Rangers stay alive, force Game Five

June 12, 2014, by
AP Photo/Kathy Willens

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Well the Rangers didn’t get swept. Henrik Lundqvist was the star of the game, stopping 41 LA shots en route to the 2-1 victory, giving the Rangers their first win of the series. Benoit Pouliot and Marty St. Louis contributed all the offense the Rangers would need, as the difference maker –as per usual– was Hank. Jonathan Quick was somewhat human this game, stopping 17 shots.

In a series where puck luck has been the topic of conversation, the Rangers finally got some of their own. Twice during this game, the puck got through Hank and sat on the goal line. The first time, Anton Stralman tied up Jeff Carter’s stick before diving to move the puck. The second time a shot from the point (I believe from Jake Muzzin) got through Hank, and the bad ice stopped the puck from hitting the back of the net before Derek Stepan dove and shoved the puck under Hank.

Luck is luck, and you need some to win hockey games.

On to the goals:

Rangers 1, Kings 0


Derick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello, and Benoit Pouliot did a good job of keeping the zone while on the powerplay. Eventually they got the puck to John Moore, whose shot was stopped by Quick, but the Rangers controlled the rebound. They eventually worked the puck back to Moore as Pouliot crept to the front of the net. Pouliot deflected Moore’s shot past Quick.

Rangers 2, Kings 0


Alec Martinez didn’t get the puck deep into the Rangers zone, as his dump was stopped by Ryan McDonagh. McDonagh got the puck to Marty St. Louis at center ice for a semi-3-on-2 with Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider. MSL dropped the puck to Stepan and cut to the net. Stepan’s shot threw off Martinez because his stick broke. The puck took a lucky bounce off Martinez and under Quick to MSL who poked it into the empty net.

Kings 1, Rangers 2


Dan Girardi sure is having a rough series. This time, his stick broke trying to make a cross-ice feed on the powerplay, springing Dustin Brown for a breakaway. Brown made some nice moves and buried it under Hank for the shortie.

Fenwick Chart:

Courtesy of ExtraSkater

Courtesy of ExtraSkater

The Kings absolutely dominated this game, even before the Rangers sat back with their 2-0 lead. The Kings are the best in the league at controlling the puck, and this game was no different. The Kings had a whopping 60% Fenwick advantage at 5v5 close, and a 61.5% Fenwick advantage at regular 5v5. That’s absolute domination, and Hank really stole this one.

One game, one period, one shift at a time. The Rangers won and ensured the Kings wouldn’t celebrate for at least two days. The next goal is to send the series back home.

Categories : Game Wrap-ups, Playoffs


  1. Walt says:

    We win, I’ll take that, but what a horse sh*t perfermance in the second half of the game. Once the third period started, my gut started hurting, what the hell is going on here??

    AV finally made some moves, small as they were, it worked out. BR on the 4th line, D Moore on the 2nd line, Hags on the 1st with Nash, small, but effective. I had to laugh when Eddie O said that if he were the coach, he’d put Strahlman on the point, and sit BR. Everyone can see it but AV.

    I think he’s a good coach, good man, and loyal to a fault. Face it AV, BR is history, let him sit on the PP, put a d-man out there with a shot, Strahlman anyone?????

    Now that we have a win under our belt, the boys can go to LA feeling better about themselves, and should play a looser game, let the chip fall where they may, pull out a second victory, and put some pressure on the Kings for a change!!

    Thanks for putting out an effort last night, at least we didn’t roll over and play dead.

  2. SalMerc says:

    We put in a nice effort. Do we go into a prevent defense in the 3rd or does LA have another gear? They seem to swarm and press us relentlessly in the 3rd.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      I think last night was a combination of both. I thought they sat back more than they have in previous games where they were accused of the same thing. However, the Kings were flying in that 3rd period trying to win the CUP. The Rangers couldn’t match it and, frankly, were lucky to get out with a win.

  3. Gary says:

    Okay, that is step 1. Don’t forget, step 2 is we win in LA.

