Rangers vs. Canadiens Game 5 Recap 4/20/2017

New York Rangers win Game 5 of the 1st Round in Montreal, 3-2 in OT.

The Rangers vs. Montreal Game 5 was scheduled to start at ~7pm eastern but apparently no one told the Rangers. The puck was dropped and the Blueshirts looked EXTREMELY lifeless. They couldn’t complete more than 2 passes in a row and they barely could get out of their own zone for a majority of the first frame. The Canadiens scored a goal on a wraparound caused by Staal turning the puck over behind the net. This was one that Henrik should’ve had (maybe), but he honestly looked extremely uncomfortable in the first period. He was fighting the puck for all 20 minutes and it was alarming and concerning to everyone. Then a little later, the Canadians were given a Power Play which Mika Zibanejad set up Jesper Fast for a SWEET short-handed goal. Fast was on his way to the ice when he slipped the puck through Price’s five-hole (seems to be his kryptonite)… 1-1. But as the PP was winding down, the Canadiens retook the lead. 2-1 after the first 20 minutes. Another note from this period was Andrew Shaw and Brendan Smith fighting after there was another pileup on Hank in the crease. Thankfully Smith was taking none of Shaw’s crap tonight.

The Rangers continued their lackadaisical play for a majority of the 2nd period but they picked up steam when Rick Nash drove to the net (again) and created a nice rebound opportunity for Brady Skjei for his 2nd goal of the playoffs. Somehow, someway, the Blueshirts were tied 2-2. This gave the team some hope moving forward. The teams were deadlocked for the rest of the 2nd and for the entire 3rd period. The few players that stood out all game for New York Rangers were on the 4th line, Rick Nash and Pavel Buchnevich. The rest of the team was MIA which gave many fans concern.

Aside from the players… the referees were once again AWFUL in this game. They kept “missing” calls left and right. Smith and Nash were again getting mugged all game, Oscar Lindberg was hit high with an elbow from Shaw and he had to leave the game for a little while, due to the leagues concussion protocol. Luckily Lindberg returned as he was very important to the Rangers in this game even though he didn’t get on the score sheet. These refs really need to be evaluated closely by the league…they were terrible.

At the start of Overtime…the Rangers quickly put the pedal to the metal and started flying. Majority of the play was in the Canadiens’ zone. Chris Kreider AND Zuccarello came dangerously close to ending the game, but could not beat Price. Kreider whiffed on a shot at the doorstep but he redeemed himself with ~5 minutes left in the first OT when he had his shot deflected right to Zibanejad who was racing to the net. Zibanejad quickly got his stick on the ice and put the puck past Price for the win.

Game 6 will be on Saturday night at 8pm eastern. Lets go Rangers!

Postgame Interviews

New York Rangers
(3-2)
3 vs. 2 Montreal Canadiens
(2-3)
36 Shots 36
0/2 Power Play 1/4
51.5% Faceoff% 48.5%
Fast: Playoff goal (2)
Zibanejad: Playoff Goal OT (1) Playoff assist
Skjei: Playoff Goal (2)
Nash: Playoff assist
Vesey: Playoff assist
Kreider: Playoff assist
Lundqvist: 34 Saves
Lehkonen: Playoff Goal (2) Playoff assist
Beaulieu: Playoff assist
Galchenyuk: Playoff assist
Gallagher: Playoff Goal (1)
Markov: Playoff assist
Price: 33 Saves
Third Star: Henrik Lundqvist
Second Star: Brendan Gallagher
First Star: Mika Zibanejad

Author: @BenR_Experience

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Rangers vs. Canadiens Game 4 Recap 4/18/2017

The Rangers win 2-1 over the Canadiens to tie the series 2-2.

The Rangers play an even game against Montreal in the first. However, 11:39 into the first period, Fast put the rangers on the board. There were a lot of missed penalties, that weren’t called by the referees. I think officiating needs to be more consistent and fair for each team. 18:37 into the first Mitchell was able to tie the game for the Canadiens. The Rangers came into the second period playing a much stronger game. The second was their best period since game 1. Montreal didn’t get a shot on goal until halfway through the second period. 4:28 into the second Nash scored the game winning goal after a beautiful play and pass by McDonagh. The Rangers started to play a more defensive game in the third to try to hold on to the lead. Henrik played a strong game too and definitely kept us in this.

The rangers were playing with a lot of intensity tonight. This game was a huge one and a must win in my opinion. Nash had a great game as always and probably could’ve had a few more goals if it wasn’t for the nice saves by price. Smith was an absolute warrior tonight, and should have been credited with drawing 3 penalties tonight, but it seemed like the referees were blind. Smith has been huge for us in this series and may be our best defenseman. Henrik has been solid as a brick wall the entire series. A great game tonight and a HUGE win to tie the series. We go back to Montreal on Thursday. We play better on the road so it should be another Nail Biter. Let’s have faith in our Blueshirts!

