In the final 6 games against the Ottawa Senators, the Rangers offensive juggernaut of a team poured on the goals against the hapless Senator defense. Wait. No they didn’t. What they did do was manage a meager, a miniscule, a paltry 10 goals in the final 6 games. 10 goals in 6 games averages out to 1.67 goals per game. That’s less than 2 goals a night…and Henrik Lundqvist made that stand up leading the team to a 7 game series win. Granted, the Rangers offense has looked decent at times this series, and you really do have to tip your hat to Craig Anderson who made some truly spectacular saves this series, with that said, the Rangers, while they have to be thrilled they won, are going to need a whole hell of a lot more from their offense than less than 2 goals a game going forward.
Getting back to this one, it was yet another game where Henrik Lundqvist had to stand on his head. The #1 star of the game, and the series presumably, made some stops against Milan Michalek that will have the Senators sniper seeing a therapist pronto. Henrik was at his absolute best during crunch time as the Rangers retreated into a defensive shell for some reason and the Sens just poured it on with numerous scoring chances. Henrik stood tall, and the Rangers found themselves heading off to the 2nd round.
The single most important thing that happened in this round though was the emergence of rookie Chris Kreider. The phenom we have all been waiting for has really delivered since joining the Rangers. His first 3 games were uneven as he bounced around from line to line, but the last 2 games, he was absolutely incredibly, and tonight, he was the Rangers best forward on the ice, playing 18+ minutes in only his 5th NHL game, and, amazingly, playing the final 30 seconds with the Rangers protecting a 1 goal lead. Granted it was while on the PP and in the offensive zone, but still, incredible confidence shown by Torts in the kid by throwing him out there. Torts, you sir, have some big brass balls.
People have been crapping on Marian Gaborik this series, and I for one think it’s entirely unjustified. Gabby has had some of the Rangers best chances all series long, he simply has not buried his chances. There is a difference between being invisible, and being unable to finish. Gabby played just like he’s played all season, except the puck just isn’t going in for him right now. Let’s also not fail to point out that Anderson was spectacular in this series at times himself. While the Rangers did only muster 10 goals, they could have scored more. Anderson was exceptional. But, that’s to be expected. These are the playoffs, teams with garbage goaltending are nowhere to be seen, every team from here on out is going to have a damn good goalie.
A preview of the series with Washington will be up sometime tomorrow. I’m not happy at all with this matchup. Not….one….bit.