Game ThreadPlayoffs

Metro Semis Game Five: Avoid embarrassment, live to fight another day

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Could this be the final game of the season for the Rangers? Logic and past performance in these situations says no, but recent performance in this series says yes. If this is the final game of the series, then let’s hope it is one we can be proud of, as the Rangers have stunk the past two games. At the very least, make it a nice send off for Dan Boyle.

But then there’s the part of me that remembers what they’ve done the past two years. This is the third straight year they’ve been down 3-1 in a series. The core from both those comebacks is still here. But do they have the mindset required to make another comeback? They can, we know it. Let’s hope they figure it out. No one wants this season to end in April.

Be sure to check out our series preview, systems preview, stats preview, and goaltender preview posts if you haven’t already. Some quality reading from the amazing writers here.

Penguins Lines

Chris Kunitz-Sidney Crosby-Patric Hornqvist
Carl Hagelin-Nick Bonino-Phil Kessel
Bryan Rust-Evgeni Malkin-Conor Sheary
Tom Kuhnhackl-Matt Cullen-Eric Fehr

Olli Maata-Kris Letang
Brian Dumoulin-Travor Daley
Ben Lovejoy-Ian Cole

PP1: Crosby-Malkin-Kessel-Hornqvist-Letang
PP2: Kunitz-Bonino-Sheary-Daley-Maata

PK: Crosby, Hagelin, Cullen, Fehr, Kuhnhackl, Maata, Letang, Daley, Dumoulin

Matt Murray gets the start.

Rangers Lines (Presumed)

Rick NashDerick Brassard–Mats Zuccarello
Chris KreiderDerek StepanJesper Fast
Oscar LindbergEric StaalJ.T. Miller
Raphael DiazDominic MooreViktor Stalberg

Marc Staal-Ryan McDonagh
Keith Yandle-Kevin Klein
Keith Yandle-Dan Girardi

PP1: Yandle-Klein-Miller-Hayes-Fast
PP2: Zucc-Yandle-Kreider-Stepan-Brassard

PK: Stepan, Moore, Nash, Fast, Glass, Skjei, Staal, Klein, Girardi

Henrik Lundqvist gets the start.

Scratches/Injuries: Kevin Hayes (healthy), Dylan McIlrath (healthy), Tanner Glass (healthy), Dan Boyle (healthy)

Crazy Prediction: They don’t stink up the joint.

Be sure to check out our ticket link if you’re looking for tickets to the game. Game time is 3pm on NBC. All gifs will be on nyrgifs.com.

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  • They are going to come out like a house afire. It will be a display that will get us shaking our heads about where THESE guys have been and what those guys in the blue and red did with them in games 3 & 4.

    Rangers will win this game. Hank is going to be nearly unbeatable, Yandle will be all over the ice and Nash crashes the net, Kreider goes back to hitting everything that moves (and pops one in) and tattered confidence will be revived.

    Unfortunately, then there will still be at least one more elimination game against a fast, highly talented and well coached team (which I hate, but…).

  • Love the low ceiling approach, Dave.

    Okay, all together…

    “C’mon baby, take a chance with us
    C’mon baby, take a chance with us
    C’mon baby, take a chance with us

    And meet me at the back of the blue bus
    Doin’ a blue rock, on a blue bus
    Doin’ a blue rock, c’mon, yeah
    Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill
    This is the end, beautiful friend”

  • If the Rangers that played game 2 show up, it will be a fine game, deserving of the playoffs for Lord Stanley of Preston’s Cup, no matter the result.

  • No one will agree with me but frankly I can’t understand why AV trots Fast out there on the PK. He sucks on the PK.

  • It’s amazing how many Pitt high sticks aren’t getting called this series. I know it’s nothing new, but wow. I just felt it needed to be said.

  • Just too many players MIA in this series, Miller, Zucc, Brassard, E.Staal, Klein, Yandle, McDonagh, Lundqvist, all have done little or nothing.

  • Man, this is going to be a very different team next year, hopefully. This is an embarrassing effort from everybody. Even you, Hank.