Montreal Canadiens
(2-2)
1 vs. 2 New York Rangers
(2-2)
24 Shots 32
0/3 Power Play 0/2
54.4% Faceoff% 45.6%
Mitchell: Playoff goal (1)
Weber: Playoff assist
Radulov: Playoff assist
Price: 30 Saves
Fast: Playoff goal (1)
Nash: Playoff goal (2)
McDonagh: Playoff assist
Lundqvist: 23 Saves
Third Star: Carey Price
Second Star: Henrik Lundqvist
First Star: Rick Nash

Author: @JamesRubeck via Twitter

Rangers vs. Canadiens Game 3 Recap 4/16/2017

The Rangers lose 3-1 to go down 2-1 in the series to the Canadiens.

In the first the Rangers (besides Henrik) did nothing. The Canadiens were able to score 7:37 into the second period on a power play goal by Lehkonen, the Rangers (besides Henrik) also did nothing in the second period. 7:42 into the third Weber was able to score another power play goal to go up 2-0. 15:37 into the third Radulov scored to make it 3-0. As you might have guessed the Rangers (besides Henrik) did nothing also in the third. Thankfully, Brady Skjei was able to score late to make it 3-1. It came a little too late as there were only 3 minutes left in regulation.

This is going be a short recap because I’m very upset at the effort the rangers put forth tonight at home, Henrik was the only player who had a good game tonight. Henrik was actually awesome tonight. He can’t do it all by himself. This game was sad and other then our king there is nothing positive to say about tonight. All of the same critiques and corrections are the same, they need to apply them now. We have to forget this one and come to play in game 4. Do this for Lundqvist, boys.

Postgame Interviews

Montreal Canadiens
(2-1)
3 vs. 1 New York Rangers
(1-2)
29 Shots 21
2/3 Power Play 0/3
52.5% Faceoff% 47.5%
Lehkonen: Playoff goal (1)
Gallagher: Playoff assist
Plekanec: Playoff assist
Weber: Playoff goal (1)
Galchenyuk: Playoff assist
Radulov: Playoff goal (2) Playoff assist
Danault: Playoff Assist
Price: 20 Saves
Skjei: Playoff goal (1)
Klein: Playoff assist
Zibanejad: Playoff assist
Lundqvist: 26 Saves
Third Star: Alexander Radulov
Second Star: Artturi Lehkonen
First Star: Carey Price

Author: @JamesRubeck via Twitter

Rangers vs. Canadiens Game 2 Recap 4/14/2017

The Rangers lose to the Montreal Canadiens in Game 2 in Overtime.

Unlike game 1, the Rangers started off the game playing sloppy. They weren’t playing smart and couldn’t help Henrik as much. Henrik’s stick was broken by Montreal’s Gallagher, and our goalie without a stick, the Canadiens were able to score first. Thankfully Grabner put us on the boards from a beautiful breakaway to tie the game with an unassisted goal. Montreal’s Byron takes the lead again. Both defensemen, Staal and Holden were behind the net which left our opponents open.

In the second period, Holden plays a long pass to Vesey and he passes to Nash right in front of Carey Price, which allows him to bank one in top shelf. Late in the third Zuccarello positions himself at the top of the net, and Smith passes him the puck to take the 3-2 lead. The momentum started to change, but still the Rangers didn’t have too much of a handle on their play. Early in the third we were already playing a more defensive game. The Canadiens were getting more shots on net, but Henrik was keeping us in the game. 17 seconds left in the game, the Canadiens tie the game. The defensive playing wasn’t going to last forever, with how sloppy the Rangers were playing.

In Overtime, the Rangers were obviously tired. They were in their own zone for most of the period. With a minute left in the first Overtime, the Canadiens score to tie the playoff series 1-1.  The Rangers should’ve won this game, they were 17 seconds away from a 2-0 series lead. Henrik Lundqvist was playing sharp, but the defense was sloppy and the offense had lackluster play. We bring the series home to Madison Square Garden, tied at 1-1. Hopefully they boys in blue can pull a win out for the home crowd. I’ll always believe in them. Let’s go Rangers!

Postgame Interviews

New York Rangers
(1-1)
3 vs. 4 Montreal Canadiens
(1-1)
38 Shots 58
0/3 Power Play 0/4
50.6% Faceoff% 49.4%
Grabner: Playoff goal (2)
Nash: Playoff goal (1)
Vesey: Playoff assist
Holden: Playoff assist
Zuccarello: Playoff goal (1)
Smith: Playoff Assist
Stepan: Playoff Assist
Lundqvist: 54 Saves
Petry: Playoff goal (1)
Danault: Playoff assist
Radulov: 2 Playoff assist
Byron: Playoff goal (1)
Gallagher: Playoff assist
Plekanic: Playoff goal (1) Playoff assist
Galchenyuk: Playoff assist
Pacioretty: Playoff assist
Weber: Playoff assist
Price: 35 Saves
Third Star: Tomas Plekanec
Second Star: Henrik Lundqvist
First Star: Aleander Radulov

Author: @MeghanMalcolm via Twitter

OFF-SIDE

The blatant non-call of Matt Duchene’s off-sides-goal play in 2013 has seemingly changed the game in the NHL…possibly in a negative fashion. The NHL, the players, and the fans alike wanted to join the 21st century and put technology into the referee’s and linesmen’s hands in order to give them a chance to make the correct call at crucial moments.

