Category: Game Wrap-ups

In Henrik we trust: Rangers complete the comeback, headed to Conference Finals

History.

History.

Henrik Lundqvist made history last night, becoming the first goalie in NHL history to win five straight Game Sevens, as the Rangers completed their comeback and eliminated the #2 seeded Pittsburgh Penguins. The 2-1 victory was highlighted by Lundqvist and his 35 saves, almost single-handedly willing the Rangers to their first playoff series victory over Sidney Crosby. After appearing to be dead and gone after Game Four, the Rangers played the way we expected them to, and came roaring back to take the series.

Brad Richards scored the eventual game winner on the powerplay, and Brian Boyle –who must have read my appreciation post– opened the scoring just 5:25 into the game. Lundqvist, Dan Girardi, and Ryan McDonagh were stellar, as Chris said they would need to be, completely shutting down the top line of Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Chris Kunitz. While the big guns showed up, the Rangers were simply too deep for the Penguins once they got going. On paper the Pens had the top-end skill, but the Rangers had the goaltending, defense, and depth. Depth won out.

On to the goals:

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Rangers force Game Seven

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Rangers forced a Game Seven against the Penguins, winning Game Six by a score of 3-1. The Rangers rode the emotions of the must-win game, but also have been quoted stating they are playing for Martin St. Louis, to not let him down. It’s only fitting that St. Louis got the crowd into it and set the tone for the game by getting to the net and scoring the first goal of the game. Carl Hagelin scored the eventual game winner just minutes later on a soft goal by Marc-Andre Fleury. Henrik Lundqvist was again phenomenal in this game, stopping 36 shots.

This game was not without its feisty-ness. While the Rangers are no saints, I would like to point out the Sidney Crosby nut shot to Dominic Moore, the Crosby slew foot on Dan Girardi, the Chris Kunitz cheap shot to Moore, and of course the Hank squirting Crosby with his water bottle. But yet the Pittsburgh media wants to call out Marc Staal for his cross check to Crosby. Yes, that was a penalty, get over it. It’s not like the Penguins are saints.

On to the goals:

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Brassard has three point night, powerplay scores two as Rangers keep season alive

Still alive. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Still alive. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

You read that title correctly. The Rangers scored a pair of powerplay goals last night en route to a 5-1 victory over the Penguins in Game Five. Derick Brassard scored twice and added an assist in a very strong showing by the young center. Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves, some pretty solid, as he kept the Penguins from evening the score during their onslaught early in the second period. Chris Kreider and Ryan McDonagh also contributed with goals.

Aside from the powerplay, one of the bigger stories in this game was the play of Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury has had a reputation –well earned, mind you– of falling apart in the playoffs, and last night was the first time we saw him show that inconsistent play. He hasn’t really been spectacular in the series, but last night the first and fourth goals were shots that he should have stopped. He was also leaving lots of rebounds all night. It’s something we’ve been screaming for: Shoot the puck on Fleury.

On to the goals:

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Costly turnovers put Rangers on the brink

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The theme of last night’s game was turnovers. The Rangers committed a lot of them, and the Penguins converted on enough of them to put the Rangers on the brink of elimination. The first three Penguins goals were the direct result of turnovers, with the back-breaking fourth the result of one of the worst defensive breakdowns I’ve seen in the playoffs. The Rangers managed just 14 shots on goal, while Henrik Lundqvist was hung out to dry, stopping 23 shots.

On the bright side, the Rangers managed to snap Marc-Andre Fleury’s shutout streak at 145:30 (!!!!!!!!) when Carl Hagelin broke down the seam and beat Flower glove side. They even managed to score a second, a typical FLOLeury goal by Mats Zuccarello. But yet, they still managed just 14 shots on goal, despite Pittsburgh playing with just five defensemen. Other numbers of note: The Rangers won just 39% of their face offs. Sigh.

On to the goals:

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Rangers make Fleury look like Dryden, Pens take 2-1 lead

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

The Rangers have simply made Marc-Andre Fleury look like Ken Dryden this series. This time around, Fleury stopped all 35 shots directed at him to record his second shutout in as many days as the Penguins took Game Three by a score of 2-0. Fleury benefited from three Ranger posts in the second period, but the fact remains that the Rangers went 0-5 on the powerplay, bringing their streak up to 0-32 or 0-33. I lost count honestly.

Henrik Lundqvist played another solid game, but was beaten on two breakaways. The Penguins managed just 15 shots on goal as well, as the Rangers had dominant puck possession even before the Penguins stopped playing offense. New York had a 34-21 Fenwick advantage at the time of Pittsburgh’s second goal, which was 21-17 at even strength. By the end of the game, the Rangers had a 36-17 Fenwick advantage at even strength (52-21 in all situations). Doesn’t matter though. They got shut out.