  • We just got systemically taken apart.

    Fire all the coaches. Why even play the regular season if you put this effort in the playoffs.

    • You said it, Canadian Pope Paul.

      Now correct me if I’m wrong; but I believe it was either Guy Fawkes, or Swarty/the Florida fugitive who said, “blow this f**ker up”.

      Indeed, appears the time is nigh.

      TSN disclosed that we lost four straight to goalkeepers who’d never started a postseason game. How ’bout that.

      All the best to you, Paul. Coach Walt. Hit-man Bobby B. Hatrick. Amish Eddie. Swarty the vice lord.

      See ‘ya’s at Draft-Day.

      -27 out

  • The PP was awful under Sullivan. He goes to Pittsburg and their power play goes 8 for 20 in the playoffs. Hmmmmm sounds like a personnel issue, not coaching.

  • And the window is SHUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let the dismantling begin. At least the Season wasn’t a total train-wreck——we did get cap-relief!! Have a nice summer guys. Looks like it could be a busy one—-hopefully!!!

  • Thus far the team is making a clear statement today. Attention should be paid to it.

    All in to win was as nuts as many of us thought. I hoped for the best but I feared this result. However, I never imagined them playing this badly. A busy summer indeed.

  • Hopefully, this season will put to rest the notion this team was worthy of an all-in strategy that includes the trading of more picks + prospects for aged veterans and/or rental players.

    I doubt Vigneault gets replaced but is he really the right coach to oversee the rebuild process that is upon this organization? Not in my view, he is not, and the reason for bringing him in no longer exists; i.e., work with the group of players inherited and get them over the top to the Cup.

    • Now we need to hear from the organization apologist Eddy, and have him justify all the need for the veteran leadership that wasn’t there, all the leadership that led the kids to an early shower, and golf season. I don’t ever want to see another trade where we give away draft picks for old worn out, early retirement ready players, NEVER AGAIN, hear that Gorton !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Bye to the old farts, enjoy your retirement, and never show your faces in MSG again !!!!!!!!!

      • Eddie & Mythdoc are out getting drunk in a bar near Minneapolis listening to Prince songs and discussing how the team let a HOF coach down.

    • Did AV flub an open net shot on goal? Did AV have no clue as to how to stop a guy coming into the zone—never even considering using the body(ala Brassard) Did AV let in 6 goals on 12 shots? Blame strategy, blame his lineups—but please—its on this group of players. Starting with the biggest flop on Broadway—Rick Nash—-and ending with our all-world Goalie!.. The King is dead!!!!!!! Sadly!!!!!

      • Stop Joe. It’s so much easier to blame a single person. Then when you replace that sole person, this team transforms into a Stanley cup winner.

        • From your lips to God’s ears!!!!! I’m afraid, many on this site will take that easy route and blame that one guy. Its gonna’ be some real interesting couple of months. Did anybody say, CHAOS????

      • I hope you were watching the same game I was. That was pure out coaching. AV got stuffed by sully. Everything they changed the pens kept figuring it out.

        Not sure how you can blame all the players when it’s the coaches job to get them to play.

        • That’s the same coach who couldn’t get a timely playoff goal out of the Rangers when he was the special teams coach you realize?

        • Whatever works for you man. If the coach is the problem then stick to that mindset. It gives you the perception that this team has a single problem and will be easily fixed by a coaching change.

          • You’re wasting your time. They’re not gonna’ be happy until they get a Messier, or a reasonable facsimile behind the bench. They totally ignore what this guy has done with a bunch of second and third liners. The problem is the lack of first line talent—the kind of talent that teams fear to face—and have to actually prepare for. Except for the goalie(until now), tell me who you would fear to face on this Ranger squad? There is nobody! And that’s the problem!!!!

          • Too bad you guys want to give the head coach a free pass, because really if he stays there, you are going to see more of the same. He alienated a bunch of players this year with dumb comments and poor coaching decisions. That man to man D zone play with defencemen chasing their prey out to the blueline was beyond absurd. Just imagine AV going into the room & giving a rousing speech which sets the team on fire. See? I rest my case.