    Was it ugly? Oh yeh, exquisitely so. We are tired, worn out (and when I say we I mean we, I am a little numbed by now) and hanging on. But this is what it’s all about. Remember how tired and worn out they looked in NJ in ’94 before Kovie scored? How about after game 4 Pitt?

    Some thoughts:

    1) Should AV consider lineup changes, not so much to punish anyone but to change it up, get fresh legs? Car Bomb, JT and Fast would have the legs.

    2) Richards… if I didn’t think it would do something to the team’s kharma, I’d say bench Richards just like Torts did. He’s a void out there now. Was watching AV interview and wondering if he’d have the balls to do that.

    3) Stralman needs to be paid and kept. Probably won’t happen, but with the Richie buyout…

    4) John Moore makes some sloppy plays but you can tell the kid has some really good tools. Next year he steps up to be Mac Truck lite.

    5) The LA Kings are really really good.

    6) And I still do not even dislike them, let alone hate them. This is a confusing feeling. And I used to loathe Mike Richards and Jeff Carter as Flyers. Now, meh.

    • Walt says:


      I agree on the BR issue, and what can we loose if Miller is in there in place of him?? Defensivly BR sucks badly, offensivly well maybe, but even there he isn’t doing anything. We just have to play it by ear, and hope this could change the MO for us?????????????

    • bayman says:

      Agree completely on #2. If Richards were some shlub, he’d be benched. But, it WOULD be bad karma. Keep him on the 4th line.

  4. WayneG says:

    One shift, one period, one game at a time. LGR!

  5. Spozo says:

    The Rangers were not the better team last night but they still won the game. LA was not the better team in games 1 and 2. But they still won. That’s how playoff hockey goes. Let’s take this win and move on to Fridays game.

    They need to somehow pull out a W in LA because if this comes back to the Garden for game 6 there is no way Hank is being eliminated on home ice.


  6. Hatrick Swayze says:


    Any chance the afternoon post could explore the new lines we saw last night? Switching out Hags and Kreider is a minor tweak, which I could understand making.

    Also, seeing something done with Richards was inevitable, but the fit on the 4th line just isn’t there. Putting him on a line with Boyle is a marriage of opposites as you are putting the guy with the highest % of D zone starts (Boyle) on the same line with they guy who you shelter with the highest O zone % starts (Richards). So now that you have this line, when/where do you put them on the ice? Who do they match up against? I know we saw the song and dance last year, but if Richards can’t hang in a scoring role shouldn’t he be scratched? I guess what he means to the room and the players is enough to warrant relegating him to a 4th line role, despite the obvious miscast.

    Given all of the above, do we break up our best line of Zuc-Brass-Pouliot? I know that they are extremely effective, but are forgoing the offensive optimization of MSL & Kreider by not allowing them to play with Brassard?

    Would you ever endorse this:

    Zuc – Stepan – Nash
    Kreider – Brassard – MSL
    Hagelin – Moore – Pouliot
    Dorsett – Boyle – Richards/(dare I say Carcillo?)

    Alot going on here, as I have a million thoughts, which are probably better suited for an afternoon post as opposed to the comment section. I think they’re questions worth discussing though, and to me, the number one thing we have to figure out heading into LA for game 5. As always, thanks!

    • Dave says:

      Most of our posts are written a day in advance. I don’t write again until tomorrow afternoon, but if it’s not covered by then I’ll gladly write something on it.

  7. Andres says:

    Richards is having an awful series but I really don’t see how ppl want him scratched and be replaced by a rookie in an elimination game, on the road of the STANLEY CUP FINALS.

    Sit dorsett for miller / carc but this whole playoff run we have said how Richards has stepped up and contributed whether it be with a goal or just his leadership.

    I do agree fresh legs would be nice, the kings have to be getting tired, but realistically Richards isn’t getting scratched so who comes out? Dorsett for miller, carc? If u drop Richards to the 4th line w miller you have 2 defensive liabilities out together. Tough call

    • Ray says:

      The only move that makes sense is to insert Carcillo for Richards. I’ve never been a Dorsett fan, but before last night, the fourth line was giving LA fits and Dorsett has been outstanding. Carcillo fits the fourth line well, while Richards, Miller, Fast do not. Letting Miller center the second line is insane.

