I did not enjoy this.
In the first game against Montreal, which now feels like a billion years ago, the Rangers looked like they woke up one day and decided they maybe wanted to win that Stanley Cup thing they’ve heard so much about. Friday, in Game 2, they changed their mind in the third period and acted as if they’d never heard of overtime before. Tonight, ticket holders for home ice at MSG were treated to ... well, I don’t even know exactly what that was, but I know it wasn’t a team with a chance of winning a series, much less a Cup.
Henrik Lundqvist set to God mode* kept the game scoreless for almost 40 minutes while Carey Price did a crossword or caught up on his correspondence — hard to tell, since he was out of the TV frame for most of the evening. The Rangers’ penalty kill failed them twice. The first time was when the Habs ran a nice little set play off the face-off in New York’s end, resulting in an Artturi Lehkonen goal from right in front (and Ryan McDonagh lying like firewood across the crease for some reason). But by then the Habs were just due; they’d had numerous other opportunities; at one point, Lundqvist made 4 saves in 4 seconds.
Even though it never really started, it was basically over when Shea Weber sank another PPG in the 3rd, set up disgustingly well by Alex Radulov, who also netted the Habs’ filthy final tally. That goal was the icing on a cake I fear we may have to eat more of, if the Rangers don’t remember who they are and what they can do. Brady Skjei’s late goal was gorgeous, but did nothing to lift the spirits of a despondent team that seemed weirdly focused on hitting as opposed to playing the puck. NYR were outshot 21-29, but ahead 41-31 in hits, so ... yay, I guess?
The power play continues to be unspeakable, so I shall not speak of it.
I’m going to leave the in-depth analysis for tomorrow (and the podcast), but the NHL/NBC are gleefully advancing the narrative of a New York squad unable to win at home, and it would be REALLY nice to make them eat it. Leadership needs to step up and snap a pack of really &*^%$#$ good hockey players out of a season-ending funk before it’s too late, and Alain Vigneault needs to quit tinkering and coach the team on his bench, not the one in his brain.
Series: Montreal 2 - New York 1
Game 4 Tuesday, April 18th, 7 pm at MSG
*My husband said this; I guess it’s a video game thing? IDEK.