The New York Rangers defeated the Montreal Canadiens by the score of 2-0 to take a 1-0 lead in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal match-up. For a box score, click here.
1st Star – Ice machine (I assume ice packs were in demand after this one)
2nd Star – Alain Vigneault (It wasn’t a popular move, but going with Tanner Glass in Game 1 proved pivotal)
3rd Star – The switch (I guess the Rangers were able to turn it on once the postseason began)
Post Game Cocktail Recommendation
Now that’s what you call hockey! Players fighting for every inch of ice and bodies being slammed from one end to the other. So let’s celebrate with an Alabama Slammer.
Gif of the Game
Hell yeah, Tanner!!!!!
Weathering the Storm
I have no idea how many twists and turns this series will take nor how it’ll end, but if the Rangers come out on top we can look back to that first period as the reason why.
If you’re going solely on stats, it was pretty ugly for the Blueshirts (out shot attempted 27-8), but when you’re in the playoffs you can throw the numbers out the window. The Rangers had one goal in that first period: Survive.
With the Bell Centre crowd in a frenzy (The “Luuuuuuuuuundqvist” chant to start the game was epic) and the Canadiens attempting to impose their will physically, if the Rangers allow a quick goal or two, Game 1 could have spiraled out of control real quickly.
But some how, some way (cough – Lundqvist – cough) the Blueshirts came out of that period with a lead which allowed them to take a deep breath during the first intermission and then play their game while doing so in front of much more subdued Habs spectators.
Not Backing Down
During Vigneault’s tenure, the Rangers haven’t exactly had the reputation of being a physical bunch, so going into the series I felt attempting to match the Canadiens hit for hit would be playing right into Montreal’s hands. Man, was I wrong.
The Rangers didn’t back down one inch. When Gallagher, Ott and Shaw tried to intimidate, the Blueshirts, to my pleasant surprise, pushed right back…
A big part of weathering the first period storm was the Rangers proving they wouldn’t be bullied in this series, which may have Claude Julien already questioning his game plan to torment the Blueshirts physically.
My reasoning for wanting Pavel Buchnevich in the line-up over Tanner Glass was to provide more offense. So of course Glass goes out and does this…
Not only was Glass the offensive hero, he was getting in hard on the forecheck and causing havoc in front of Price…
The NHL playoffs make heroes out of mortals and Tanner Glass is just the latest example in its long storied history.
Sorry Pavel, expect Glass back in the line-up for Game 2.
Carey Price was close to perfect in Game 1, but guess what…
I had a feeling Lundqvist might come into this series with a chip on his shoulder to prove all his detractors wrong. And if this was just a taste of things to come from Lundqvist this postseason, we might be in for a special Spring in New York.
Early in the game he made this save and I knew he was on…
And from there, he only got stronger and stronger…
Yeah, about those Lundqvist regular season struggles at the Bell Centre, not so much in the postseason…
It’s the old adage, a good penalty kill will get you far in the NHL playoffs and that’s exactly what the Rangers proved tonight. The back-to-back kills in the 1st period were the turning point in the game in my opinion. If the Canadiens, who were buzzing that entire period, are able to tie the game and go into the locker room with all the momentum, who knows how this game plays out.
Thankfully, Montreal’s pests were more concerned with intimidation and taking penalties than actually winning the game. Let’s hope that trend continues all series long.
Was anyone else secretly hoping that Kreider freight trained Price right here…
While Tanner Glass was the story, his linemates weren’t too bad either as they dominated puck possession. Time and again we’ve seen how impactful a quality 4th line can be to the postseason success of a team (See Rangers in 2014 and Devils in 2012).
Holden just had another turnover while you were reading this recap.
While the Rangers discovered the art of physical play, I thought a key to tonight’s victory was their refusal to take the bait whenever Ott, Gallagher and Shaw attempted to goad them into taking a penalty or losing their cool. If the Blueshirts can remain level headed, they will be very successful in this series.
Game 2 on Friday night.