Rangers Vs. Canadiens: Breaking The Streak And Coming Home Up 2-0

Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto

Notes from the Rangers' Game 2 win over the Canadiens.

- I think we all knew how the game was going to start. Montreal turned on the jets, came out flying and was looking for anything to keep the crowd loud. The Rangers, especially in the early goings, did a great job helping the Canadiens, too. Lots of bad turnovers, poor decisions with the puck and weak clearing attempts helped keep Montreal energized. And early on, Henrik Lundqvist was the difference. He made four or five top-notch saves to keep the game scoreless, until a puck finally made its way past him.

- And then the Rangers got a bounce themselves. The Canadiens' lead lasted 17 seconds, which was an enormous point in the game. It took the crowd out of it a little, settled the Rangers down and let the pace of the game start smoothing itself out.

- In the first period (really up until the Rangers goal) I thought Dan Girardi and Marc Staal were pretty shaky. After that point, Girardi got a lot better. I thought Staal was off and on through the second period. And by the third, the entire defense was locked in -- final moments aside when the game was completely frantic.

- I don't think you can say enough good things about Ryan McDonagh. Six points (yes, six) in his last two games. Two goals and four assists. On top of that, he's been a monster defensively. Has played 24:01 and 25:24 respectively in both games so far this series, and has been everything the Rangers have needed him to be and more. The offense is an added bonus, to be honest, but what a bonus it is. And while his goal was pretty lucky to open the scoring, at least he had the smarts to just put the puck on the net. Only good things can happen when you do that.

- Rick Nash was a monster in this game, and I'm not just talking about his goal. He was big on the penalty kill, made a few great defensive plays, was tough in the corners and was physical. As for the goal, I'm not sure he scores that if he doesn't score in Game 1. I really do believe him scoring in the first game took a load off his shoulders.

- Derek Stepan was probably the Rangers' best forward all around. The biggest mistake he made was trying to force the pass to Nash on the 3-on-1 late in the game with a chance to give the Rangers a three-goal lead. Even so, he notched two assists (including a perfect pass on the Martin St. Louis goal) and was big in his own zone. People forget about those little fires he puts out in the neutral zone, but they're important, too.

- What a goal by St. Louis, right? A brilliant finish that he couldn't have placed any more perfectly if he did it by hand. At that point in the game -- and on the power play, no less -- it's a giant moment from a giant player.

- And, of course, Chris Kreider. Yes, he took a stupid penalty against P.K. Subban in the offensive zone, but his pass to Nash on the Rangers second goal showed off his great hockey IQ, and his speed and physicality simply can't be matched by anyone else on the Rangers' roster. As my Dad pointed out last night, if Subban is going to play against Kreider so he can try and match his speed, it keeps Subban away from the Rangers' net which is fine by me.

- I love Benoit Pouliot, I really do, but he needs to cool it with some of those penalties. Especially at that point in the game late, when you don't want to give Montreal any advantage at all. He needs to be smarter.

- I saw a lot of Montreal fans complaining about the officials. The Canadiens, for what it's worth, had more power plays than the Rangers did, and they do go down pretty easily, too. The other thing is there's a lot of speed on the ice in this series, which makes things a little harder for the officials. Either way, a lot of calls were missed for both sides.

- Give Dom Moore a ton of credit. He's filled in the Derick Brassard slot seamlessly since he got injured, and it's been a big part of the Rangers' success. I don't know if the Rangers are up 2-0 in this series if Moore doesn't jump in the way he has these past two games. What a player.

- I think we all would have signed up for 1-1 coming back to Madison Square Garden for Game 3. I'm not sure too many people expected it to be 2-0. This is a warning, however, not a chest-pounding statement. This series is not over. It won't be over until it's over. I know the Rangers realize this, and I think some fans might need to as well. The Canadiens are a very dangerous team, and the Rangers need to keep their foot on the gas. Plain and simple.

Thoughts?

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