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Rangers vs Senators: Out of excuses and up against it

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NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Ottawa Senators at New York Rangers Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Normally Joe does his notes after games, but he is currently in Europe looking for evidence of how extraterrestrial life has influenced governments all over the world. So you’ll have to put up with my takes on yesterday’s gutting Game 5 loss.

This should be fun.


  • I’ve lost track of how many two goal leads the Rangers have lost in this series. Whatever the number is, it’s too damn high. We hear so much about how important scoring the first goal is in the playoffs, so when the Rangers go up 2-0 in Game 5 in Ottawa you’d expect it would be a good sign.
  • Guy Boucher is not a battlefield mastermind (although he does have the look for it). The Senators have clawed their way back into two games in Ottawa after pulling the goalie because the Rangers and Alain Vigneault have failed when the game was on the line. It’s as simple as that. The puck bouncing off of Derick Brassard’s leg, Tanner Glass and Brendan Smith is not what Boucher drew up on a dry-erase board.
  • Let’s talk about emotion. Personally, I loved seeing Stepan get in Henrik Lundqvist’s face about the franchise goaltender’s well-documented emotions. That’s something you don’t see in a regular season game in Carolina, is it? Call it leadership, call it emotion, call it the playoffs, call it whatever you want. I liked seeing Stepan show some fire.
  • Game 5’s third period was probably the best hockey we’ve seen out of Jimmy Vesey. In addition to an amazing diving effort to give the Rangers a go-ahead-goal, Vesey was making sharp plays on the forecheck and finding ways to break through Ottawa’s trap in zone entries. I’m not sure I’m on board with his playoff mustache, but he’s found a way to make an impact in his second NHL playoff series and deserves some praise for it. He never turned the puck over and got three shots on net and a goal without a second of PP time. Damn good work.
  • Remember that sinking feeling Joe talked about regarding Oscar Lindberg playing his way onto the Golden Knights? I’m starting to feel that way too. He’s been the unsung hero of the Rangers bottom six in the playoffs. I’d hate to see him go.
  • Tanner Glass was on the ice for three even strength goals against last night. I know we rarely look at +/- here at Blueshirt Banter... but that number speaks volumes about deployment. Still, this moment was pretty great.
  • Glass wasn’t the reason why the Rangers lost Game 5. He played his role and did what Tanner Glass does. This loss falls on the shoulders of Vigneault.
  • The Rangers put 0 shots on net in overtime. Ottawa put 6 on net. I’d file that under “troubling” and consider it further evidence of how the Rangers unraveled and struggled to get back into gear after Brassard’s pinball machine goal.
  • Erik Karlsson’s TOI in Game 5? 31:09. Someone go get the Conn Smythe ready.
  • Chris Neil’s TOI in Game 5? 2:12 (thanks in part to a 10 minute game misconduct). The Senators chose to play with a short bench and still beat the Rangers. I’m going to go ahead and file that under “@$*%&!”
  • As the playoffs have worn on I’ve tried to keep a hierarchy of the Rangers defense in my head. I keep finding I have more issues with Marc Staal’s play than Dan Girardi’s. Maybe it’s just me, but Staal has been a mess with the puck in his own zone far too often.

Silver Linings

  • The Rangers have already proven they can win two consecutive games in this series. They just have to find a way to pick up that second win in Ottawa.
  • The Rangers have Henrik Lundqvist in net.
  • Oh, and there’s also some history to keep in mind.