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Category: Game Thread

Metro Division Semis Game 5: Flyers at Rangers

Would be super if they won. (Adam Hunger / USA Today Sports)

Would be super if they won. (Adam Hunger / USA Today Sports)

So much for taking a two game lead in this series. The Rangers failed to capitalize on a golden opportunity on Friday night, and now the series has become a best-of-three. Steve Mason may have stolen Game Four for the Flyers, but the Rangers still hold the overwhelming advantage in every major stat except for the only one that matters: wins. Suffice it to say, they don’t want to head to Philly down 3-2, so this is a must-win for the Rangers.

For a complete preview of this series, including the systems Craig Berube has the Flyers playing, check out this post by Suit. Don’t forget that Justin wrote a post on Steve Mason’s goaltending style.

Rangers Lines:

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Metro Division Semis Game 4: Rangers at Flyers

Photo: LoHud

Photo: LoHud

After a relatively underwhelming performance in Game Two, the Rangers regained control of the series and home ice advantage with a very strong showing in Game Three, grabbing a 2-1 series lead. While tonight’s game isn’t a must-win game for the Rangers, it’s a for-the-love-of-all-that-is-holy-please-take-a-two-game-lead game for them. Seriously, I know you guys are pretty sick of them never taking a two game lead. Tonight though, they will need to do it against a returning Steve Mason.

For a complete preview of this series, including the systems Craig Berube has the Flyers playing, check out this post by Suit. Don’t forget that Justin wrote a post on Steve Mason’s goaltending style.

Rangers Lines:

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Metro Division Semis Game 3: Rangers at Flyers

(Photo: Adam Hunger/USA Today)

(Photo: Adam Hunger/USA Today)

The Rangers took Game One in relatively dominating fashion on Thursday night, but followed that up by blowing a two goal lead and giving up four straight goals to the Flyers.The Rangers were a better team on the road this year than at home, so let’s hope that translates into playoff wins.

They will need to weather the early storm that every road team must, but once For a complete preview of this series, including the systems Craig Berube has the Flyers playing, check out this post by Suit. Justin wrote a post on Steve Mason’s goaltending style, but until he’s in net, it’ll be Ray Emery in net.

Rangers Lines:

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Metro Division Semis Game 2: Flyers at Rangers

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Rangers took Game One in relatively dominating fashion on Thursday night, and look for a 2-0 series lead this afternoon at The Garden. Steve Mason is still out for the Flyers, so Ray Emery will be in net. For a complete preview of this series, including the systems Craig Berube has the Flyers playing, check out this post by Suit. Justin wrote a post on Steve Mason’s goaltending style, but until he’s in net, it’ll be Emery, who showed why he’s the backup on Thursday.

The Rangers will be without Chris Kreider again tonight, but Jesper Fast has filled in nicely, finding chemistry with Carl Hagelin and Brad Richards on the Rangers second line. The Rangers will need to stay disciplined, as the Flyers will try to goad them into penalties and/or unnecessary fights. Stay calm and cool, and put shots on Emery, and they will head to Philly with a 2-0 series lead.

Rangers Lines:

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Metro Division Semis Game 1: Flyers at Rangers

Photo: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Photo: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Playoff hockey is upon us. The Rangers and Flyers will see each other in the playoffs for the first time since the Legion of Doom bowled over the Rangers in 1997. For a complete preview of this series, including the systems Craig Berube has the Flyers playing, check out this post by Suit. Justin wrote a post on Steve Mason’s goaltending style, but he’s not playing tonight for the Flyers. Instead the Rangers will get Ray Emery, which gives the Blueshirts an even larger edge in net.

The Rangers will be without Chris Kreider for the duration of the series, but Ryan McDonagh will make his return to the lineup after dealing with a shoulder issue that cost him the final five games of the season. Jesper Fast will skate for Kreider, and after a bit of a scare, Derick Brassard will indeed be in the lineup.

Rangers Lines:

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Game 82: Meaningless game in Montreal

Photo: AP

Photo: AP

Tonight’s game is meaningless for the Rangers. They have locked up the #2 seed in the Metropolitan Division, and will likely play Philadelphia in the first round of the playoffs. None of Henrik Lundqvist, Dan Girardi, Martin St. Louis, or Ryan McDonagh (despite being 100%) will play tonight, as the Rangers are resting their vets for the playoffs. Justin Falk and Dan Carcillo will play in place of Girardi and MSL, and Cam Talbot will get the start tonight.

