Archive for Playoffs

May
14

Rangers against Tampa Bay: quick hits

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With the Rangers stunning victory over the Capitals now in the history books, attention will now turn to the Eastern Conference finals and opponents Rangers South Tampa Bay. There’ll be a more thorough look ahead to the ECF over the next couple days but let’s throw up some quick hits about the matchup with the high octane Lightning.

The Rangers can’t progress past the Lightning if they play the way they did against the Caps. The Rangers never-give-up attitude was admirable, their play at times impressive but individual errors, inconsistency and a lack of a 60 minute effort in any of the seven games against the Caps will be more ruthlessly punished against Tampa.

Somehow the Rangers managed to outlast Braden Holtby. That was after they ran into a hot goalie in Marc Andre Fleury in round one. It begs the question, are the Rangers struggling to finish or have they really faced two exceptional goalies on a hot streak? Where does Ben Bishop sit amongst opposing goaltenders?

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Categories : Playoffs
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May
14

Conference Finals schedule

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The schedule for the Conference Finals between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning has been released, with the series starting this Saturday.

  • Game 1: Sat 5/16 at NYR, NBC at 1pm
  • Game 2: Mon 5/18 at NYR, NBCSN at 8pm
  • Game 3, Wed 5/20 at TBL, NBCSN at 8pm
  • Game 4, Fri 5/22 at TBL, NBCSN at 8pm
  • Game 5, Sun 5/24 at NYR, NBCSN at 8pm
  • Game 6, Tues 5/26 at TBL, NBCSN at 8pm
  • Game 7, Fri 5/29 at NYR, NBCSN at 8pm
Categories : Playoffs
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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:

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Categories : Game Wrap-ups, Playoffs
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The Rangers have not made it easy on us, but they have fought back to take this series to a seventh game. Down 3-1 in the series and 1-0 in Game Five, Chris Kreider scored with 1:41 remaining in the third before Ryan McDonagh sent the fans home happy. In Game Six, the Rangers had a 4-1 lead in the third, but gave two back and didn’t muster a shot attempt in the last 15 minutes, barely holding on to even the series.

Now it’s Game Seven. The best and worst two words in sports.

Kevin did a nice run down of how the Caps play today, Justin broke down how to beat Braden Holtby, Chris did a full preview of the series, and I wrote about why shadowing Ovechkin isn’t the right move. If you haven’t checked those out, you should. They are good reads while waiting for the game to begin.

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Categories : Game Thread, Playoffs
Comments (24)
May
13

Game 7 is Lundqvist time

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We all know where things stand, and at this point further analysis seems pointless.

The reality of a win-or-go-home game is that a single bounce can end your season – or extend it.

As most expected, Washington has given New York all it can handle over the last two weeks. The Blueshirts’ affinity for one-goal games has gotten extremely annoying, but it’s unlikely to change tonight. Read More→

Categories : Playoffs
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May
12

Random musings on an off day

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The Rangers and Caps have an unusual two-day break between games six and seven, so today is an off day for both teams, their second in a row. The Rangers have come roaring back in this series, tying it at three games a piece after being down 3-1. While the Rangers never truly looked out of the series or dominated in any game, the Caps were on their way to being that dominated team on Sunday night. That was until a dominant third period, where they didn’t allow a shot attempt by the Rangers in the final 15 minutes.

With an extra day off, the news will be slow. So why not do a brain dump?

  • Ryan McDonagh was banged up by Alex Ovechkin, and Tim Gleason appeared to be hurt as well. This gives them both an extra day to heal. This helps the Rangers more than it does the Caps. Nate Schmidt was called up by the Caps just in case Gleason can’t go, but many want Schmidt to play over Gleason anyway.
  • The extra day favors the Rangers on the injury front, but not on the goaltender rest front. Braden Holtby looked a little tired in Game Six. Suit noted in the comments of the goal breakdown that he was dropping early, a sign of fatigue. The extra day helps him.

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Categories : Musings, Playoffs
Comments (19)
May
11

Chris Kreider is a beast

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When Mats Zuccarello went down with a concussion –side bar: It is not a fractured skull. That was a baseless rumor started by a faceless Twitter rumor account that just wanted attention. Rule of thumb, if the rumor comes from an account with no face, it’s not a rumor– we knew someone on the Rangers would have to step up. Zuccarello is an integral part of the offense, and not easily replaced.

Chris Kreider, who had a relatively quiet series against the Penguins, has stepped up to the plate. He has four goals this series, three of which have come in the last two games with the Rangers facing elimination. It’s not like he’s just getting garbage goals either. He’s scoring at key times that give the Rangers an extra boost.

His offensive outburst started in Game Two, when his early goal set the mood for a Rangers win to even the series.

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Categories : Players, Playoffs
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May
11

Goal breakdown: Rangers force Game Seven

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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:

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Categories : Game Wrap-ups, Playoffs
Comments (56)

The Rangers forced Game Six on Friday night, with Chris Kreider tying the game late and Ryan McDonagh scoring the overtime winner. The Blueshirts have another do or die game tonight in Washington, needing a win to send it back to New York. That, of course, is no easy task, but this team has shown they can come from behind before.

The Rangers finally managed to beat Holtby for a few, and it came on the exact same kind of play: A shot from the slot with traffic in front, after making Holtby move laterally. It’s not going to be easy beating him, but that seems to be the recipe. Bodies in front, make him move, and get shots through.

Kevin did a nice run down of how the Caps play today, Justin broke down how to beat Braden Holtby, Chris did a full preview of the series, and I wrote about why shadowing Ovechkin isn’t the right move. If you haven’t checked those out, you should. They are good reads while waiting for the game to begin.

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Categories : Game Thread, Playoffs
Comments (22)

Quick note: I won’t be making GIFs or doing a goal breakdown tonight. I have plans and can’t watch this game. Thank you NHL scheduling. They should contact me next time.

This is it for the New York Rangers. It’s do or die. Down 3-1 to the Washington Capitals, despite dominating the puck possession game, the Rangers need to find a way to solve Braden Holtby, first and foremost. Holtby has stolen a pair of games this series already in Washington, and has made difficult saves look very easy all series. The Caps have also helped on defense, blocking shots in a way that is reminiscent of the 2012 Tortorella Rangers.

Making Holtby move laterally is a good start, but that requires crisp passing, something the Rangers have had trouble doing all series. The Caps are taking away the passing lanes while collapsing to block shots, which has been maddening. They’ve also been clogging the neutral zone, which has limited rush chances with speed and forced dump-and-chase hockey for the Rangers. They’ve responded reasonably well in the offensive zone, but their neutral zone strategy hasn’t changed.

Kevin did a nice run down of how the Caps play today, Justin broke down how to beat Braden Holtby, Chris did a full preview of the series, and I wrote about why shadowing Ovechkin isn’t the right move. If you haven’t checked those out, you should. They are good reads while waiting for the game to begin.

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Categories : Game Thread, Playoffs
Comments (13)