Rangers Speed Puts Montreal On Brink

The Rangers had the exact opposite feeling just a few nights back.

All it takes is one flick of the wrist in overtime to send a team home happy.

On Thursday, the Canadiens had the upper-hand and last night Martin St. Louis put the Rangers one win away from going to the Stanly Cup Finals.

“That’s a good feeling,” said Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist. “I know we’re here, a couple days ago, same situation, going into overtime. You try not to think too much, but it’s hard.   It’s an important game, and you try to be focused.   I had a feeling going into the overtime, okay, let’s not take another penalty, and that’s what we do right away.

“So we had to step up big there on the P.K. and get the job done, and that was huge.   I think after that, it gave us some confidence for sure, especially when he scores. It’s a big relief and exciting at the same time to get the job done at home. A win is a win, but the experience to win in OT at home is always a great feeling.”

And a relief if the Rangers are able to pull out one of the next three games. Outmatched in speed and with an untested goalie in Dustin Tokarski – who has performed well – the Habs had to take a different route, toughening it up on the ice and in the press conferences.

In all honestly, you can’t blame the Canadiens. They are hopelessly outmatched in speed, which is why you are seeing the Rangers do so well on the penalty kill. They just can’t chip the puck in and win the footrace to the corners. And their speed also neutralizes a talent like P.K. Subban, who needs to use his world class moves preventing the Chris Kreiders of the world from getting open.

With no answers, coach Michel Therrien decided to become Reggie Dunlop and faster than you can say Jack Robinson, he was tossing Ranger coaches out of practice, threatening an injured player coming back and questioning Derek Stepan’s broken jaw.

These are desperate acts of a desperate team.

But the Rangers didn’t budge.

For all the cheap shots, diving and embellishing going on from the Canadiens, the Rangers held firm and broke through in Game 4, putting the team one win away from that last hill to climb.

“It was a real competitive game,” said coach Alain Vigneault. “We put ourselves behind the 8-ball a few times by taking, I think it was five penalties 200 feet from our net. We’re going to have to do a much better job than that.

“But give credit to our killers and our goaltender. They did a real good job.   The goal they had on the power play was deflected, but for the most part I thought we did a pretty good job killing those penalties, but we’re going to have to be better than that.”

With one more win to go, you better believe Vigneault will have the Rangers working on that.

About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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