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Thoughts following a wild Game 7

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Since there’s absolutely no chance of me putting together a coherent post in the wake of that Game 7, I’m going to share some thoughts in bullet point form instead:

- Henrik Lundqvist really struggled at the start of the season, but he was Vezina-caliber in the second half and raised his game again in the postseason. The bozos that have argued that Lundqvist isn’t elite because he hasn’t won a Cup can say whatever they want – Lundqvist’s performance last night speaks for itself. That was as outstanding a game as you’ll see from a netminder.

- It’s really hard to tell just how good this team is. Obviously we know they won’t ever make anything easy on themselves, but it’s also miraculous that they’ve reached the Eastern Conference Finals despite getting next to nothing offensively from two of their top offensive players – Rick Nash and Derek Stepan. New York’s depth players have been underappreciated for a long while, but they’ve really stepped up through the first two rounds. If the team had gotten even a little bit of production from Nash and Stepan, they probably wouldn’t have had to go to seven games in one or both of their first two matchups.

- The team’s top forwards deserve plenty of criticism for their lack of offense, but to a man, they’ve been tremendous in their own end. The Rangers need more from their key guys offensively, but they do deserve credit for contributing elsewhere.

- Lundqvist came up huge time and time again, but Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, Marc Staal and Anton Stralman did an absolutely amazing job of completely shutting down Sidney Crosby, and containing the monster that was Evgeni Malkin. The defensemen certainly had help from their teammates, but they each consistently won one-on-one battles with two of the best three or four players in the entire world.

- Plenty of fans still don’t like Brian Boyle, which I’ll never understand. Dave defended Boyle yesterday, but Boyle deserves another mention for his effort in this series. Boyle is one of those guys that play at a higher level each postseason, and he was a beast again last night.

- GM Glen Sather still doesn’t have much of a choice – he’s going to have to buy out Brad Richards. But boy has Richards made it tough.

- The passing of Martin St. Louis’ mother was a horrible tragedy, but there’s zero doubt the team used it as a rallying point. The Blueshirts banded together and played stronger as a team than they have at any point this year.

- Chris Kreider’s return was also absolutely huge for the Rangers. Kreider delivered a key goal and used his speed and physicality to really tilt the ice. His insertion into the lineup also enabled Alain Vigneault to trust and balance all four lines, which had been a major issue for the first round and four games of the clash with the Penguins.

- With the win, New York’s 2014 first-round pick goes to Tampa Bay. Oh well.

- It’ll be very nice for the club to get a couple extra days of rest before the Eastern Conference Finals. I honestly don’t know who I’d rather play. Obviously the Bruins are always really tough to play against, but Montreal’s speed scares me. The Canadiens have a weird feeling to me this year, and I don’t want any part of them. But Boston has all that experience…

I leave you with this:

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35 Responses to “Thoughts following a wild Game 7”

  1. mxp says:

    Just a correction: MSL’s mother, not wife.

  2. Pete says:

    St. Louis’ mother passed away. Not wife.

    • Kevin says:

      Horrible mistake, my bad. Fixed. That’s what happens when you try to do a post when you still can barely breathe

  3. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    Tough matchup either way for the ECF, but I still think you want Montreal. Boston dismantled the Rangers in the playoffs last year and had their way with them in the regular season this year.

    I think the Rangers can match speed with Montreal (at least to an extent), and like Pitt, keeping them off the PP really limits that team’s offense. In a grind it out, 5 on 5 playoff series, Boston scares me more.

    I think it becomes moot when Boston wins tonight, however.

  4. Spozo says:

    On NHL network I heard something last night I didn’t think was possible. “The Rangers are the first team to move on to the next round”. The popular thought is that the East will start games on Saturday. That’s 3 welcome days off for this team and with the other half of the East playing their game 7 tonight, the Rangers will actually be the better rested team. When’s the last time you could say that?

  5. Leatherneckinlv says:

    Only a Cup can justify losing our 1st round pick in 2014….They must win the Cup

    • Kevin says:

      I think getting to the Final Four is a reasonable tradeoff. At this point, all you’re hoping for is a chance. Anything can happen

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      I think the fact that that pick becomes a first rather than a second rounder masks what really hurt in that trade: the inclusion of the second pick itself. Just one first rounder would have been palatable.

      Hopefully Cally resigns with TB, in which case NY gets a second rounder back.

      • Fotiu is God says:

        RFiB:
        No way Cally stays in The Sunshine State.

        Either the Buffalo billionaire Pegula meets Callahan at that $7/7.5M mark he/his agent sought, turning the Rochester-boy into a Sabre…

        Or Garth Snow does likewise with Wang’s wallet and Callahan becomes the first Captain of The Brooklyn Islanders. (Michael Del Zotto ends up there, too. Watch. )

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          Its useless to speculate, as the possibilities are endless. If Cally does make his way to Brooklyn, there’s no way he takes the C off of Tavares’ jersey in the process.

