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Rangers Vs. Canadiens: Zibanejad Plays The Role Of Hero

New York Rangers v Montreal Canadiens - Game Five Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images
  • I’ve watched more than my share of playoff overtimes with my brother in law over the years. Those moments are probably similar for all of you as well. Last night, like all the other nights, we’re both on separate couches howling at the television and trying to make jokes to keep from dying of some sort of artery explosion that comes with insane stress on a body. Then one of two things happens. 1) The Rangers lose and you clench your teeth, hang your head and have to try to find sleep despite that pit of half anger half feed bad for yourself. Playoff overtimes are so dumb. How could anyone like this? Or 2) there’s an explosion of noise that is born from a place somewhere between relief and excitement and you’re elated. How could you not LOVE playoff overtimes, right? Who doesn’t?
  • Blame Beth for that game, by the way. If you don’t know why shame on you. Listen to the podcast, you hooligans.
  • That overtime period was as dominant as the Rangers have been all series. And you want to know why? Because they had four lines of skill that could press Montreal every time they were on the ice. They. Didn’t. Stop. Coming. And really, the Habs had no answers. The team did a good job shutting down any and all zone entries, Montreal was satisfied with just lobbing the puck into the zone for a change and then the Rangers came again to keep the cycle going. It was exactly how the Rangers should have been playing all series. It’s why it’s astounding to me that it took Game 4 for the Rangers to throw this lineup out there in the first place.
  • Chris Kreider probably would have been thinking about that missed overtime opportunity where he fanned on the shot for a long, long time if the Rangers would have lost that game. Mats Zuccarello also would have thought about that puck squeaking by him with Carey Price laying on his back. Pavel Buchnevich probably would have thought about passing up on that glorious shooting opportunity in the third. He also probably wanted Kreider to score on that game winner because, well, I mean look at this pass.
  • The Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Pavel Buchnevich line was sort of quiet (although I did think Buchnevich was active all night) until the end of the third and then overtime when they were simply too much to handle. They were incredible, and need to be kept together.
  • If Buchnevich sits another game, or is cycled in and out with Tanner Glass in practice I am going to lose my mind. Enough. Enough of the nonsense that he’s not polished, is the 12th forward or that he’s not good enough. Outside of Rick Nash, he was the best.
  • Speaking of, Nash was a monster again. That “lower the damn shoulder” move that led to the Brady Skjei tying goal was as dominant a move as we’ve seen from him. He was a beast in overtime. He probably is the Rangers best penalty killer by a country mile. Give him his due, he’s the reason the Rangers have done much of anything.
  • Dan Girardi has been solid most of this series, and he was again last night. That leveling hit on Andrew Shaw was *chef kissing fingertips.*
  • The Nick Holden experiment will not die. I do not understand any of it. I don’t think I ever will understand any of it. Perhaps we need some type of ritual to get him out of the lineup.
  • Brendan Smith continues to be a godsend.
  • Henrik Lundqvist was, once again, the main reason the Rangers won. He was as good as he’s been all series, which is to say spectacular. He was lights out when the Rangers couldn’t tell the difference between their ass and their elbow, and then shockingly didn’t have to do all that much in the overtime. But give him major props.
  • Pressure back on Montreal but also on New York here. End this at Madison Square Garden.