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Rangers Vs. Canadiens: Tough Way To Lose

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Montreal Canadiens v New York Rangers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
  • I thought that, for the most part, that was a very good hockey game played by two teams who have fanbases who think they’d have a walk in the park if they happened to meet each other in the first round rather than anyone else in their division.
  • The thing about that is: I think the Rangers could handle Montreal. Outside of the House Of Horrors thing (I think Henrik Lundqvist killed that beast in 2014 anyway) there’s not too much about Montreal that scares me. The big thing that does? Carey Price. And he was a monster Tuesday night. He reminds me of Lundqvist in the way that he can steal a playoff series the same way he “stole” that game.
  • I use “stole” like that because him and Hank played up to each other’s level and then the Rangers lost in a shootout. Neither goalie lost that hockey game. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a crab.
  • Speaking of the shootout: A lot of people were questioning the use of Derek Stepan over Rick Nash. I have no idea how that’s possible. Not because Stepan is some shootout God (although his low shoulder dip, rip to the top corner works often enough that I liked his selection) but because complaining about shootout selections is like complaining about flipping a quarter rather than a nickle. It’s a 50-50 shot one way or another. No one is a sure thing. The same people who were crying for Nash because of his breakaway goal were the same people saying “why get excited over a Nash breakaway? See he’s soft and can’t score” when he missed on his first breakaway. Then, when I said this on Twitter, people attacked me for defending Alain Vigneault. Sometimes you can’t win.
  • Anywho, Brady Skjei continues to prove me wrong. While he didn’t do more than have the puck glance off his skate, Skjei recorded his 26th assist on the year. He’s dangerously close to having the second highest assist total in a rookie year for a defenseman in organization history. You can guess number one, but without looking it up can you guess number two as of right now?
  • Ryan McDonagh sprung Nash for two breakaways. That’s the D to O transition this team so desperate needs and doesn’t get enough of.
  • If Dan Girardi played more shifts like he did towards the end of the second (two shots, one on net, moved the puck well and moved himself into shooting positions) the complaints would be far less noisy.
  • Oscar Lindberg scored a goal, and the fourth line was one of the Rangers’ best all night. I guess it’s a good thing to play guys like Pavel Buchnevich more. Jesper Fast had a nice night, too.
  • The Rangers don’t shoot the puck fast enough. If J.T. Miller shoots that perfect Kevin Hayes pass at the tail end of overtime quickly he probably beats price. Mats Zuccarello did the same thing twice (from the same spot ironically enough). Price is too quick to allow him to get set, and Zuccarello’s shots hit him in the logo and Miller’s was stopped on a beautiful save. Sometimes it’s not your night, but sometimes you can help yourself, too.
  • Outside of the defense, the lack of consistent special teams is the biggest threat to this team’s deep playoff hopes.
  • Thoughts on this one, guys?