How far will the Rangers get this season?

This is Not A Dream
T-minus 4 wins and hoping

4 More Stickers Needed (MSG Photos)

4 More Stickers Needed (MSG Photos)

If you are just waking up this Friday morning and reading this then no you did not have a dream as the New York Rangers are going to play in the Stanley Cup Finals. A solid team effort led to a 1-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in game 6 eliminating the Canadiens and sending the Rangers and their fans into a happy joyous celebration not seen in Madison Square Garden in 20 years.

What a game and if anything the way the Rangers played in the 3rd period was as close to a picture perfect effort as you could ask of a team. They didn’t sit back and go into a defensive shell that seems to be the trademark of way too many NHL teams but instead they took the play to the Canadiens.

The Rangers time after time forced the Canadiens to try to move 200 feet up the ice only to find their offensive flow disrupted and the Rangers pushing them back into their defensive zone. When the Rangers pushed them back then they attacked and pressured the Montreal defense not giving them any chance to breathe let alone get off the ice for changes.

No like a well-oiled machine there were the Rangers going up ice and keeping their shifts short. Alain Vigneault’s plan of rolling 4 lines was paying dividends not in goals but in territorial advantage as the bottled up Canadiens blueliners just couldn’t get off the ice for changes.

If game 5 was a horror show then call game 6 a masterpiece as in crunch time the Rangers could do no wrong on this night. The Ranger skaters made Henrik Lindquist’s life almost too easy as it took the Canadiens 10 minutes to register their first shot of the game.

Holding the Canadiens to just 5 shots in the first, 8 shots in the second and the once again just 5 shots in the 3rd period. Of those 18 shots Henrik Lundqvist was seriously tested at most 6 times during the game. The Ranger’s team defense simply confused and frustrated the Canadiens as they had trouble being able to mount any kind of sustained attack on the Rangers.

And you want to pick stars from this game? For me I start with Mats Zuccarello as he was a force all night long at both ends of the ice. The player who refused to let the NHL tell him that he was too short to play in it has been one of the Ranger’s best players all season long but in game 6 there he was tied for the team lead in shots with 5, recording 2 hits as well as 2 blocked shots and 2 takeaways.

Then there was his linemate Derek Brassard who also had 5 shots on net and a monster in front of the Canadiens goal as he wreaked havoc all game long. It is ironic but while John Tortorella never gave using the 4th line much thought; here was Alain Vigneault doing the opposite sending them out shift after shift. The coach was rewarded when Dom Moore found himself wide open in front of the Canadien’s net firing the only shot that Canadien’s goalie Dustin Tokarski could not stop.

Dom Moore the 4th liner who the Rangers would have been totally lost without registering the game’s only goal and maybe it was poetic justice that it was his goal. Dom Moore is a better man than I am as I don’t know if I could pick up the pieces of my life if I lost my wife the way Moore did to cancer.

And Marty St. Louis who many in the hockey media was painting as immature and selfish for wanting a trade out of Tampa Bay proving to the world that selfish is not who he is. St. Louis who has turned into a de facto captain for the Rangers has been that “go to” guy that the Rangers have lacked.

St. Louis was the guy who wanted the puck in the biggest situations was making clutch play after clutch play since the Pittsburgh series. Thank you Ryan Callahan and Stevie Yzerman for creating the circumstances that led to St. Louis becoming a Ranger.

And maybe the biggest hero of them all just might be the guy behind the bench Alain Vigneault who overcame the team’s horror story of a start and turned this team into one that is 4 victories away from the greatest prize in hockey.

Vigneault showed us all the different sides he has from cheerleader to teacher to defender of all things Ranger during this playoff series. What a shame that his performance can’t count now towards coach of the year.

This will be my 4th trip to a Stanley Cup Final as a Ranger fan and the difference this time from the other 3 times is I am not waiting for the typical heartbreaking moment (yes even 1994 I had trouble believing they could win it). Alain Vigneault the coach has me thinking that yes this team can win it all.

And who am I to argue with the coach?

Posted by Jess Rubenstein | May 30, 2014 at 04:52 am

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New York Rangers VS Chicago Blackhawks
Wednesday, October 7, 2015

  1 2 3 OT F
Rangers 3 0 0 - 3
Blackhawks 1 1 0 - 2

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