          • And still managed to coach them to101 pts. This isn’t Rudy. If they need a coach’s speech at this stage, then there’s bigger problems in that locker room. The coach bashing and questioning of his lineups is just excuses. They don’t have enough first line talent to compete with a team that has a Crosby and a Malkin. And that huge gap in a-one talent was no more painfully obvious than in this series. My case closed!

          • I’m not giving the guy a free pass. But seriously if these paid professionals need a Braveheart speech before each game to get them going then they have no right putting on that uniform.

          • For a team that had 101 points, it don’t mean squat because they didn’t qualify until the last weekend of the season.

          • sure, they give away young talent, and #1 picks for years, and we’re picking over the junk heap for retread like all the old crap that played for us, please, I may be kicking a dead horse but this insanity has got to stop, once and for all!!!!!!!!

        • You said it, Mikeyyy.

          AV and his staff were continually a step behind. Strategically to psychologically, Sully proved himself a superior hockey mind and motivator.

          Torts had himself one helluva’ solid Number Two, apparently.

          That said, even the titans, i.e. Red Auerbach, Al Davis, eventually lose it.

      • Rick Nash, really? One of only maybe 3 or 4 players putting forth any effort. Please don’t start with the Nash bashing, you sound clueless.

        • The truth hurts. He gets a couple of goals, and you want to rebuild the myth again of the great-power forward. Totally ignoring his lousy season, coming off yet another lousy playoffs. Oh, I forgot, he was injured. Yeah, right. But then again, ‘he does soooo many other wonderful things’ for that big contract he gets. Except score on a regular basis—which unfortunately for him —is what he was brought here to do. Don’t talk to me about being clueless. Giving that amount of money to a player who performs at the level of a third or fourth liner is the definition of clueless.

          • The truth only hurts when it’s the truth, not the BS you are spouting. He scored 42 goals the year before & he missed a lot of time this year but he is not the source of the problem at all.

          • You’re right. I guess the reason they got there ass kicked is because your boyfriend Dylan couldn’t get a sniff of icetime. I’d accept that excuse from you more, than one that defends a stiff like Nash. A fourth liner getting a first line contract.

  • I just don’t get it, we’re we that bad or are the Penguins really that good? ? Ranger Brethren, I watch all NHL games during the playoffs, even the teams that loose a game or a series, left their heart and soul on the ice. They made the other team know they were not going down without a fight. Our team looked like , well no way are we going to beat these guys, let’s play nice and get to the golf course Asap. No passion, no nastiness, just going through the motions. This team has become way to complacent under the AV watch. Big contracts, to player’s on the decline, or some who are just there to collect a check.. As the late David Bowie once sang, CHANGES, turn and face the strain. Roll up your sleeves Gorton, you have a lot of work ahead of you.

  • And meanwhile my thread starter comment hangs out there like a turd over Ranger town.

    All season I thought maybe they are laying in the weeds this time. Despite some obvious shortcomings I though that will Staal and the right combos on D, they were just leaving something in the tank for a big playoff run. It turns out they are what they were all season, a team that has ratcheted down from the fast, well oiled President’s trophy winner that was 3 D lower body injuries away from a 2nd straight finals appearance. Maybe this all started in game 7 vs. Tampa. That performance looked eerily similar to this whole year and the last 2 games in particular.

    It’s just done. No real rationalizations needed. The goalie is over rated and good but not elite tier now even as some people still don’t want to admit it. They have a couple trading chips in Nash and maybe even Brassard (sell high?). I hope the real superstar on the team is Gorton. He’s got to realize that it’s time for a moderate rebuild that will put them out of contention for 2-4 years but assuming they can groom a young goalie.

    I loved this team, from when it battled its way to prominence under Torts to when it morphed into this fast, cycling relentless thing under Vigeneault.

    But it’s just time for whatever is next and we now will see what kind of GM we have.

