MONTREAL – The New York Rangers were seventeen seconds away from going home up two games to nothing in the first round match-up against the Montreal Canadiens. With commotion in front, Tomas Plekanec was able to get the puck passed Henrik Lundqvist and tie the game. It most certainly deflated the Blueshirts balloon.
In the overtime period, it was only a matter of time to see when the Habs would win it as they were all over the Rangers in the extra time. The Rangers looked gassed and again, with commotion in front it was Radulov who was able to notch the game winner.
The Canadiens did something the Rangers had a hard time doing; getting the “dirty” goals in front of the net. That was the ultimate difference in having a 2-0 series lead to now a tied series at one. You have to wonder if that was the momentum swing in this series. The Rangers have not been good on home ice much of this season and now an all-important game three will take place on Easter Sunday.
It seemed as if the intensity was slightly down to start the game as the Habs wanted to try using their speed to get around the Rangers. The Rangers registered 74 hits in the contest. The Blueshirts’ 74 hits are the most the team has recorded in a playoff game since the NHL began to track hits in 1997-98.
Henrik Lundqvist was fantastic yet again and his defense in front of him weren’t able to bail him out. Three out of the four goals scored came from in front of with traffic or lack of covering a man. Lundqvist made 55 saves and still couldn’t get the victory. Rick Nash finally showed what he can do when charging down the ice and was able to notch a goal in the game.
We have come to the point of the series where we start questioning certain players needing to step up who have failed to do so thus far. Kevin Hayes has been invisible, Chris Kreider has moments of flash and Derek Stepan we have yet to see anything. The Rangers forth line has been the most consistent line through the first two games but they can’t rely on them each game.
Michael Grabner showed us why he scored 27 goals this season and it was the Grabner we were used to seeing as he was able to make Carey Price look foolish on a beautiful breakaway goal. We can break down each part of this game and see who had a good one and who had a bad one but the point is the Rangers need key players to step up.
As this series shifts back to New York, the Rangers need to make adjustments. They have been perfect on the penalty kill but can’t score on the power-play and in the playoffs we always talk about how key it is. They also need to have the same kind of waves the Habs have showed in which there is sustained offensive pressure. They also need to find a way to get the greasy goals in front and create havoc like the Canadiens have done in front of Lundqvist.
Now Rangers fans just have to hope that wasn’t the moment the Habs woke up and keeps the Rangers down, otherwise it will be an early exit for a second straight year.