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Category: Game Wrap-ups

Final thoughts as Rangers outlasted by Kings

Unofficial Conn Smythe winner. Photo: Willens/AP

Unofficial Conn Smythe winner. Photo: Willens/AP

The Rangers came up short, for the fourth and final time in the Stanley Cup finals on Friday night. Dustin Brown hoisted the Cup for the Kings for the second time in three years and the Rangers are left to think what could have been. Sorry for no goal breakdown today but here’s a few thoughts and reflections on game five and the Rangers in general. Chin up Rangers fans, our team did us proud.

The World’s best: Henrik Lundqvist cannot do more than he did last night or in the entire series. He has emphatically proven he is the best goalie in the world and should have been a Conn Smythe contender even on a losing team.

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Rangers stay alive, force Game Five

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:

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Kings on verge of sweep after Game Three shutout

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Jonathan Quick made 32 saves, including a bunch of outstanding saves that left us thinking how he got that, en route to a 3-0 shutout in Game Three. The win gives the Kings a 3-0 series lead, and puts the Rangers in the precarious position of getting swept and watching the Kings lift the Cup in their house. It is not an enviable position.

Lady Luck played a huge role in this game, as the first two Kings goals came off deflections, while the third came off a blocked pass that took a lucky bounce back. Lady Luck seemed to have a crush on Quick as well, as he made a pair of absolutely ridiculous stick saves on Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard. That’s not to discount Quick, who legitimately stole this game, but stick saves like those are 10% skill and 90% luck. But he made the saves when they counted.

On Twitter, a lot of people put this game on Henrik Lundqvist, which I just laughed at. Quick has outdueled Hank, that’s for sure, but Quick has had tremendous support from a team that’s playing like they’ve been here before. Hank hasn’t had that support.

On to the goals:

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Another OT loss puts Rangers in 2-0 hole

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

For the second straight game, the LA Kings never held a lead, but still managed to win in double overtime, giving them a 2-0 series lead over the Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final. Dustin Brown deflected a Willie Mitchell shot from the point through Henrik Lundqvist to send the series to New York with a commanding lead. For the Rangers, it as another frustrating loss, as they blew a pair of two-goal leads before the game got to overtime.

I didn’t DVR the game, which makes goal breakdowns difficult when you forget to do the second period goals until overtime, and by that time you can’t rewind anymore. So here’s a quick review, in our favorite format: Bullet points.

  • Let’s start with the officiating, since that’s the elephant in the room. I have no idea how Benoit Pouliot can get whistled for goaltender interference, but Dwight King doesn’t on the exact same kind of play. King scored the third goal for the Kings, sparking their comeback. I’m not big on blaming the officiating for wins and losses, but this one was especially bad. I have no idea how that play isn’t reviewable. We don’t know this yet, but that one single play may have cost the Rangers a Stanley Cup. If it winds up being that situation, then the NHL should be ashamed of itself. “The puck went in before contact was made.” Yea, bull.
  • Then there’s that absurd rule about the puck over the glass. First, I hate the rule, get rid of it. Second, if it’s in the rulebook –which it is– you need to call it. I have no idea what the refs saw, and how they explained that puck hit the glass. It didn’t. That’s a call they need to make, but didn’t want to. Dumb rule for sure, but one that needs to be called because it’s in the rulebook.
  • Now that the officiating is out of the way, let’s be clear: The Rangers lost this game because they couldn’t hold on to a pair of two-goal leads. The officiating didn’t help, and I don’t see how they can see the King goal was a legitimate goal, but the Rangers blew the lead. Period.

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Justin Williams wins Game One in overtime

Photo: Canadian Press

Photo: Canadian Press

Justin Williams capitalized off a pretty gruesome Dan Girardi turnover to give the Kings a victory in Game One. The Kings also came back from down 2-0 in the first period, scoring once in the first and once in the second to tie the game, before Williams won it in overtime. It wasn’t all bad for the Rangers, who used their speed and were all over the Kings in the first period. The problem was that the Kings adjusted, forcing the Rangers into a dump-and-chase game, which the plays into the Kings’ favor.

Benoit Pouliot scored on a breakaway, and Carl Hagelin scored on a mini-breakaway/lucky bounce. Both used their speed to burn past a Kings defense that was not expecting the Rangers to be as quick as they were. But it was a turnover by Derek Stepan that got the Kings on the board, and then it was the Girardi turnover that sealed it for the Kings.

On to the goals:

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Hockey Gods smile on Dominic Moore, Rangers advance to the Finals

Do. Not. Touch.

