason…. not so much.

I guess it started off bad for you. I’d begun to like the Blues cause who can’t when there’s so much American Olympic representation, including the shootout king Oshie and a kid who grew up a Rangers fan in Shattenkirk. But still, there was a respect I felt for you and an excitement I felt in what would be a gritty, tough, skilled matchup. I would love to see some nice, clean hockey played between rivals.

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Steve Mason won’t play in Game Three

Per Sarah Baicker, Flyers goalie Steve Mason will not be dressing for Game Three. Mason has missed the first two games of the series, in which Ray Emery started. Emery is sporting a .913 SV% in the two starts this series.

Calling for Carcillo or JT Miller

Courtesy of NHL.com

Courtesy of NHL.com

The party is over. The Rangers had a chance to jump to a 2-0 lead and instead will go into Philly with the series evened up. It will be critical for the Rangers to come back to NY with at least one win, but it won’t be easy. The Rangers are 57-64-14-3 for road playoff games. They’re also 10-17 in the postseason at Philadelphia.

What will make these next two games especially tough goes beyond the atmosphere and fan hostilities. The real difficulty will be for Alain Vigneault to get the right matchups on the ice, as the home team gets the last change.

If I’m Craig Berube, I’d be looking forward to returning home where he’ll get a better chance at trying to separate the Giroux and Hartnell line from McDonagh and Girardi. I’d also be looking to amp up the physicality. The Flyers seemed to play better yesterday when they adjusted their forecheck to be a bit harder.

For these reasons, it might be time for AV to sit Fast for Carcillo or Miller so the Rangers can match the Flyers energy.

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Rangers blow 2-0 lead, Flyers even series

This was a really bad play. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

This was a really bad play. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

The Rangers got out to a quick start yesterday afternoon, quickly nabbing a two goal lead early in the first period. But it was the Flyers who took advantage of three Ranger defensive miscues to eventually win the game by a score of 4-2. Ray Emery kept the Flyers in it, making 31 saves on 33 shots, but it was two blown coverages and a flat-footed defenseman that eventually cost the Rangers a chance at a 2-0 series lead.

Before the Flyers took the 3-2 lead, the game was pretty evenly matched in terms of puck possession. The Rangers held a lead just 1 Fenwick event in the game when Luke Schenn scored the eventual game winner. After that, the Flyers sat back a bit, and the Rangers poured it on, but couldn’t solve Emery. It certainly wasn’t the strongest game the Rangers have played, but that’s why it’s a seven game series.

On to the goals:

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Metro Division Semis Game 2: Flyers at Rangers

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Rangers took Game One in relatively dominating fashion on Thursday night, and look for a 2-0 series lead this afternoon at The Garden. Steve Mason is still out for the Flyers, so Ray Emery will be in net. For a complete preview of this series, including the systems Craig Berube has the Flyers playing, check out this post by Suit. Justin wrote a post on Steve Mason’s goaltending style, but until he’s in net, it’ll be Emery, who showed why he’s the backup on Thursday.

The Rangers will be without Chris Kreider again tonight, but Jesper Fast has filled in nicely, finding chemistry with Carl Hagelin and Brad Richards on the Rangers second line. The Rangers will need to stay disciplined, as the Flyers will try to goad them into penalties and/or unnecessary fights. Stay calm and cool, and put shots on Emery, and they will head to Philly with a 2-0 series lead.

Rangers Lines:

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