Archive for Game Wrap-ups
Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals went to the Rangers, and that game was more eventful than about 90% of the previous 12 playoff games played by the Rangers this year. This game was pretty fast paced, with the Rangers and Lightning exchanging rushes and getting shot attempts. Both Ben Bishop and Henrik Lundqvist stood tall, especially Bishop –who is really tall anyway– who made 28 saves. Lundqvist made 23 saves.
The Rangers really controlled play against the Lightning yesterday, putting up a 60% puck possession advantage throughout the contest. They also controlled the scoring chance battle, really getting back to their rush game and getting those chances (more on that below). The Lightning did not follow the mold of the Caps and Penguins before them, and did not clog the neutral zone. The Rangers took advantage to get those attempts. That said, both Ranger goals were of the “greasy, dirty, gritty” variety. Gotta have both.
On to the goals:
For the second year in a row in the Division Finals, the New York Rangers erased a 3-1 series deficit to advance to the Conference Finals. Once again, this game ended with a 2-1 score. Once again, the goaltenders stood on their heads. Once again, the Rangers won an elimination game at home.
Braden Holtby had 37 saves. Henrik Lundqvist had 35 saves. Both goalies put on a clinic in this series. Both goalies are the reasons why this series went seven. The Rangers won, but give Holtby his due. Wow.
That’s all I got folks. On to the goals:
The New York Rangers were finally able to solve Braden Holtby multiple times, making the netminder look human in their 4-3 nail biter victory last night. Chris Kreider scored in the first minute and last second of the first period to give the Rangers an early two-goal lead. Both of those goals were deflating for the Washington Capitals, but they answered back on a Jason Chimera goal in the first minute of the second.
Rick Nash and Dan Boyle gave the Rangers a commanding 4-1 lead in the third, but the Caps came roaring back to make it 4-3 with nine minutes left in the game. After that (and all game, to be honest), it was all Henrik Lundqvist. The All-World netminder stopped 42 total shots, many of them difficult, as he almost willed the team into a Game Seven back at MSG.
The most important aspect of this game, aside from the win, is that Braden Holtby looked human for the first time these playoffs. The forecheck was tenacious, and the Rangers finally got men in front to provide screens on attempts. Holtby bobbled a few shots, which is something he hadn’t done through the first five games.
On to the goals:
Sorry I couldn’t get the goal breakdown last night folks, but they won, so I don’t think anyone really cares that I missed it. Anywho, I GIF’d up the Ryan McDoangh overtime winner here, and here it is in all its glory:
A lot happens on this play, so let’s break it down. First things first, you notice how Jesper Fast creates this entire goal with two plays. First, he pressures Curtis Glencross into a neutral zone turnover.
Sorry for the lack of a detailed game breakdown, the kind you get to enjoy from Dave. Dave had the audacity not to watch game five and I haven’t the time to do a full write up either but wanted to pass on some thoughts on the game so here we go. First, a very quick look at how the game was won.
The Rangers have scored eighteen goals in ten playoff games. Needless to say, that’s an incredibly low total and would usually mean golf tee-times booked by now but the Rangers have managed to extend their season at least one more game. The Rangers did so by sticking to their game plan, admirably never panicking and allowing their defense to continue to play aggressively.
After two frustrating periods, the Rangers seemed set for the start of the summer as another defensive gaffe by the Rangers (this time Keith Yandle choosing a horrible time to pinch) saw the Caps break in two-on-oh against Henrik Lundqvist midway through the third. Lundqvist saved Curtis Glencross’ initial shot but couldn’t save the rebound which Glencross chipped up over Lundqvist to give the Caps the lead.
The Rangers never relented and tied the game as the clock was about to strike twelve. Keith Yandle, somewhat redeeming his costly error on the Caps goal, got the puck to Derek Stepan who circled back along the left boards in the Caps zone and dropped the puck to Chris Kreider whose shot through traffic took an oh so minor deflection before beating Holtby. Queue pandemonium. Queue overtime.
Andre Burakovsky scored twice, and it was all the Washington Capitals needed to put the President’s Trophy winning New York Rangers on the brink of elimination. For the second straight game, the Rangers were the better team, dominating the Caps all over the ice. But for the second straight game, Braden Holtby pulled a rabbit out of his hat, and stole a game for the Caps.
