Subban undoubtedly has the talent to be successful but has yet to put it into full practice. This is where the Rangers could benefit. Over the last decade, the Rangers have done some great work with goaltenders as a result of the efforts of coach Benoit Allaire. Allaire, who oversees both goaltending for the Rangers and their AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolfpack, has helped goaltenders Henrik Lundqvist, Chad Johnson, Cam Talbot and Antti Raanta to see success at the NHL level. Johnson and Talbot both came to work under Allaire at age 23 after several years playing at the NCAA level, so it might not be too late for Subban to study under the goaltending guru. Simple changes to his approach, which Allaire has become an expert in spotting, could help the Toronto native re-invent himself under the bright lights of Broadway.
Still, despite the mitigating regular season series and the extended postseason absence the respective teams have encountered these last five seasons, there are still a number of key elements that should help predict the Rangers’ likely course to victory and by way of, their path to a third Eastern Conference Final berth in four years.
Though not in order of importance, below is a breakdown of what are likely to be the three keys to the series:
“We’re confident that we’re going to play the right way.”
While not as brash as Mark Messier’s guarantee in 1994, the Rangers captain, Ryan McDonagh, expressed confidence in his team on Tuesday before game four against Montreal. Needing a win to get the Madison Square Garden monkey off of their back, the Blueshirts responded with their best effort of the series to earn a 2-1 win and tie the series at two wins apiece.
Going into game two of the Eastern Conference Quarter-Final series vs. Montreal, the Rangers looked to win consecutive games after taking a lead in a series for only the third time since 2012.
To start, the pace of was much better than that of game one. The players at least pretended there was a puck on the ice instead of trying to just hit each other for ten straight minutes.
Henrik Lundqvist was serenaded with sarcastic “Hen-rik” chants in the Bell Centre, where he’s struggled in his career, to start the Rangers’ playoff run, but on Wednesday night, the chants did nothing to get the King off of his throne. He was sparkling, making 31 saves en route to a 2-0 win in the series opener. Thumper Tanner Glass’ surprising’ first-period goal, ended up as the game-winner.
The odds on Glass scoring the first goal of the playoffs for the Rangers were probably pretty slim, so drinks are on you if you placed that bet. Glass’ second-career playoff goal gave the Rangers the lead in a first period in which they were outshot 16-5. His line, with Oscar Lindberg and Jesper Fast, was excellent all night.
Last season at this time, most honest Rangers’ fans knew that a first-round matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins was going to be a bloodbath. And not the kind where your team has plenty of rest for their second-round appointment after a sweep of an inferior team, but rather one that ends with a quick trip to the golf course. That team’s defense was so awful that only a Herculean effort by Henrik Lundqvist kept even making the Stanley Cup Playoffs a possibility. The offense was good, but could in no way offset the blown coverages in the highest of scoring areas in front of the crease.
3/31/2017 46-26-6 NYR 3 VS PIT 4 (SO) Game | Event | Play-by-Play | FO Sum. | FO Comp. | TOI – NYR | TOI – PIT | Shot Report | Shift Chart After the 1-1-1 West Coast trip in which they were able to clinch a playoff spot, the Rangers (97 points) hosted the Penguins […]
As the team announced this past Saturday, Henrik Lundqvist is expected to miss two-to-three weeks while he recovers from a muscle strain in his hip. OFFICIAL: #NYR Henrik Lundqvist will be out 2-3 weeks with a lower body injury. — New York Rangers (@NYRangers) March 11, 2017 Though he finished the game, it’s believed the […]
3/7/2017 43-22-2 NYR 5, FLA 2 (Away) Game | Event | Play-by-Play | FO Sum. | FO Comp. | TOI – NYR | TOI – FLA | Shot Report | Shift Chart Confidence can be an enigma and often appears to come and go at will. Unsurprisingly, the vastly different aesthetics of confident and struggling hockey clubs […]
New York Rangers’ newest member, Brendan Smith, wearing the number 42, got to start the game paired on defense with former University of Wisconsin teammate Ryan McDonagh. With Michael Grabner out after an injury suffered in the off-day practice, the starting forward combinations featured Pavel Buchnevich, Mika Zibanejad and Rick Nash as one unit, while […]