On to the goals:

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Powerplay fails Rangers as Pens even series

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

That ugly feeling hit 9:04 into the first period. The Rangers had just failed to score on their third straight powerplay opportunity. Nine minutes, six of them on the powerplay, no goals, and just five shot attempts during that span. Stomachs started turning, and at that moment many knew how this game would go. The fact of the matter is that those six minutes cost the Rangers the game, a game in which Henrik Lundqvist almost committed highway robbery. Those six minutes gave the Penguins life, when the Rangers could have put the game away.

Instead Hank stood on his head –making 33 of the most unbelievable saves I’ve ever seen– in a losing effort. Marc-Andre Fleury, who played well, stopped all 22 shots the Rangers threw at him. The Pens had a whopping 65% Corsi advantage. Pittsburgh played perfect hockey after those three penalties (even had perfect penalty kills), and you have to tip your hat to them. They won the game, and the Rangers are clearly gassed with another game coming up tonight.

On to the goals:

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Brassard wins it in overtime, Rangers take Game One

Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images

Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images

Derick Brassard become the first player in NHL history to record an overtime winner and an overtime assist (same with Benoit Pouliot I guess), as he roofed a pass from Pouliot over Marc-Andre Fleury in overtime, giving the Rangers a 3-2 victory in Game One. The Rangers won this game not through puck possession domination, but by cashing in on poor Penguins defense and turnovers. Their final two goals were the direct result of poor coverage, and their first was a result of Fleury being FLOLeury.

Pouliot (1-1-2) and Dan Girardi (0-2-2) were the two Rangers that recorded multi-point nights. Henrik Lundqvist was outstanding, making 34 saves to hold a potent Pittsburgh offense at bay. The overall team defense was –as per usual– fantastic. Anton Stralman and Marc Staal were assigned the Sidney Crosby line, while Evgeni Malkin wound up drawing the Dan Girardi-Ryan McDonagh combo (Pens had last change, and kept Crosby away from Girardi/McDonagh). Both sets of defensemen were excellent in shutting down the two superstars. The Rangers needed their defense to perform, and they did.

On to the goals:

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Rangers send Flyers packing; Head to Pittsburgh

Little dude, big game. (Photo: AP)

Little dude, big game. (Photo: AP)

The Rangers came out, matched Philly blow for blow in the first, and then used an absolutely dominating performance in the second period to send their longtime rival packing for the season. The Rangers scored two in the second and held a 21-7 Fenwick advantage at even strength in the period. The Flyers made a run in the third, getting a goal from Jason Akeson and pressuring the Rangers for the tie, but in the end it was the even strength play that won out.

Dan Carcillo got the Rangers on the board after serving a too many men penalty, the second time he’s scored right out of the box. Benoit Pouliot added the second goal as a part of that huge second period that saw pure domination from the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist was stellar, making 26 saves, many of them difficult. But perhaps the best player on the ice was Anton Stralman, who played the best game I’ve ever seen him play as a Ranger. This was a solid win.

On to the goals:

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Simmonds nets three, Flyers force Game 7

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The title of this goal breakdown says it all. Wayne Simmonds scored thrice, and the Flyers forced the Rangers into a Game Seven at MSG tonight. The Rangers completely owned the first six minutes of the game, but an ill-advised Benoit Pouliot penalty –followed by Simmonds’ first goal– was the beginning of the end for the Blueshirts. The Rangers lost all momentum they had after pure domination, gave up a powerplay goal, and couldn’t recover.

Way too many people blamed Henrik Lundqvist –who was pulled for the third period– for this loss, but that’s just silly. As you’ll see in the breakdown, there were two Dan Girardi giveaways, a breakaway, and a blatantly blown coverage in the four goals allowed. I get that people expect him to steal games and whatnot, but this isn’t the kind of game he’s going to be able to steal. Plus, the Rangers are the better team. Hank shouldn’t need to steal games from the Flyers.

It doesn’t matter. It’s win or go home tonight. On to last night’s goals:

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Dominic Moore leads Rangers to 3-2 series lead

Score a goal, tackle a giant. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Score a goal, tackle a giant. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Rangers regained control of this series, with a big 4-2 win over the Flyers yesterday at MSG. Dominic Moore scored what turned out to be the game winning goal on a great individual effort in the second period, then assisted on Brian Boyle’s empty net goal to seal it in the third. Moore also went 6-1 on face offs (86%) while playing a key role on the penalty kill as he practically willed the Rangers to victory.

Philly controlled puck possession throughout the game, something they haven’t done all series. But yet again, goaltending was the difference. Henrik Lundqvist made 24 saves on 26 shots, but stopped every single puck thrown at him at even strength. Meanwhile, Steve Mason allowed three even strength goals, and that was the difference in the game.

On to the goals:

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