Henrik Lundqvist did everything humanly possible to give the Rangers a win, but he has to be perfect in order for this club to win. Neither of the goals from Burakovsky were on him, but since the Rangers can’t buy a goal with all of King Midas’ gold (or silver), the Caps came away with the win. It’s maddening to watch a goalie like Lundqvist, who has a .940 SV% these playoffs, go down 3-1 in a series because his team has scored four goals in five goals in four games, with three coming in Game Two. You can’t win if you can’t score.
On to the goals:
The most frustrating part about last night’s game wasn’t the result, it was the fact that the Rangers couldn’t buy a goal, couldn’t get a bounce, and the one favorable bounce went the Capitals’ way. The Rangers played their best game of the postseason, getting a high number of quality chances, but the bounces didn’t go their way. Pucks hopped over sticks. Shots went just wide. Loose pucks were just out of reach. Loose pucks hit legs instead of sticks. Oy.
Braden Holtby was again solid in net, getting the shutout with 30 saves. The feeling was that the Rangers took a lot of “outside shots” because everything “hit Holtby in the chest.” It’s worth noting that these two items do not correlate. The Rangers had a lot of high quality chances. And getting hit in the chest is the mark of good positioning. Henrik Lundqvist was just as good, making more highlight-reel saves, but it was a shot from below the goal line that snuck past him after a pair of awkward bounces.
Blame for this game, because blame needs to go somewhere apparently, has been on Rick Nash and Keith Yandle. Let’s straighten this out for a second. First, that goal was, in no way, shape, or form, Yandle’s fault. Second, Nash played a phenomenal game. Dude can’t buy a goal, despite great chances. Even though he didn’t score, he did everything else right.
On to the goal:
The New York Rangers evened the series with the Washington Capitals with a very strong 3-2 win in Game Two. This was a completely different Rangers team throughout the game, as they forced the Caps to play their game. The Rangers were aggressive on the forecheck, forcing turnovers, and using a combination of rushes and strong zone play to wear down the Caps and get quality scoring chances.
Braden Holtby and Henrik Lundqvist were unreal in this game. Holtby made 29 very difficult saves, and Lundqvist made 34 saves. Both had a bunch of highlight reel saves (all available on www.nyrgifs.com), but Hank made the save of the season with a spinning cartwheel save on Evgeny Kuznetsov:
I can watch that save all day. But this series is certainly nerve-wracking. I don’t know how much more of this I can take.
On to the goals:
The New York Rangers entered last night’s game looking to take advantage of a supposedly tired Washington Capitals team. The Rangers were fresh off a week long break. The Caps had just played a grueling seven game series. Instead, the Caps played suffocating defense through 55 minutes, limiting the Rangers’ chances to the outside, and eventually got a late goal from Joel Ward with less than two seconds remaining to get the win.
The Rangers looked slow and rusty in their first game in a week, and it took them 55 minutes to get to that wide-open, rush style play that they like. They played the Caps game until then, and the Caps played their low-event hockey perfectly, relying on an absolute rip from Alex Ovechkin on the powerplay to take a 1-0 lead late into the third. Jesper Fast got the tying goal late, but the Rangers took a nap in the final two seconds before Ward’s tying goal.
The Rangers tried to contain Ovechkin, who was a machine all night. When he gets going, no one is going to stop him. I think they did a decent job of limiting him to the outside for the most part, but he did wind up with 16 scoring chances for (SCF) to just 6 against. He had a 2:1 ratio for CF and FF as well. He’s a game breaker, and if you limit him to one PPG from the outside, I consider it a win. That said, they still lost.
On to the goals:
The New York Rangers made us sweat, but it was Carl Hagelin’s goal in overtime that gave the Rangers the series in just five games. This was a very tight game throughout, with Henrik Lundqvist and Marc-Andre Fleury putting on a clinic in keeping your team in it. This was a much better 60+ minute showing for the Rangers, who came out flat two nights ago but still managed to eke out a win, as both teams played a fast-paced, physical game.
All four games that the Rangers won came at a 2-1 score, with the final two coming in overtime. There’s not much else to breakdown. Enjoy it folks. On to the goals: