It was do or die for the Rangers tonight, and they survived…barely…thanks to the refs.
They won, thanks in part to the refs calling a few ticky tacky calls against the Senators, but they also nearly lost this game thanks to an UNBELIEVABLY awful call where Henrik Lundqvist was not only interfered with, but the Senators clearly kicked the puck into the net. It was just a horrific display of reffing for both teams, tonight. The Rangers got more calls for than against, but the one that went against them was mind bogglingly bad.
The actual game though was pretty well played by the Rangers. Getting Carl Hagelin back into the lineup was huge, as it allowed the top line to be re-united, and allowed Torts to try the combination of Kreider with Stepan and Callahan which was easily the best line on the ice for either team. Chris Kreider was all over the ice tonight, causing turnovers, getting in on the forecheck HARD, scoring the game winning goal, and creating several other chances to boot. Make no mistake about it folks, Kreider was a force tonight. The Rangers got a big time boost from the kid.
On the negative side, Brandon Dubinsky continues to play some of the worst hockey of his career. This is just a continuation of what has been a disastrous season for what was once the Rangers most promising young player in their system. Dubinsky has been passed on the depth charts by Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider, and Carl Hagelin in 1 years time. This has been just a horrific season for #17, and his salary is going to make it mighty hard to keep him going forward unless he can turn it around big time. Wouldn’t game 7 be just the perfect time for Dubi to finally do something to help this team win a game? Maybe score a goal, or set one up? Or do something other than take up time and space? Don’t get me wrong, Dubi isn’t a detriment to the team when he is on the ice. He plays hard, is always on the right side of the puck, etc, but boy oh boy, the kid is not producing 1 iota of offense this season. You can blame his linemates all you want, but the kid has gotten chances to play with Gaborik and Richards. Stepan and Callahan, Richards and Callahan, Anisimov and Callahan, and hasn’t done JACK. At least Anisimov doesn’t make all that much money, so his lack of production isn’t nearly as big a deal going forward. You can afford to have a 35-40 point player in Anisimov on the 3rd line earning under 2 mil a season, but you can’t pay 4.2 mil a season to a guy putting up even worse numbers than AA. That’s just unacceptable.
It was great to see the Rangers Power Play finally win them a game. It almost did so a few games back, but tonight it actually did lead to a win. The Rangers, hopefully, can take some confidence from their PP and carry it forward. The key to their PP? Shooting the puck and charging the net. Amazing how that works aye?