The New York Rangers defeated the Montreal Canadiens by the score of 3-1 in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal match-up to win the series 4-2. For a box score, click here.
1st Star – The postseries handshake (The greatest tradition in sports)
2nd Star – Mats Zuccarello’s face after scoring the game winning goal.
3rd Star – The bench’s reaction to Stepan’s empty netter…
Post Game Cocktail Recommendation
Let’s join the Rangers by downing a Montreal.
Gif of the Game
I think I speak for every Rangers fan when I say “Thank you, Dan” for this hit on Gallagher as time expired in the 2nd period…
I can’t even imagine the frustration Henrik Lundqvist experienced this season. Between the uneven play, multiple injuries and healthy scratches this was easily the most trying chapter of his storied Rangers career. But as I predicted in my series preview, he used the doubt from his critics as motivation in this series as he outplayed a goaltender who most “experts” consider the best in the world.
And tonight was the icing on the cake, as Carey Price (25-31 career playoff record, BTW) gave the Rangers momentum by allowing a very stoppable goal to Zuccarello to tie the game, while Lundqvist was risking life and limb by getting in front of this howitzer from Weber…
And then clinching the series with this ridiculous save as the Rangers clung to a 2-1 lead with time running out…
More importantly, Lundqvist serviced another playoff opponent with the water bottle treatment, as he reenacted this Crosby bath…
With one for Gallagher…
If Lundqvist can continue to provide this level of goaltending for the remainder of the postseason, the Rangers are going to be one tough out.
You Beautiful Little Bastard
I’ve got to admit, early in the series, I wondered if Zuccarello was getting caught up in the physicality and not focusing on being the dynamic play maker we’ve come to embrace. Whelp, tonight he proved he could do both. Not only did Zuccarello give out as many hits as he absorbed this series, with the Rangers 40 minutes from a potential flight back to Montreal for Game 7, he came up huge for his team…
While Lundqvist is the backbone of this team, Zuccarello is the heart and soul.
Chadwick Motivational Speech
I’m not sure what AV said during the 1st intermission to fire up the Rangers after a lackluster opening period, but I’m just going to pretend he gave this Murray Chadwick speech…
Over the last few years, I’ve criticized the Rangers for being too soft and not tough enough to push back against heavier teams who attempt to intimidate. Well, I’ve gained a new found respect for this current group of Rangers. This was as nasty a series as you’re going to see in today’s NHL and the Rangers held their own and then some. From the drop of the puck in Game 1, the Blueshirts did not allow themselves to be pushed around. When Montreal wanted to bang, the Rangers banged (Hockey Porn!). When the Canadiens tried to run Lundqvist, his teammates were there to defend their goaltender. The team played with an edge I didn’t think they had in them. I mean when you’re seeing guys like Skjei and Zibanejad throw the body around, you know this team has a different feel to it.
Having said that, it was a decision by AV to add some skill to the lineup that was the turning point in this series. Tanner Glass provided the Rangers more than anyone could ever imagine the first three games, but they needed a spark offensively and the addition of Buchnevich transformed the line-up into a deeper, more balanced group while not abandoning the new found bite to their game.
Montreal learned a tough lesson in this series: speed trumps brawn. Sure guys like Ott, Shaw, Gallagher, King and McCarron provide grit and toughness, but at the end of the day you’ve got to score goals to win and those five guys combined for a grand total of THREE POINTS in this series (all by Gallagher). Once AV added Grabner to the 4th line of Lindberg & Fast, Montreal’s bottom three had no chance.
Speaking of the 4th line, Fast was easily my unsung hero of this series as he finished with 2g, 1a and had this huge block on Weber tonight…
Not a bad time for the Rangers to score their first power play goal of the playoffs.
I said it earlier in the series, you can win in the playoffs with a struggling power play, but you can’t advance without getting the job done on the penalty kill. And the last two games, the Rangers penalty kill was the MVP.
My under-rated performer of the series was Vesey, who proved he can handle the physicality and intensity of the postseason, including this fight with Pacioretty tonight…
Not sure there’s a Rangers player happier to get this series over with than Chris Kreider who was absolutely brutal.
Throughout the season, I stated that the Rangers defense merely needed to be pedestrian for this team to be dangerous. I’d say they were pedestrian and then some in this series. In fact, I don’t think it would be hyperbole to state that they dominated the Montreal forwards (minus Radulov).
Looking ahead to the Senators or Bruins, the only thing Rangers fans should be rooting for at this point is that their series goes seven games.
Enjoy this one Rangers fans, your team earned their spot into the second round.