Now exhale. Rangers fans can finally breathe again; that is until Sunday nights game 6 in Washington. The Rangers found a way to pull themselves back from the brink of elimination and beat the Capitals, 2-1, in overtime in Game 5.
Just when all hope was gone, Chris Kreider shined a light onto the Presidents’ Trophy winners by scoring with 1:41 left in regulation to force overtime where captain Ryan McDonagh would score 9:37 into the overtime period to keep their Stanley Cup quest in motion.
The Rangers continue to break NHL records as they now played twelve consecutive one-goal playoff games. New York has got a fever, and the only prescription is …MORE GOALS!
Lundqvist Vs Holtby
Henrik Lundqvist made 28 saves for the Rangers, who have now won each of their past nine playoff games when facing elimination at Madison Square Garden. Dating back to Game 4 of the 2008 Eastern Conference semifinal round against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Braden Holtby made 41 saves for Washington, and were less than 2 minutes away from their first conference final since 1998 before New York rallied. Barry Trotz has yet to advance to the third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
This series has been a battle of goaltenders.
— NHL on NBC Sports (@NHLonNBCSports) May 8, 2015
Curtis Glencross scored what looked to be the loan goal for the Capitals. That was until Kreider scored with 1:41 left in the period as Lundqvist was on his way to the bench in exchange for a sixth skater. Until that goal, it seemed that the Capitals were going to win on Holtby’s second shutout of the series and another winning goal by one of Washington’s unfamiliar goal scorers.
In order for the Rangers to keep up the momentum after a huge game 5 win they are going to have to play to their strengths and that means their speed.
Granted Washington has not made it easy on New York when it comes to using their speed, but if the team can rally together and get some use out of their legs then they can certainly bring this series to a game 7. Hagelin used his speed in game 4 to draw a penalty shot after he was hooked from behind by Washington defenseman Mike Green.
The only set back on the shot was of course none other than Holtby.
Crash The Net
The Rangers need to get bodies in front of the net. Plain and simple. The countless amounts of times the Rangers could have capitalized on juicy rebounds Holtby let up and open nets was astonishing, but with no men in front of the net there are no goals.
We all know very well the Rangers aren’t afraid to crash the net either …cough cough, Kreider.
History Of Deficits
The Rangers are 11-3 when facing elimination since the 2011-12 season, reaching the Eastern Conference finals once and the Stanley Cup finals once. They have not lost a home game when facing elimination since 2007.
Lundqvist, is sporting an impressive 1.33 GAA and .957 save percentage in the last 15 elimination games in which he has played since 2012.
In 2012, The Rangers found themselves down 3-2 against the eighth-seeded Ottawa Senators. The Rangers had yet to host a Game 7 since their Stanley Cup victory over Vancouver in 1994. Lundqvist allowed only 3 goals on 54 shots in both elimination games 6 and 7 combined.
Things didn’t go any smoother for the Blueshirts as they found themselves on the brink of elimination against the Washington Capitals in the second round of the 2012 playoffs after blowing a 3-2 series lead. The Rangers prevailed as Lundqvist allowed 1 goal on 23 shots in the series winner.
The Rangers eventually met their match in the Conference Finals against the New Jersey Devils, losing that series 4-2. Lundqvist allowed 3 goals on 29 shots in elimination game 6.
The Rangers saw better days as they lost the second round of the playoffs to the Boston Bruins after being down 3-0 and eventually losing the series in-game 5.
How can we forget last years Stanley Cup Final run. The Rangers saw their fair share of series trails and blown leads. The Rangers gave up a series lead to the Philadelphia Flyers but rebounded well and eventually went on to win the series in 7 at home.
In round 2 of the playoffs, the Rangers found themselves on the wrong end of a 3-1 Pittsburgh series lead. With the spark of an unfortunate turn of events coming from the death of forward Martin St. Louis’ mother. The forward went on to play game 5 and eventually score the opening goal of game 6. It was the first time in franchise history that the Rangers had won a playoff series after trailing, three games to one.
The most heartbreaking deficit the Rangers could not rebound from came in the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals. The Rangers dropped the first three games of the finals to the Los Angeles Kings, two in overtime. The Rangers would not let there be a Stanley Cup lifted on Garden ice for the first time in 20 years, as they defeated the Kings in game 4 to prevent a sweep. 48 saves later and double OT in game 5 could not hold of the LA Kings as they went on to win the series 4-1.
“That’s the beauty of the playoffs,” Lundqvist said. “Things can change extremely fast and your confidence can go from one side to the other.”
The Rangers are certainly down, but not out. The third-highest scoring team in the league needs to step up, find the back of the net and remind the rest of their competition exactly why they won the Presidents Trophy.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) May 9, 2015
Michael is in his first year with the Hockey Writers covering the latest news on the New York Rangers. Michael is employed by the Madison Square Garden Company, having worked with the New York Rangers Hockey Administration Department and with the New York Knicks organization.