      But realistically, Richards is an integral part of this team and benching him sends the message that AV doesn’t believe in the team — and that probably does more harm than anything that can be gained.

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        Agreed. Benching Richards signals the white flag. Any advantage gained from benching him (if any at all – only Carcillo makes any sense) is negated by the message it sends to the team. We ride with Richards until the end. Then he gets Old Yellered if the offseason.

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          Haha..pretty much agree with you both, but man o man is a (Boyle-Richards-insert player here) line something anyone likes? Our most defensively relied upon body put on the same line as the player which we shelter the most from d zone minutes is odd, awkward and unconventional. Perhaps it is the only option, but I still have to question it.

          • Chris F says:

            Richards on the 4th line just doesn’t work. And, I agree, benching him signals defeat. He’s a savvy veteran who is prone to scoring big goals. You can’t bench him facing elimination in the Cup Finals.

            What you can do is take him off the PP, and double shift Moore with Hags/MSL from time to time to shelter Richards minutes a bit and keep him a little fresher.

            Beyond that, we’re stuck with the old man.

  8. joe719 says:

    Maybe the pressure of getting that 1st win, and not being swept at home accounted for such a lousy performance from the middle of the 2nd on. They looked scared and overwhelmed at times. LA is good, no doubt; but in the past games, at least we looked like we belonged there. Last night, for the first time, we looked out-classed(except in goal). Maybe they’ll play looser out in LA. They have nothing to lose now. They owe Hank a great defensive performance in game 6. He saved their asses last night!!!

  9. Paul says:

    Wow, that was an exciting game! Stralman is just upping his value by the shift. And dear lord, there were some b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l hip checks thrown!

    I said this last night, but I feel it’s worth reiterating: That game was more emotionally draining than my parents divorce.

    I’m elated and hopeful, but totally exhausted today! And whatever happens I couldn’t be more proud to be a Rangers fan!

  10. Dan S says:

    This has certainly been a strange series. The Kings have certainly been the better team, but in each of the previous three there were long stretches were the Rangers outplayed, and, more obviously, outscored them. I missed the first period last night, and started watching around the St. Louis goal. But from there on it was brutal. No sustained forecheck, no ability to stay on the puck, to complete passes, get any pressure, keep LA in front of the defense, etc. And yet, Lundqvist stood on his head, the ice helped out a few times, and we win. Still, it’s hard to see this as anything more than a token win to avoid being swept and losing the SC on home ice. The Rangers just looked to be completely gassed the second half of the game. I just don’t see how they’re going to show up on Fri night and all of a sudden resemble the fast, skilled, hard forechecking team we’ve seen on occasion earlier this series and throughout the playoffs. Would love to be wrong, but I’m dubious. And while it’s always possible Lundqvist will stonewall the Kings again, you can’t expect to give up so many chances and only have your goalie–however great–let one get by him.

    AV is in an incredibly difficult spot with Richards. People just want to see this in terms of X’s and O’s (to use a football analogy), but the reality is that embarrassing Richards (the de facto captain) by benching him could undermine AV’s hold on the team as a whole. I’m not saying that’s what did Torts in last year–he would probably have been fired anyway–but it didn’t help. I imagine Keenan would bench Richards in this situation–but Keenan never had a long shelf-life with any team, whereas AV looks like someone in this for the long haul (which is a good thing, IMO). So I feel like he’s basically stuck. There’s no good place to stash Richards at this point. His presence on the fourth line meant (and again I only saw the second half of the game) that there was only one decent forechecking line last night–the BPZ line. It would be nice if Richards took himself out, but he’s too proud to do that. That said, I completely agree (and have been saying since the start of the series) that Richards should be removed from the PP. AV does deserve fault in my mind–considerable fault–for not making this adjustment. Not saying he has great options to replace him–the lack of a really good point option on the PP is one of the major weaknesses on this team (in addition to first-line center). But you’ve got to do something.