  • It’s not blow it up, but AV has to go. The handling of personnel has been a mess all season, the inability to adapt quickly and the playing to the level of their opponent is what does it for me. Youse can talk about his past performance, but to say his work was found wanting this season is an understatement.

    For me, the blinders came off on the Western Canafa swing. It was that not only did he or have answers to how teams were playing them, he didn’t even know that he was being questioned.

  • Lots of changes need to be made. All due to poor contracts in this world of a strict salary cap. One cannot over pay at the time of signing without taking into regard how that player will perform in the middle and tail end of a contract for any POSITION.

    In my view (and ranked in order of overvalued based on comparative contracts in the NHL), the Rangers are 4 of the worst contracts at this moment.

    1. Lundquist
    2. Girardi
    3. M Staal
    4. Nash

    These players should be dealt this off season for upcoming players, draft picks, and/or players with more palatable contracts.

    Let’s look at Lundquist at 9 million and the highest paid in the NHL. Crawford only gets 6 million. One of the reasons for the three cups is that extra 3 million goes a long way to shoring up second and third D pairings and bottom 6 forwards.

    The same is true for the other three.

    I cannot say what the market will be and I understand no trade clauses, but these players will be persuaded to waive them.

    Ideally, some type of 3 way trade in which the Rangers get a high draft pick, proven 2nd line high motor players,and/or top AHL/KHL/euro talent.

    The Rangers need to be more like the Bkackhawks, everybody tgat is overpaid is expendable.

    • Do you even read what you write? You basically laid out the reasons why t none of those 4 you mentioned will be traded so easily. You bemoan the contracts, and then suggest that they be traded for draft picks and some proven talent. Unless I missed something, Mike Milbury is not back in the NHL. Other than him, who do you think would take those contracts? A little reality would really be appreciated.

      • Please do not be so dismissive.

        Trade them for anything. Just get the contract off the books.

        There are always teams willing to take those contracts for that last piece theory.

        The entire return in these trades is erasing the contract liability.

        Therefore if somebody wants Lundquist, they must take Girardi or M Staal. Same with Nash.

        Lundquist plus Giradi/Staal to Dallas, SJ or Anaheim is actually doable. Maybe even Phoenix or Vancouver.

        Return of a few picks and some viable second teir players is completely reasonable. Once again look at the Blackhawks.

        • You assume that teams are going to look at these guys as “last pieces” Why would they?
          Lets make this clear—-Hank is going NOWHERE!!!!! Come back to reality, please.
          As for the rest—if you can find any team that would be willing to make the kind of deals you’re proposing—-get on the phone to Gorton right away and alert him that there has been an influx of dumb-asses among the ranks of NHL GMs.

          • Read the NYPost

            Lundquist is gone and if not that is a huge mistake.

            Lundquist and Girardi

            Nash and M Staal

            I think Coyotes actually might take 3 of 4. Coyotes are close to playoffs plus a few high end players to draw fans. Most importantly, lots of cap room.

            Another possibility is Dallas. They need a goalie big time. Remember Hentik’s brother played for the Stars.

            Please at least remember you read this article when it happens!

      • Joe, you just ‘gotta get used to this Post-Facts World.

        Iraq? Of course they had WMDs! Dick Cheney, he of the what, nine or ten draft deferments, said so. “…Great and gathering storm.” What a gem.

        No; we can’t sandbag Garth Snow. Or pull a Dirty Sanchez on Milbury.

        No one’s gonna’ take our drag-a**, $7M draught horses, save for a Mexican slaughterhouse.

        Face it: we’re FUBAR’d.

        • I guess you’re supposed to be funny—I’m just not into that “look at me, and my clever responses,” using terms I’ve picked up here and there. The facts are this: the team made poor decisions on who to give long term, big money contracts to—while sacrificing people and assets for cap-relief or for a “win-now ” mentality. To think that this will be an easy thing to fix by firing a coach or by trying to palm off these guys and their bloated contracts, while still remaining competitive with a bunch of prospects and maybes is ludicrous. Next year will be a patchwork job of trying to take another run at it all—knowing full well that a full overhaul is needed——something they will NEVER admit. Get used to yesterday—-a lot more of them are in this teams’ future. Nothing funny, or clever about that!

