The New York Rangers have never been worried about playing in a tough road environment and on Thursday night, they took a 3-2 series lead with a 3-2 overtime victory against the Montreal Canadiens.
In the last few minutes of the second period, a light switch went on for the Blueshirts. New York remembered what worked for them in Game 4 and overwhelmed Montreal with their speed game.
In overtime, the Rangers dominated and learned their lesson from Game 2. Instead of sitting back, the Blueshirts attacked over and over again until Mika Zibanejad collected a rebound and beat Carey Price for the game-winning goal.
Blueshirt Bullet Points
1) Chris Kreider has been invisible for most of the series but in the second half of Game 5, you started to see signs of life from the power forward. He showcased his speed several times, and opted to carry the puck into the offensive zone when the opportunity presented itself. The addition of Pavel Buchnevich, has certainly helped revitalize Kreider and Zibanejad.
2) Jimmy Vesey has been really composed all series long. On the Brady Skjei goal, which tied the game 2-2, the rookie made a nifty move along the boards, and then delivered a smart pass to Rick Nash in the corner.
3) Then, Nash drove to the net with the puck, and Skjei collected the rebound. Nash has been a monster this series and has been the star forward New York hoped he would be when they acquired him from the Columbus Blue Jackets. His playoff career with the Blueshirts had a rocky start, but he has been terrific in the playoffs in the past few series.
4) J.T. Miller took a brutal penalty in the third period when he viciously slashed Brendan Gallagher in the neutral zone. Miller initially turned the puck over in the offensive zone, then allowed his frustration to boil over and take an undisciplined penalty in the final minutes of the third period. Simply put, he needs to be smarter.
5) Except for a potential catastrophic mistake in overtime, Nick Holden played a solid game at both ends of the ice. His partner, Marc Staal, had the worst shift of his career when Arturri Lehkonen opened up the scoring.
6) Jesper Fast scored a timely shorthanded goal late in the first period to tie the game 1-1. Zibanejad made a beautiful saucer pass after the two forwards criss-crossed and then Fast bet Price between the legs.
7) However, shortly after the goal, Montreal regained momentum when Brendan Gallagher tallied a power-play goal. Michael Grabner tried to prevent the pass to Shea Weber, and did not challenge Gallagher in the slot.
8) Henrik Lundqvist was outstanding once again, and not much needs to be said about his play.
9) The Rangers will have an opportunity to close out the First Round series in front of their fans at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night. Puck drop is set for 8 p.m. ET.
10) “It’s a good feeling right now, but as soon as we leave the rink it’s forgotten and we worry about the next game.” – Mats Zuccarello on MSG Network
The job of the referee’s is to maintain order on the ice. As the game goes on, players constantly test the limits to see what they can get away with throughout the game. The NHL needs to send a message to the referee’s that prison rules are not allowed. The officials missed calls on both teams, but they need to restore order on the rink.
The idea of let the player’s decide the game is foolish because if the ref’s allow them to play illegally, they are deciding the game by not blowing the whistle.
With that said, the Rangers have yet to capitalize on the man-advantage in the series.