This game shall forever be known as the Henrik Lundqvist show. Lundqvist stopped all 27 shots thrown at him, including 12 in the third period, en route to a shutout and a 1-0 win for the Rangers. With the win, the Rangers forced Game Seven in Washington in a series that has seen the home team hold serve in each of the first six games. Braden Holtby dueled Hank shot for shot except for a lone Derick Brassard shot found its way through in the second period. Since there was one goal today, we will get to the goal and then some random game thoughts.
Rangers 1, Caps 0
The Rangers had a good shift here, cycling the puck with Brassard, Rick Nash, and Mats Zuccarello, John Moore, and Anton Stralman on the ice. There was one occasion when Moore pinched in to keep the puck in the Caps’ zone. The puck eventually worked its way back to Moore, who fed it to Brassard in the high slot. Brassard wound up for the shot, hesitated (he later admitted he shot because the fans kept chanting “shoot the puck”), then wound up again and ripped a slap shot that deflected off Steve Oleksy and past Holtby. The goal was a credit to the entire Rangers unit on the ice, and to Nash in front, who screened Holtby. No picture for this goal, nothing came out clear. Sorry about that.
- I really liked that “shoot the puck” chant. The Rangers have this awful habit of passing up great shot opportunities, and while most of the time I don’t agree when fans yell “SHOOT,” this was much-needed. And hey, it led to a goal.
- That Carl Hagelin-Derek Stepan-Ryan Callahan line sure did some great things out there. They were a combined +16 Corsi (6 for Cally, 5 each for Stepan/Hagelin). They generated chances, they played physical hockey. They played Ranger hockey. It’s been a while since we’ve been able to say that.
- Brad Richards played less than ten minutes in this game. That’s a testament to his struggles this season. I still don’t think he gets bought out this season, but if he continues to play like this next year, he will be gone.
- A lot of people are going to point to the four Washington penalties to none for the Rangers as bad officiating. But honestly, does this surprise anyone? The officiating has been horrible throughout this series and throughout the playoffs.
- Admittedly, I could not watch the entire game (it was Mother’s Day), so I did not see much of Chris Kreider out there. From what I gathered on Twitter, he had a good shift or two. But based on the ice time, he still doesn’t have the trust of the coaching staff in his own zone.
- Game Seven is tomorrow in Washington. The Rangers (note: Lundqvist) have a good record in their history on the second of back-to-backs. But they’ve one just once in Washington in the playoffs over the past three meetings. Something will need to give tomorrow night.
- One thing that needs to be addressed: The Derek Dorsett/Mike Green situation. I was watching at this point, and the replays were relatively inconclusive about what Dorsett did. Dorsett is not known as a dirty player (zero suspensions), and the replays show Dorsett losing his balance as his leg gets tangled up with Green. My only thing here is that Dorsett wound up taking the worst of the collision (not the cross check, Dorsett went hard into the boards). I get the feeling that if you’re trying to slewfoot someone, you make sure you aren’t going to wind up going hard into the boards on your knees.
This was the first game where you can say the Rangers not only controlled play (they did, +3 team Corsi), but looked like the Rangers we expect to see. They aren’t going to completely dominate the Caps, the Caps are just too good and playing too well to be dominated. Of course, if the Rangers don’t have Hank, this series is a sweep. Your best player needs to carry you from time to time, and that’s what Hank is doing.