Enter the coaches challenge into the NHL. There are two major instances where a coach can challenge a play (that lead to a goal); for possible goalie interference and possible off-sides. The goalie interference challenge is pretty self-explanatory, as it normally occurs right before the puck crosses the goal line. This instance of replay isn’t an issue. The off-sides challenge is the real problem.

First let’s look at the NHL has distinct language in their rule book…“RULE 83 – OFF-SIDES:83.1 Off-sides – Players of the attacking team must not precede the puck into the attacking zone. The position of the player’s skate and note that of his stick shall be the determining factor in all instances in deciding an off-side. A player is off-side when both skates are completely over the leading edge of the blue line involved in the play.

A player is ON-SIDE when either of his skates are IN CONTACT with, or on his own side of the line, at the instant the puck completely crosses the leading edge of the blue line regardless of the position of his stick. However, a player actually controlling the puck shall not be considered “off-side,” provided he had possession and control of the puck prior to his skates crossing the blue line.”

This means that if you have one skate inside the offensive zone, and your other skate is in the air/off the ice but directly above the blue line (not across it) you are still considered off-side. It has been the latter part of that statement that has led many people to question the rule in itself especially with this new challenge system.

It seems that almost every game involves at least one off-sides challenge and all you need to do is turn to twitter to see the outrage it causes (from both teams’ fans). The challenge is causing an issue because in some instances, the goals do not occur shortly after the off-side occurred, but instead it sometimes lasts a few minutes after. So the argument here is that the off-side play didn’t even effect the following play so the challenge is waste of time in general. This would be different if the plays that are being challenged are like the Matt Duchene play mentioned at the beginning of this article…

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but instead the ones that are being challenged are like this Michael Grabner play from 2/28/17…

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The idea of the coach’s challenge was to avoid the Duchene play from happening again, NOT the Grabner instance. At what point are we taking the linesmen officials out of the game if this continues? Many people have given ideas for the NHL to consider to fix the off-sides rule and the off-sides challenge and I truly believe Gary Bettman needs to listen to these concepts.

1. Change the language of the rule. Make it so a skate DOES NOT have to be touching the blue line to be considered on-side. Instead, as Steve Valiquette mentioned on the MSG post-game, make the blue line an imaginary vertical wall and as long as a player’s skate is equal to this wall (in the air or on the ice) that player should be considered on-side.

2. Put a time limit on the ability to challenge. This doesn’t mean a time limit for the coach to make a decision to challenge, but it is a time limit for the play following an apparent off-sides to still be able to challenge. For example, if a team enters the offensive zone and has control of the puck and remains in the zone for a certain amount of time (perhaps 1 minute 30 seconds, 1 minute 45 seconds etc..) the zone-entering play should NOT be able to be challenged. Besides, if the NHL linesman on site was unable to determine off-sides at the moment it happened, it was probably way too close to call which makes it A COMPLETELY different type of play than that of Matt Duchene in 2013. If you want to make these bang-bang type of zone entries to constantly be challenged, you might as well rethink having actual linesmen at the games because it ultimately makes their job meaningless.

3. Make the blue line more narrow. If the blue line was skinnier, it would be remarkably easier to determine when the puck crosses the line compared to a players skate. It is a common mindset that the current wide-blue line makes it very difficult to keep an eye on both factors (skate + puck). This change would make the linesmen’s jobs that much easier.

4. This one isn’t so much as a rule as a general statement. If during a challenge the officials take an extended period of time attempting to determine if a play was in the wrong or not…that is probably because the play was WAY too close to call. These challenges are intended for the blatantly obvious, missed calls. Not the millimeter plays. This extended period of time wasted on a replay can have major impacts on the actual game. Momentum after scoring a goal can be wiped away, whether the goal counted or not. Instead of assisting in the flow of the game…this system is helping to ruin it. Sure…by the letter of the law, ALL off-sides plays should not be allowed to continue and should be stopped right away. However, with the human aspect of officiating, sometimes the “too close to call” plays will slip through the cracks. This isn’t a bad thing though…I will gladly accept these plays (even if it goes against my beloved NYR) as long as the MAJOR instances (i.e. what this challenge rule was originally made for) are challenged.

(current challenge statistics across the NHL)

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Statistics Image: @Dave_Stubbs via Twitter

Author: @BenR_Experience via Twitter.com