          • And you remind me of that creepy guy in that Will Farrell ice skating flick, with the man crush on Farrell’s skating partner! 🙂

          • Hey Joe719, I appreciate that moment of self reflection you opened with. Above all, your candor.

            I’d have to agree with your point: Your name plus “clever responses” have proven as elusive as our Stanley Cup pursuits.

            Forasmuch, when your hockey IQ, or sentience, lurches from its discernible state of desuetude double back here.

            If anything, your posts help illustrate the average American’s ever shrinking vocabulary, if not the demise of intelligent conversation.

          • I can imagine the amount of smoke that emanated from your ears while you were constructing just the right comments to respond to me. It had the effect you wanted, I guess. At least Paul thinks your a real panic! And probably your shaving buddy in your mirror, too!!

          • Wow, Joe. You outdid yourself: by turns brain-dead baffling and regrettably unimaginative.

            Yes: “the right comments.”

            Imagine. The whole reason for being here. Thought out ideas advancing a collective dialogue.

            Indeed, my “shaving buddy” Paul brings passion coupled with noticeable insight to his presence here.

            Yea, we click that way.

            But for a mouth breather who oozes up from some Middle Earth tar-pit that’s apparently beyond your level of understanding.

  • Yes western Canada was the disaster that got me thinking that the team was no longer what it had been. I don’t blame it all on AV. He was playing the hand he was dealt most of the time.

    However, if he no longer can motivate then it might be time for him to go. Remembering the machine he had them playing as at one time tells me that he can definitely coach, but he may no longer have their ears.

    They also have major issues on the blue line and some forwards who don’t give their all. Revamping the team, unfortunately, will take more than one summer.

  • Nash’s contract is a tradeable asset if the Rangers eat half. At worst he’s a great penalty killer and with a proper coach he can probably back to a 30 goal scorer. Perhaps the trade can be dynamic where with production the Rangers retain less salary. At worst, he’s a rental for somebody who gets exposed in the expansion draft the following season.

    Girardi is unmovable due to price & term. If the D switched over to zone and you had him 3rd pair he could be a overpaid serviceable 6, but you’d have to add a tremendous number of assets to move him, even if he waived his NTC.

    Staal might be moveable, but anybody with half a brain has to be spooked by the decline of his brother. Again, assuming the NMC was waived.

    • Yup. Call the Cleveland Barons, then The California Golden Seals GMs.

      We’ll take Maruk and Meloche, “Crazy George” and his ‘fricking drum for Rick Nash.

      Perhaps The Kansas City Scouts will consider Marc Staal for Darcy Rota.

      Ottawa 67s?…

      My man Paul in Ontario’s ‘gotta know someone.

      • I used to know “jugsie” the grad school psychology secretary who went out with Slats a couple of times during training camp but dropped him like a hand grenade when she found out he was married. LOL!!!

  • The interview with Glass at the Post sealed it for me: AV treats em like pros, expects them to play to the standard. I’m all in favor of that if my guys wearing letters can handle the locker room. I don’t think they can, so if AV won’t do it, you’re gonna need a screamer to put a boot in their ass until you find leaders to handle it for him.

      • I don’t have a problem with AV delegating authority, just as long as he keeps them accountable and let shit roll downhill when they don’t do his job. Those moments were few and far between this season.

        His last post mortem ain’t far from this one.

  • AV never was the guy. Hank will have great comeback year next year. Team was too soft with no personality this year and for several years now. Prob with NYR talent evaluation for a very kong time is they dont assess temperment. NYC and MSG tough to olay in. Need certain mental toughness. For ex…Nash a nice player but never suited for NYC or MSG. We continue to just look at past numbers put up or physical ability akone. Neither alone win Cups, just as effort and toughness alone dont either. Balance!! AV gotta go…guys like Hayes gotta go, regrettably, but if there is no fire in him then all 6’5″” doesnt make a bit of difference.

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