The Rangers and the Bruins are set to do battle in the Eastern Conference Semis, and this series is expected to be as difficult a series as the Washington series. The Rangers haven’t faced the Bruins since the very beginning of the season, so their 2-0-1 record against the Bruins this season does not reflect the deadline deals that both teams made. Coming into the playoffs, the Rangers were one of the hottest teams in the NHL, and the Bruins were playing .500 hockey. Now they both have great momentum, with the Rangers taking the final two games against the Caps and the Bruins coming back from down 4-1 in the third to dispatch the Leafs in seven.
The Bruins and Rangers are very similar teams in makeup, but they play two very different styles of hockey. The Rangers are a very aggressive team, and the Bruins are the exact opposite. Boston plays a trapping style and a passive, physical game to wear down their opponents. The only similarity between the Rangers and the Bruins is that they are both stellar defensive teams.
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The schedule for the Rangers/Bruins series has been released:
- Game One: 5/16, 7:30PM on NBCSN
- Game Two: 5/19, 3PM on NBC
- Game Three: 5/21, 7:30PM on NBCSN
- Game Four: 5/23, 7PM on CNBC
- Game Five: 5/25 Time TBA
- Game Six: 5/27 Time TBA
- Game Seven: 5/29 Time TBA
The extra day off before Game One and before Game Two will hopefully benefit a Rangers team ravaged by injuries, but I wouldn’t expect any of Marc Staal, Ryane Clowe, or Darroll Powe to play any time soon.
Photo credit: ESPN
The Rangers survived in seven games to upset the Caps in the first round in a series that really could have gone either way for six of the seven games. Two games went to overtime, three games were decided by a goal in regulation, and another game was decided by just two goals. The Caps led for under 35 minutes in the entire series, even though they dominated play and puck possession for the majority of the series. That said, out-puck-possessing doesn’t mean you win.
The Rangers got their share of luck, which certainly contributed to the win, but they also controlled play when they needed to in the games they won. They scored goals when they needed to, they killed penalties when they needed to, and they got stellar goaltending. But to play devil’s advocate, so did the Caps. In the end, the series was a toss-up. The coin came up heads, and the Rangers won.
Why they won – Goaltending
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Well this was a convincing way to end the series. The Rangers made a statement in Game Seven, scoring five goals and shutting out the Caps to complete the comeback from down 3-2 in the series. Henrik Lundqvist was good when he needed to be, but the Rangers made sure he didn’t need to be dominant like he was in Game Six. They won the physical battles, and they finally found chinks in Holtby’s armor en route to the rout. There won’t be pictures for this breakdown, I apologize in advance for that. On to the goals:
Rangers 1, Caps 0
Chris Kreider got a big break on this one. As he was getting on the ice for a line change, he went over to pressure Eric Fehr instead of covering Mike Green, who was his man. Green wound up getting stopped by Hank on the breakaway, and Kreider eventually wound up with the puck gaining the Caps zone. He dropped the puck back to Arron Asham, who ripped it through Braden Holtby. Holtby looked to be a bit screened on the play.
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Ben Solomon for The New York Times
Another day, another Game Seven for the Rangers. We all know what the Rangers need to do tonight. They need to win the special teams battle. They need to win the boards battle. They need to win the defensive battle. They need to win the high-priced real estate. They need to score. If you have a heart monitor, I’d recommend using it tonight. If you’re like me, you will need a beverage or two to get through this.
Be sure to catch up on everything you need to know for this series:
Game Six goal breakdown
Game Five goal breakdown
Game Four goal breakdown
Game Three goal breakdown
Game Two goal breakdown
Game One goal breakdown
How the Caps will match up lines
Keys for Ranger success
Special teams may decide series
Scouting Braden Holtby
Previewing the Caps systems
Caps will be a tough series for the Rangers Read more »
Michael St. Croix (4th, 2011) and the Edmonton Oil Kings fell in Game Six to the Portland Winterhawks by a score of 5-1. The loss gave Portland the WHL Championship and a trip to the Mastercard Memorial Cup. St. Croix had an assist and was a -1 in the finale.
The Mastercard Memorial Cup is a four team tournament that comprises each of the CHL champions (WHL – Portland, QMJHL - Halifax, OHL – TBD) and the host city’s team (Saskatoon Blades). Because Saskatoon is hosting the tournament, the Rangers will have two prospects participating: Shane McColgan (5th, 2011), and Josh Nicholls (undrafted UFA). The tournament begins on May 17.
Per Pat Leonard, Marc Staal, Ryane Clowe, and Darroll Powe are all out for tonight’s Game Seven in Washington. Powe and Clowe didn’t even travel with the team for the game tonight. With these three out, expect the same lineup as Game Six. It’s worth noting that the Rangers have not dressed their top lineup at all during the postseason.
Per Andrew Gross, defenseman Stu Bickel and forward J.T. Miller were sent home from the Rangers taxi squad for wrist injuries. This doesn’t have much of an effect on the Rangers, but neither Bickel nor Miller will be available as injury replacements.
Disclaimer: This is one of those rare circumstances where we will not opine on the news. We do not have any facts other than what is being reported, and it is unfair to pass judgment without having all the facts. All we can do is send our prayers to the Boogaard family.
News broke yesterday that the family of the late Derek Boogaard is suing the NHL in the wrongful death of the former Ranger. Per ESPN, the family is suing on the basis that “ the league is responsible for the brain damage that Boogaard sustained during six seasons as an enforcer in the league, and for his addiction to prescription painkillers.”
Boogaard died in May of 2011 after an accidental overdose of alcohol and painkillers. Following his death, his brain was examined by Boston University School of Medicine and he was diagnosed with “chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain ailment that is caused by repeated blows to the head.”
This is another chapter in the chapter in the Boogaard tragedy. The previous chapter included a “lawsuit against the NHLPA that was dismissed last Spring.”
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
The Rangers are pretty good at making us sweat. This club went to seven games twice (Ottawa, Washington) and six games once (Devils) last season. They went to seven games in 2009 (Washington). There was only one series in this time frame that didn’t go to seven games, and that was in 2011 when the Rangers lost to the Caps in five games. If the Rangers are one thing, they sure are consistent.
This series has been on par with the other seven game series the Rangers have played. They appear to have been dominated for most of the games, but have persevered due to their goaltending and defense. They have all been low scoring, although this series has seen a pair of 4-3 blips on the radar. The Rangers may be maddeningly inconsistent on the ice, but they are consistent in their ability to stay in games and make it a series, no matter the makeup of the team.
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