Archive for Game Thread

derek stepan

Photo: AP / Fred Chartrand

The Rangers are in a do-or-die situation tonight. Win and continue. Lose and go home. Experience has been thrown around a lot lately, saying that the Rangers have the guys who have been there before. You know what? I’m sick of that crap. If they have this “experience” then this series would’ve been over by now. No more leaning on experience. Play with desperation. Just win, I don’t care how.

Series Breakdown

We wrote a whole bunch of posts breaking down this matchup. Be sure to check them out:

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jesper fast

Photo Credit: Getty Images / Bruce Bennett

The Rangers have stormed back in this series, completely dominating the Senators in back-to-back 4-1 wins to even the series. It wasn’t just the score, it was the manner in which the Rangers played. They dominated every facet of each game, frustrating the Senators to a point of trying to “set the tone” at the end of Game 4. It didn’t work. Now the Rangers have a chance to destroy their morale in their own building.

Perhaps lost in some of the Tanner Glass craze over the last few days is that the Rangers have scored 13 goals in the past three games. They have begun pressuring the Ottawa defensemen at the blue line, which is forcing turnovers and odd man rushes the other way. They’ve been putting Craig Anderson in a position to exploit his weaknesses, and it’s been working. Need to keep doing that.

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chris kreider

The Rangers dominated Game 3, and now have a chance to tie the series and swing momentum back to them before heading to Ottawa. This is another huge game for the Rangers, as falling being 3-1 would be as close to disastrous as it gets. Luckily they appeared to have figured it out on Tuesday, so it’s a matter of continuing to play that way.

Guy Boucher is making a few changes to his lineup tonight. Chris Wideman is in for Brandon Claesson. Tom Pyatt is also expected to play, but it’s unknown for who. Zack Smith is a game time decision, so that’s the logical choice. But if Smith does play, it’s anyone’s guess who comes out for Pyatt.

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derek stepan

Photo: AP / Fred Chartrand

There is no way to slice it, this is a must win for the Rangers. Down in an 0-2 hole is bad enough, but coming back from 0-3 would be virtually impossible. The good news is there is still plenty to be optimistic about. This is a very tight series, with both games decided late. Poor roster management has plagued throughout the playoffs though, so if the coaches can get out of their own way, then the series is still winnable.

That said, we have history to say they won’t. So this needs to fall on the players, specifically the goaltender now. Henrik Lundqvist had a weak Game 2, but has been outstanding aside from that. He’s been the only consistent player up and down the lineup. Perhaps with goals on Saturday, Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan wake up. The Rangers certainly need it. The blue line isn’t going to help much.

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chris kreider rangers senators

Credit: AP / Fred Chartrand

The Rangers dropped Game 1 in Ottawa, and are now looking to salvage the split and prevent going in an 0-2 hole. The Senators are not the Habs, and you can argue are better than the Habs. Trade deadline acquisitions strengthened the bottom-six, and Clarke MacCarthur’s return added extra scoring bite. The Rangers, used to the slow Habs, looked sluggish in Game 1, and that will need to change in Game 2.

What won’t need to change is how well Henrik Lundqvist has been playing. As long as the Rangers can score two, he will ensure they at least have a chance to win. He’s been near perfect these playoffs so far, forced to make some spectacular saves regularly. His counterpart, Craig Anderson, wasn’t tested much in Game 1. The Rangers will look to change that today, as they will need to get back to their speed game and break through that 1-1-3 neutral zone trap the Senators use.

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rangers senators zibanejad skjei

Credit: AP / Fred Chartrand

After four days off, the Rangers will resume their playoff run tonight in Ottawa, taking on a Senators team that ousted the Bruins in a very close six game series. The Senators are a quicker and more skilled team than the Habs, so they will present a different challenge for the Rangers. Craig Anderson is a bit of a wild card too, as his hot streaks can make him unbeatable.

For the Rangers to be successful, they will need to ensure they stick to their game. They played their game in the final three wins against Montreal, and their collective team speed wore down the Habs. Ottawa is certainly quicker, but their defensive depth can be exploited by fast teams. Getting in on the forecheck, sustaining pressure, and making Anderson move are going to be critical aspects of this series.

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rangers canadiens

Photo Credit: Getty Images / Minas Panagiotakis

The Rangers and Habs square off tonight in Game 6, with the Rangers attempting to close out the series. After an abysmal Game 3, the Rangers turned it on in Games 4 and 5, coming away with two wins. For the Blueshirts, it’s about consistently using their superior speed to get in on the Habs and wear them down. It worked in Game 5, as the Habs were unable to keep up after the Rangers poured it on. The same strategy will put the Rangers in the best position to win.

As for the Habs, they need to find a way to stifle the rush in the neutral zone. They were successful in Game 3 and half of Game 5, but the Rangers have been able to adjust with their two straight wins. The series has been a nail biter every single game, and this one likely won’t be any different. As long as Henrik Lundqvist continues to outplay Carey Price, the Rangers will always have a shot. Add in the team speed, and they have a real chance of closing it out tonight.

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rangers canadiens

Photo Credit: AP / Paul Chiasson

The Rangers are back in Montreal tonight for a pivotal Game 5 after showing some life with a big win in Game 4. The biggest need for the Rangers is to consistently play like they did on Tuesday night. If they do –meaning their process is solid– then they certainly have more skill than the Habs up and down the lineup.

As for the game, this is probably the one that decides the series, at least in my opinion. I think the winner tonight takes the series, so this is a huge one for both teams. The Rangers have had the edge in net all series, with Henrik Lundqvist outplaying Carey Price, but it’s been the process of the 18 skaters that has made the difference.

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rangers canadiens habs

Photo: AP / Seth Wenig

The Rangers embarrassed themselves on Sunday night, putting forth an abysmal effort in a 3-1 loss. After what seemed like a promising start to the series in Montreal, the Rangers have now turned a potential 2-0 series lead into a 2-1 deficit. A more focused effort on offense, getting chances, and actually sustaining a forecheck are a must for the Rangers tonight.

It’s fairly simple for the Blueshirts. They aren’t going to beat Carey Price with clean shots. They are going to need to actually try, actually get to the net, and actually control the puck in order to win. It can’t be the Henrik Lundqvist show every game. They need to support their All-World goaltender. He deserves better.

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rangers canadiens

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP

The Rangers blew a chance to take a commanding 2-0 series lead the other night, and are now at home to try to take a pivotal Game Three. Alain Vigneault, who made the single most boneheaded coaching move in recent Rangers’ history is going to have to be better. He’s going to have to adjust.

Part of that adjustment is putting his loyalties aside and playing his best defense pairings. No more loyalty to players playing like crap. If not, then this will be a short series. We all know what the team is, but does the coach?

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