Category: Playoffs

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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Eastern Conference Finals Game 6: Spare us agony, please win tonight

Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

After Tuesday’s debacle, the Rangers are back home with another chance to close out the Eastern Conference Finals and play either the Kings or the Hawks. A desperate Canadiens team, without Dale Weise but with Brandon Prust, stands in their way. Raphael Diaz is in the lineup tonight, subbing for the suspended John Moore.

Suit wrote a preview of the series, and you should definitely be reading that. Justin also scouted out Carey Price, who is skating but still not playing. This series can’t go to Montreal for a Game Seven. It simply can’t.

Rangers Lines (unconfirmed):

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Rangers need someone to emerge from impressive team depth

Does Kreider have the overall game to be the Rangers go-to guy on offense? (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Does Kreider have the overall game to be the Rangers go-to guy on offense? (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Rangers are on the cusp of the Stanley Cup for several reasons, but one of the main reasons is their team depth. Eight players currently have ten or more points in this years playoffs, while nine forwards currently average over fourteen minutes per game. However, among this depth is also a lingering problem; no player has truly emerged as the go-to guy on offense.

Martin St Louis has recently shown a consistency that the entire league has been accustomed to seeing from him for a decade, and when you factor in his tragic circumstances, his performance has been admirable. Meanwhile Chris Kreider has produced in bursts and is the only Ranger that is producing at a point per game rate (nine in ten, to date) but Kreider has been defensively erratic and has produced in bunches. Can he be relied upon to be THE difference maker?

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The must win that is Game Six

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

If you were to tell me, at the start of this series, that the Rangers were going to take two of three from the Canadiens in Montreal, I’d be happy. If you told me that they were coming home to a Game Six up 3-2 in the series, I’d be happy. This is why I’m not panicking over the ugly loss on Tuesday night. It was one ugly loss. They happen. Luckily in the playoffs, players have short memories and they move on.

Yet the mood among the fanbase is one of panic. The Rangers had a chance to close out the series in Montreal and could not do so. Their defense and goaltending –two critical parts of their identity– failed them. The offense put up a lot of goals, but the rest of the play wasn’t there. They are still leading in the series, coming home to a rocking Garden with a chance to close out the series.

There is no such thing as game-to-game momentum. Each game starts fresh. Each team made adjustments. Each team has an altered game plan. Game Five has no bearing on Game Six, aside from the suspension of John Moore. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that this is indeed a must-win game for the Rangers.

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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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Eastern Conference Finals Game 5: Finish them

Photo: USA Today

Photo: USA Today

For the first time in 20 years, the Rangers are one win away from the Stanley Cup Finals. They found a way to win a Game Four that they didn’t deserve to win, and now hold a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Canadiens. Derek Stepan is a maybe go for tonight. If he can’t go, one of JesperFast/Oscar Lindberg will dress for the injured J.T. Miller.

Suit wrote a preview of the series, and you should definitely be reading that. Justin also scouted out Carey Price, and if this series goes beyond tonight we may see him back in net. It’s time to end this series, and get some much-needed rest.

Rangers Lines (unconfirmed):

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Thoughts heading into a clincher

Photo: Gerry Images

Photo: Gerry Images

The Rangers are in Montreal tonight with the chance to win the series and play for the Stanley Cup. There are a lot of thoughts running around the brain of mine, and I like bulleted lists.

  • There is a big need to close this series out as fast as possible. The Rangers are banged up, and could use as much rest as possible. Derek Stepan needs time to adjust to a full cage and playing with a broken jaw as well.
  • While there is a big need to win immediately, I won’t panic if they lose Game Five. Yea, it’s not the ideal scenario, but the panic won’t start then. Now, if they lose Games Five and Six, then there will be serious concern.
  • I will say this, if they lose tonight, they must win on Thursday. If they lose both, there is no way they win Game Seven. I know that Hank is unreal in Game Sevens, but they need to win before it gets to that point.

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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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Eastern Conference Finals Game 4: Rebound, put them on the brink, supply Kleenex

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Rangers dropped Game Three in overtime after Alex Galchenyuk scored off his face, putting the Habs back in the series despite beating Hank clean just once so far. After that, we had two very entertaining off days involving fake injuries, cameos at practice, injury threats, and probably some form of first-born stealing. But none of that matters. The Rangers are now without Derek Stepan and Dan Carcillo, but are at least getting Derick Brassard back. The Habs are without ex-New York favorite Brandon Prust.

Suit wrote a preview of the series, and you should definitely be reading that. Justin also scouted out Carey Price, but that’s relatively useless now (but he should probably do one on Dustin Tokarski….hint hint Justin). This is a big game for both teams. If the Rangers lose, they squandered every advantage they had by taking the firs two in Montreal. If they win, then they have a stranglehold on the series.

Rangers Lines (unconfirmed):

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Let’s take a moment to ignore the Habs

He's faking it, right? (Photo: Getty)

He’s faking it, right? (Photo: Getty)

If you have been around and paying any sort of attention to hockey lately, then you’ve heard the varying scandals that the New York Rangers have apparently been instigating. Two offensive scandals have surfaced over the past day alone. First along came Derek Stepan’s not-really-broken jaw. Secondly, a “gentleman’s agreement” gone wrong with Ulf Sameulsson attending the Montreal Canadiens’ morning practice. If you’re a Canadiens fan, you must be asking yourself – when will the madness end?

Actually, if you’re a fan of the sport at all, you’re probably asking when this madness will end. Without paying attention to the cheap shot heard round the world (except for Montreal, apparently), the whining that has been happening so awfully frequently lately is exhausting. Let’s entertain the most recent issues that have the Canadiens locker room all up in arms.

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