This could have been one of the most boring games I have ever seen. The teams combined for just 13 shots in the first, 25 total through the second, and very little offense. In the end, the Canadiens took advantage of two big Ranger miscues, while the Rangers couldn’t take advantage of the 27 icings the Canadiens took. The Habs won a boring game against a shorthanded Rangers team, ending their streak of points in five straight games. On to the goals:
Rangers 1, Montreal 0
After Marian Gaborik gains the zone and draws a delayed penalty, Derek Stepan picked up the loose puck around the goal line and drew the attention of three Canadiens. Anton Stralman, who was in on the play from the beginning, snuck in the back door, and neither Erik Cole nor Francis Bouillon bothered to look behind them to spot Stralman. Stepan just waited them out, and fed Stralman with a perfect saucer pass. Even though Carey Price made the initial save, Bouillon and Cole were too far out of position to stop Stralman from batting home the rebound.
Montreal 1, Rangers 1
The Rangers play a low zone collapse on defense, and a weakness is that the point men are generally left open. While that is the system they play, the problem here is that the Rangers, specifically Brian Boyle and Taylor Pyatt, are too low in respect to where the puck is. Pyatt is in no-man’s land as well, as Max Pacioretty is his man in this situation, but Pyatt is at the goal line. Boyle is the one that is closest to the play, and he’s at the hash marks. That allows Pacioretty to get a shot from the high slot that eludes Henrik Lundqvist. The issue on this goal is that the low zone collapse was too low, Pyatt being MIA, and Boyle not being in the passing lane. It’s a trifecta of miscues.
Montreal 2, Rangers 1
The Rangers just didn’t backcheck on this. There’s not much to breakdown here. The three guys caught coasted and stop skating. That’s it.
Montreal 3, Rangers 1
Rangers took a shot with the empty net on the powerplay. It didn’t work. Too many Rangers (Gaborik, Del Zotto, Richards) mishandled pucks at key moments.