The Rangers allowed another goal in the final two minutes with the extra attacker on the ice and fell to the Senators in overtime in Game 5 of their second-round series. Ottawa leads the series 3-2, with Game 6 in New York on Tuesday night.
Alain Vigneault made several head-scratching decisions while his team tried to protect a one-goal lead including, benching Brady Skjei once again.
Blueshirt Bullet Points
1) With 1:50 remaining in the third period, the Rangers had the chance to complete a line change. Off came Jimmy Vesey, Kevin Hayes and Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi. AV chose to send out Mats Zuccarello, Derek Stepan, Tanner Glass, Marc Staal and Brendan Smith. Glass has proven that he has a purpose in the lineup, but its not to help protect leads. Michael Grabner and Jesper Fast were on the bench. Benching Skjei has come back to bite the Rangers before and it did again on Saturday. Skjei has the ability to skate the puck out of the zone, preventing the Rangers from getting pinned in.
2) Marc Staal knows how to defend, and is an NHL quality defenseman. However, he had a rough Game 5 and Vigneault needed to recognize that in that specific situation. Trust is a good thing but blind loyalty is not.
3) Henrik Lundqvist made several wonderful saves throughout Game 5 but allowed a softie on the overtime winner by Kyle Turris. When the Rangers play with structure it allows Lundqvist to track the puck and anticipate the play. The Senators scored several fluky goals including a bizarre sequence on the third-period equalizer.
4) Jimmy Vesey got rewarded for his hard work when he tallied the Rangers fourth goal. The rookie had several end to end rushes and continues to play with tremendous confidence.
5) His center on the other hand, Derek Stepan, played his worst game as a Ranger. No. 21 was nowhere to be seen, made a terrible decision on one of Ottawa’s shorthanded rushes and contributed nothing offensively. Stepan is a very smart hockey player and needs to drastically pick it up. Or else his fourth line demotion at the start of the third period might be something permanent in the near future.
6) The fact that Chris Neil dressed had nothing to do with Ottawa’s win. The Rangers should hope he plays again because he cost his team a power play and contributed nothing on the ice.
7) Erik Karlsson played 5:33 of the remaining 6:35 of regulation with his team trailing by a goal. For a player that could barely skate in Game 4, that is really impressive. He played close to 30 minutes overall.
8) “When we needed it, we have had some good efforts at home, Girardi said on MSG Network. “We are going to have to do it again to stay alive.”
9) Each team will enjoy an extra day of rest before Game 6, Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.