Under Michel Therrien, the Canadiens play a 1-2-2 forecheck, but do use a 2-1-2 style from time to time based on the score and puck location. Though this team prefers to want to play passive and clog up the neutral zone. Like the Rangers, Montreal’s defensive zone system is to overload when the puck is along the boards and collapse around the slot when the puck is behind the net.

What’s interesting is that Therrien has said in the past that they overload the boards because of their team size and speed (note: small and fast). On special teams, the Habs play your standard umbrella powerplayOn the penalty kill, they rotate between a diamond force and a box depending on puck location. They really look to pressure the opposition all over the ice when shorthanded.

Rangers Lineup (lineup confirmed, lines unconfirmed):

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Game 81: Home finale against Buffalo

Frank Franklin II/AP

Frank Franklin II/AP

The Rangers play their final home game tonight, as the lowly Buffalo Sabres come to town. A win tonight can clinch at least a #3 seed in the Metropolitan Division, ensuring the Rangers avoid the Penguins until the second round, and the Bruins until the Conference Finals. The Rangers can clinch the #2 seed and home ice against the Flyers in the first round with a win and a loss by the Flyers in regulation in Tampa Bay.

Ted Nolan has the Sabres running a 1-2-2 forechecking system and try to shut down the middle of the ice. For the defensive zone system, he has them playing the low-zone collapse pretty much exclusively. On special teams, the Sabres run an umbrella power play and a wedge+1 penalty kill.

Rangers Lineup:

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Game 80: Secure a non-wild card spot

Photo: Star Ledger

Photo: Star Ledger

In case you missed it, the Rangers clinched a playoff spot last night when the Devils lost to the Flames. That doesn’t mean the remaining three games are meaningless, as the Rangers would probably like to avoid the wild card and a date with the Penguins or Bruins in the first round. With the magic number at four, they can actually clinch at least a #3 seed tonight if they win against Carolina and Columbus loses against Phoenix. After that, it’s just about home ice against the Flyers.

The Canes play a bit of a hybrid forechecking system. They play an aggressive 2-3 to start the game, but will switch to a trap late in the game with a lead. In the defensive zone , they run box + 1 system, which is a box setup in front with a player pressuring depending on the puck location. On special teams, the Canes run an umbrella powerplay and a hybrid  penalty kill (varies between the systems based on puck location).

Rangers Lineup:

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Game 79: Getting a point vs. the Sens will clinch a playoff spot

Photo: Star Ledger

Photo: Star Ledger

The Rangers return from a successful west coast swing to a potential playoff clinching game tonight. The Rangers can clinch a spot with a point tonight against the Ottawa Senators. They can also clinch if the Leafs and Devils lose tonight in any fashion. The team probably doesn’t want to back into the playoffs, so beating an Ottawa team that can’t seem to play defense would be nice.

The Sens forechecking strategy is a bit complex, as they are a hybrid forechecking/lock team. When they are trailing or tied, they’ll send two or three guys after the puck in a 2-1-2 formation. When they are ahead though, they lock it up with a 1-1-3 forecheck, a variation of the 2-3 lock. They are an overload/zone defense team depending on puck location. On special teams, they run a standard umbrella power play, but run a hybrid PK (box, diamond, wedge+1) depending on puck location and opposition formation.

Rangers Lineup:

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Game 78: Staying hot in Colorado as the playoffs approach

Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

The Rangers are in Denver tonight to take on the Colorado Avalance, who have recently passed the Chicago Blackhawks for second in the Central Division. The Avs are playing for home ice against the Hawks in the first round, while the Rangers are playing to keep the distance between them and the Flyers at three points. The Rangers beat the Avs once, and are fully capable of doing it again, even without Ryan McDonagh. If you’re scoreboard watching, the Flyers and Blue Jackets face each other tonight as well.

On the ice, the Avs run a very aggressive style of play. On the forecheck it is a straight 2-1-2 without sitting on leads. In the defensive zone, the Avs play straight man-on-man, so expect a lot of pressure and rushed/hurried decisions. On special teams, the Avs run a 1-3-1 power play and a hybrid penalty kill with very active defensemen.

Rangers Lineup:

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