Ranger Blues: Here We Go Again?

new_york_rangers_wallpaper_5Madison Square Garden – Is anyone else getting that sinking feeling? It’s tough to be optimistic after the egg the Rangers laid in Montreal Tuesday night. The capitulation was made possible by some really stupid penalties from some usual suspects and some unusually suspect net-minding from the King of New York.

It only took about 20 seconds for the first stupid penalty of the night to go to Chris Kreider. Kreider pulled out of what surely would have been a boarding major, but instead of getting his stick on the ice to play the puck he just took out PK Subban’s legs for a tripping penalty. Les Habitants scored on the ensuing power play and the Rangers were already up against it.

The Not-So-Friendly Confines of the Bell Centre

The Bell Centre is not the place to ever get away with a bad game. And Lundqvist was exposed early and often.  He was pulled midway through the second period after giving up a fourth goal to the Canadiens. The change in net gave the Rangers a spark and they stormed back to tie the game at 4-4. But the joy for the Blueshirts was short lived as the Montreal onslaught resumed. The Habs regained the lead before the second period was done and scored their sixth soon after the start of the third period.

All hopes of a Rangers comeback were dashed when John Moore lined up Wiese with a shoulder to the jaw, earning himself a game misconduct and a two game suspension; and earning the Habs a five minute man advantage. An empty netter late on put the gravy on the poutine for Les Habitants in an ugly 7-4 defeat for the Rangers.

Now they head back to the Garden for tonight’s do or die game 6. The Rangers want to, at all costs, avoid a game 7 in Montreal Saturday night. While the Blueshirts won the first two games of this series at the Bell Centre, their record in Montreal over the past decade or two has been less than stellar. Here’s what the Rangers will have to do tonight to avoid that dreaded game 7 nord des lignes.

Henrik1Regain the Crown. Henrik Lundqvist is the reason the Rangers have made it this far but he played like a big steaming deuce on Tuesday night. The Habs lit the red lamp on a couple of soft goals in game 5. Goals that Lundqvist usually saves. He’ll have to regain his crown tonight for the Rangers have any chance of clinching.

Stay out of the Box. The Rangers have been decent on the penalty kill this postseason, but they can’t keep giving chances to Montreal’s power play specialists. Discipline let the Blueshirts down in game 5 and almost did them in in game 4. Offensive zone penalties have been a specialty for Benoit Pouliot. If Tortorella were still at the helm, Pouliot would have been benched weeks ago. He’s good for at least one stupid penalty every game. He’ll have to keep his composure tonight or else he might find himself run out of town should the Rangers lose this series.

Rick-Nash-NYR-640x430Sour Nash. Rick Nash has largely been absent this postseason. Aside from the two goals in the first two games of this series, he’s done next to nothing. You could even see other Rangers growing irritated by Nash’s ineffective play. Nobody was happier to get Kreider back in the lineup than Marty St. Louis. He was visibly frustrated playing on a line with Nash. Now that he is back playing with Richards and Hagelin, he’s been the Blueshirts’ best player. Nash will have to produce tonight to ensure a Rangers victory and prove he’s worth the $8M the Rangers are paying him.

Tune in tomorrow for a new MtM podcast.

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About Different Matt 269 Articles
Different Matt is our cunning Cornell grad/rugby player. "Diff" joined us just after the switch from being "Mets only" to an all-sports stop. He's a Yankee fan; thus he was "different." Aside from the Yanks, he's a diehard NY Giants, NY Rangers and NY Knicks fan. He also likes long walks on the beach and cappuccinos and nearly died in Las Vegas.