    • Spozo says:

      Gun to your head Leather. Because of the inclusion of that extra ’1st rounder, would you rather have had them lose last night?

      • Leatherneckinlv says:

        I didn’t say that…I said that once it became a 1st rounder…it is Cup or bust,,,we will be going on 3 years without a 1st round pick….The price is high and with no Cup it will be a disaster for a few moments of meaningless glory…So only a Cup will make it worth the while

  6. Seahorse says:

    Does Sather ever not have a cigar handy

  7. Becky says:

    Great job, Kev. Way more composure than I could even fathom today. My heart still hasn’t stopped racing

  8. Chuck A says:

    Is Nash suddenly more physical (checks), and if so, is that a good sign?

    • Walt says:

      Yes, because he has to prove he is worth something. I’ve been tough on him, let’s hope he starts to click, and scores. If you remember right, Nash is like Gabby, a streak scorer, and with the next round coming up, he may get hot, let’s hope so!!!!!!!

      • Chuck A says:

        My question is preoccupied with his health: have the memory and symptoms of being concussed ebbed?

        • pavel_burrito says:

          I really doubt he’d play so much on the PK if he was injured.

        • Walt says:

          I brought the same point up maybe a week, or two ago. I suspect that he may be a bit gun shy, but what do I know??????? Now getting this close to a possible cup run, he may be going for the gusto???

    • prole30 says:

      Yes I think he’s got more hits than he had all season. I don’t mind his not scoring if he applies that body consistently. He is an expensive checking forward but that’s better that nothing. He’s not even on the PP now. He’s really like a fourth-liner. You can’t count on him to score but if he does that’s a bonus.

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        Well I think we can all safely say that has to change if the Rangers are to hoist the CUP.

  9. JoeS. says:

    WOW!! I love this team

  10. JoeS. says:

    I think that they have really rallied around St. Louis and have become a “team”, fighting for each other. I don’t see any other team that has come together this year and been able to do what they have done. I am so excited, I think this team, now, has the game to beat anyone. I don’t care who wins tonight. This team can beat anyone now! We have the speed and depth to defeat Boston…not scared of them, we can match the speed of the Canadiens, and I’m not concerned about playing in Montreal..This is truly a different team than 2 weeks ago!

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      Wow. Love it. I like your confidence, but I do think some things have to happen before we annoint them:

      -Nash needs to start producing points. The Rangers need him to at least off-set some of the production from other team’s top scorers.
      -They need to regain control of the possession game (they were out-possessed by the Penguins for the series)
      -McDonagh needs to be a little more involed offensively
      -Kreider needs to continue to make an impact (he has so far)

      The good thing is, these are all possible, and with Lundqvist playing the way he is, why not be optimistic?

      • JoeS. says:

        RFIB, I agree with all you said, However, don’t get me wrong, I am not anointing anyone. All I am saying is I believe in this team now more than ever, Will they win and advance, and hoist the cup?? we will see, but I believe they have a shot and a very good one. I don’t make predictions, too old and seen too much, but I am very confident and excited to be in the position we are today! Let’s go Rangers!!

  11. mikeyyy says:

    My thoughts

    Boyle worth every penny. Played big.

    Richards worth every penny, this year.

    Cally who? If we can get past the next series into the final the trade was well worth it.

    Brassard I hope you stick around. I liked you the last three games.

    Staal. Nice poke check at the blue line

    Av. Show me more.

  12. Chris F says:

    So who do we want, Boston or Montreal?

  13. Bort says:

    Habs it is.
    I’m slightly less concerned about them than I was about Boston. Definitely winnable.

  14. Bloomer says:

    I hope captain Vezina doesn’t shit the bed in Montreal. Has he ever won there?

  15. Leatherneckinlv says:

    Better match up for us…will be a run and gun series

  16. Chris F says:

    Habs Eyes on the Prize blog commentariat seem to respect the Rangers depth (and our French Canadians!) and are talking up our defensive corps compared to the Bruins. On the other hand, quite a few are already eyeing up Cup Finals matchups.

    I’m really looking forward to this matchup. Rangers / Habs! First time since 1996.

  17. joe719 says:

    I think its definitely a winnable Series. They’re gonna have to overcome all the stuff that comes with playing a Canadian team in the playoffs, especially Montreal; but it is doable. They key will be slowing the Habs down; not an easy task. Make their D work hard in their own end; they can get rattled. And keep shooting the puck at Price. Also, they’ll have to deal with the peskiness of Prust, Gionta, and Gallagher. I look for Moore, Dorsett and Boyle to match them slash for slash. Also, they’ll need to really support the defense coming back, because of the Habs speed entering the zone. Macdonagh is gonna be a target, and he has to be prepared for it. And again, as always, Hank is the key. He HAS to win in Montreal sometime, right? What better time than now! I give them a real good shot of taking this Series; maybe quicker than some people might think.