Do. Not. Touch.

For the first time in 20 years, the New York Rangers will play for the Stanley Cup. Coincidentally, for the first time in 20 years, the Rangers won a series in less than 7 games. The Hockey Gods smiled upon Dominic Moore, as he took a brilliant feed from Brian Boyle midway through the second period for the game’s only goal. Moore, the team’s nominee and a finalist for the Masterton trophy, has obviously had some hard times the past few year’s, but he was all smiles today with the Broadway Hat on his head.

Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 18 shots the Canadiens threw at him, including the save of the playoffs on a Thomas Vanek pass that was deflected by Dan Girardi. Hank dropped his stick and swiped his blocker up in one motion, keeping the puck out of the net and the score tied. Dustin Tokarski, who was far from the reason the Habs lost this series, was stellar, stopping 31 Ranger shots. If not for Tokarski, this game wasn’t even close to nerve-wrenching.

On to the goal:

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Bourque’s hat trick forces Game Six

Photo by Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images

Photo by Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images

Rene Bourque notched a hat trick as the Canadiens forced a Game Six in New York on Thursday. The game itself was ugly on all sides, but the Canadiens managed to capitalize on more mistakes than the Rangers. The Rangers got pretty poor goaltending and defense, were undisciplined, and didn’t deserve to win this game. Henrik Lundqvist allowed four goals on 18 shots, and Talbot allowed two on ten. Dustin Tokarski wasn’t really much better, allowing four goals in 27 shots.

On the bright side, Derek Stepan had a pair of goals in his return to the lineup with a broken jaw. Chris Kreider had a goal and three assists, but it was probably one of the worst four point nights we’ve seen since he was atrocious without the puck (as were all the Rangers, not singling him out). Also, it’s not like the Habs played perfect hockey. Both teams were sloppy here, the Rangers were just sloppier.

On to the goals:

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Marty St. Louis the hero in Game Four

Martin St. Louis was the hero in Game Four, roofing the overtime winner to give the Rangers a 3-1 series lead as they head back to Montreal. St. Louis was the hero, but the story of the game was the offensive zone penalties for the Rangers. They took seven (!!) of them, but managed to hold Montreal off on six of them, including a critical one in overtime. Undisciplined play almost doomed the Rangers, but they claimed victory from the jaws of defeat.

Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves, beating out Dustin Tokarski’s 26 saves showing that Tokarski’s steal of Game Three was a steal, not the norm. Goals came from Hagelin, Brassard, and MSL for the Rangers, showing that much needed depth. They also played a significant portion of the game without J.T. Miller, who was injured after being cross-checked by Andrei Markov into the post.

On to the goals (no pictures, sorry):

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Series far from over: Galchenyuk’s face wins it in overtime

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Alex Galchenyuk took a puck off the face in overtime to win the game for the Habs, drawing them closer to a series tie with the Rangers. Galchenyuk crashed the net on Tomas Plekanec’s shot, and the ensuing rebound went off his face and into the net for the overtime winner. This came minutes into overtime, just after the Rangers tied the game dramatically with a goal in the final 30 seconds of the game.

Dustin Tokarski was phenomenal in the game, stopping 35 of 37 shots and truly preventing the Rangers from breaking the game open in the first period. He also appeared to have MSL’s number, stopping him with numerous glove saves at point-blank range. Hank stole Game Two for the Rangers, and Tokarski stole Game Three.

On to the goals:

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Rangers finally win a Game Two, come home with 2-0 lead

Two games, two goals for Nash. (Photo by Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)

Two games, two goals for Nash. (Photo by Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)

The streak has been snapped. Our long wait is over. The Rangers have finally won a Game Two after winning a Game One. It seems like the last time this happened was in 1927 (was more like 2007 or so), and the “streak” was really no more than sheer coincidence, but hey, they won. And the best part is that they are coming home with a 2-0 lead against a team whose house has been a house of horrors for so long. Sure, Dustin Tokarski isn’t Carey Price, but this was more about the Rangers again using speed and depth to torment the Habs.

Henrik Lundqvist was phenomenal again, stopping 40 of 41 shots that the Habs threw on him. The one goal he let up was more of a fluke, which now makes two fluke goals and a seven-man goal for the Habs. The big guns (Rick Nash, Martin St. Louis, and Ryan McDonagh) all scored huge goals for the club, while Derek Stepan added a pair of assists. Another complete team win. Apologies in advance that there are no pictures for this goal breakdown, but it’s late and it’s been a long day.

On to the goals.

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