6/06/2014

THE DIFFERENCE MAKER

Justin Williams has 20 points in 22 games so far.

The New York Rangers had Game 1 in their grasp but let it slip away in the third period against the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings has a habit of coming back in games and they disappointed no one as they erased a 2-0 deficit in the first period to tie the game in the second frame and then win it in OT.

So what or rather who is the difference maker in this series? The two goalies cancel each other out as they were both stellar in Game 1. Drew Doughty was a force both defensively and offensively for the Kings. McDonaugh and Girardi, except for his mistake in OT, were really good for the Rangers. I would make a case for Justin Williams as the real difference maker. Mr Game 7 showed up in Game 1 and scored the deciding goal in OT for the Kings. He is the kind of player you can only hope to have in the playoffs. He is as clutch as they come and I doubt coach Darryl Sutter would trade him for any forward in the league. It's like Drew Doughty said in the post game press conference, "There are two players I want to give the puck to, Anze Kopitar and Justin Willams. The New York Rangers will have to find a way to stop Williams if are to have any chance of turning this finals around.

Also, Justin Williams is hilarious to watch in the post game press conference. He is so uncomfortable answering questions and he keeps pushing the microphone away in an attempt to let someone else answer the questions. He is even more fun than Darryl Sutter. However, if he keeps playing the way he has, he better get used to sitting there.

6/05/2014

RANGERS UNDER PRESSURE (Game 1:3)

How a game can change… With a period left to play, the LA Kings took over completely and it was Henrik Lundquist's turn to keep the Rangers in the game. With five minutes to go of the period New York had just recorded three shots on goal while Lundqvist had turned away sixteen.

With less than a minute to go, Carl Hagelin had the game on his stick on a breakaway but couldn't quite get the puck to settle and put the shot wide. With just a few seconds left, Lundqvist again had to show his skills on a couple of chances and with a 2-2 score Game 1 went to OT. 

I have a feeling the Rangers will steal this one…




COMEBACK KINGS (Game 1:2)

The LA Kings did what they have done so many times before in these playoffs, they came back to tie the game. Drew Doughty keeps making a case for being a Conn Smythe favorite as he got the equalizer on a beautiful play. 

So far Game 1 hasn't disappointed. Though I have to say that, after forty minutes, the Rangers are looking slightly better, but Jonathan Quick has kept his Kings in the game. 

RANGERS JUMP OUT (Game 1:1)

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals is on the way and the New York Rangers stormed out of the gates in the first period against the LA Kings.

The Rangers most leathal weapon is their speed and they have shown it twice already. Two of their fastest forwards, Zucarello and Hagelin, both have breakaway goals and they lead the Kings 2-1.

Before the game, Don Cherry predicted the Kings would win the series in 6 games. What's more important is, he called Henrik Lundqvist the world's best goalie. And so far he has been pretty solid. 

6/02/2014

LAST FIGHT IN THE WEST


The LA Kings had the series in their hands but were unable to put away the Chicago Blackhawks, who clawed their way back to force a Game 7 at the United Center. It has been a great series between two mighty teams, and it is only fitting it goes the distance.

Before the game, my money was on LA. This is their third straight Game 7. The Kings went to San Jose and won, they went to Anaheim and won. No team has ever won three straight Game 7s on the road. However,  Jonathan Quick has never lost a Game 7.

Halfway through the first frame the score is 2-0 Chicago and man, do I hate the song they play when the Blackhawks score.

LA fought back and tied it with less than 3 minutes left of the first period. I was more confident than before.

And now it's 3-2 Chicago after a crazy first period. I'm not so sure I want to predict this game anymore.

5/30/2014

RETURN OF THE RANGERS

The New York Rangers celebrate their return to the Stanley Cup Finals.

The New York Rangers are back in the Stanley Cup Finals and King Henrik reigns supreme.

Down 3-1 in the series, desperation prevailed in Game 5 as the Montreal Canadiens staved off elimination to live another game. In that next game they weren't so lucky. Although Henrik Lundqvist only had to make 18 saves, of which one was a spectacular blocker save, in Game 6, he was stellar when his team needed him to be. Dominic Moore score the lone goal and the Rangers played a near perfect game defensively to advance to their first Stanley Cup Finals after winning it twenty years ago. Also noteworthy, this was their first series win in less than seven games since 2008.

Most people probably assumed the Habs stood little chance against the Rangers after losing Carey Price to a knee injury in Game 1, but rookie goalie, Dustin Tokarski, surprised them all as he really gave Lundqvist a run for his money. Tokarski was great and he gave his team a chance to win in every game. In the end though, it wasn't enough. The Canadiens defensive play from the first two series was nowhere to be found against New York and too many of the forwards underachieved. When you face the best goalie in the playoffs at the moment, that simply won't do.

So what chances do the New York Rangers have in the finals, either against Chicago or Los Angeles? I would say, based on what they have achieved so far, they have a very good chance. Having Lundqvist in the net is reason enough to think they can beat any of those powerhouses from the west.

5/27/2014

RANGERS LOOKING TO CLOSE

The New York Rangers celebrate the OT win in Game 7 against 
the New Jersey Devils in 1994.

It has been exactly twenty years since Stephane Matteau scored his game-winner in OT against the New Jersey Devils in Game 7 of the 1994 Conference Final. Tonight the New York Rangers will try to repeat that effort in Game 5 against the Montreal Canadiens.

The Rangers have made life very difficult for the Habs so far. They have scored first in most of the games and made Montreal chase the game throughout the series. Even though Dustin Tokarski is not to blame for any of the losses, he has been pretty solid, he has still been outplayed by Henrik Lundqvist, who has been nothing short of spectacular. The Rangers are also firing on all cylinders offensively now that Rich Nash seems to have regained his scoring touch.

The Habs, on the other hand, are desperately looking for more contribution from, first and foremost, Max Pacioretty who has only 9 points so far in the playoffs. Getting points from the slumbering Thomas Vanek would also be welcomed by the desperate Canadiens. There isn't much that would indicate this season will continue for Montreal past Game 5. Other than just desperation that is. Being on the brink of elimination makes for a dangerous team and the Rangers are well aware of this, having come back from being down 3-1 against the Penguins. They know how tough it is to get that elusive forth win.

I think we will see a faster and more urgent Montreal team. But I also think it won't be enough. Henrik Lundqvist will once again give his team a chance to win and I think they will take it.