New York Rangers Prove the Switch Can be Flipped During Game 1 Victory
Apr 12, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers forward Tanner Glass reacts with teammates after scoring a goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the first period of game one of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers flip the switch and play their best game of the year against the Montreal Canadiens to start the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

If you’ve watched the New York Rangers for the last several weeks, you’d know they have struggled in all aspects of their game. The regular season came to an end with the defense struggling, offensive production coming to a halt, the special teams stagnant, and the goaltending leaving much to be desired.

All that fear and uncertainty was erased after Wednesday night.

Hockey diehards across the country know the playoffs are another beast. The regular season no longer matters. The start of the playoffs is a clean slate. Nothing could be truer for the New York Rangers.

The New York Rangers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 2-0 in the opening game of the Stanley cup playoffs. The Blueshirts’ performance Wednesday night was night and day compared to the last two months of meaningless hockey the Rangers have played. Major improvement in forechecking, physicality, defense and goaltending were observed on Wednesday night.

On Tuesday, Alain Vigneault was on the Mike Francesa show praising his team and saying if they play right, no team could stop them.

“It’s about getting a little bit of momentum. You get that momentum, you get a little bit of confidence, you get a little bit of swagger, and with the experience I feel that we have — in the last five years, this group has played the most playoff games — this experience we have will help out our younger players that are on our team. And if we can get that little momentum, that good start in that first game, then we’re going to be tough to handle.”

Boy, was AV right. After watching game one, Ranger fans should be excited about the new look playoff Blueshirts.

The Defense

AV decided to remain loyal to his workhorse D-men, selecting Kevin Klein as a healthy scratch while sticking with Marc Staal and Dan Girardi. The defense was markedly improved in last night’s game one victory. Girardi was physical on the puck, threw the body, and was remarkable blocking shots. Staal was fluid with the puck and found himself joining the rush and participating in offensive zone play. The defesive core as a whole did an excellent job of clearing out the crease to allow Henrik Lundqvist to see the put and do his job.

Henrik Lundqvist

 

Say what you want about Henrik Lundqvist and his roller coaster season but the guy knows how to battle. Put Hank in the limelight and he shines. Pressure? Lundqvist doesn’t know what pressure is. The best players in the history of hockey were able to elevate their game when called upon. Henrik Lundqvist is no different. His shutout last night was a franchise record 10th playoff shutout, proving his dominance in high stakes hockey.

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It’s no coincidence that his best game this season is on the road, in the first game of the playoffs and against arguably the best goalie in the league, Carey Price. There is no one more competitive than Henrik Lundqvist. He does not want to be outplayed by another goalie, scored on in a game, or even beaten by his own teammates in practice. He’s still a world class competitor. If Henrik can sustain this play, the New York Rangers are going to be a tough out for any opponent.

Tanner Glass

If someone told you Tanner Glass would be in the New York Rangers Lineup come playoff time you might have questioned their sanity. If that same person then told you that Tanner Glass would score a game winning goal against Carey Price in the playoffs you’d wonder how much money you could make off the sucker. Seriously though, the odds on that had to be 1000 to 1.

Many fans including myself questioned AV on adding Glass to the lineup over Pavel Buchnevich. For the time being we can all appreciate while he is an NHL head coach and sit on a couch watching the boys in blue. Glass added a level of physicality and jump the Rangers have been yearning for. Every shift Glass was throwing the body and forechecking hard. He was arguably the most noticeable Ranger on every shift. The Tanner Glass, Crosby-Esque backhanded goal that beat Carey Price over the glove was priceless.

Don’t expect Glass to be the next big goal scorer for the Rangers but instead expect him to take care of the Montreal pests like Brendan Gallagher and Andrew Shaw.

New York Rangers fans should not get ahead of themselves. This is going to be a long series. Be proud that Henrik has seemed to find his game, the defense has learned to defend the crease, and Tanner Glass scored a game winning goal. Take one game at a time and bury the Montreal Canadiens. The Rangers road success is a major asset to them in the playoffs. The Blueshirts have a great opportunity to put the pressure on Montreal with a game two victory going back home to New York City.

Game two will be played in Montreal on Friday April 14th at 7 PM.

33 COMMENTS

        • forget the goal…that was just one lucky backhand.

          what I don’t get is the hate for Glass. Obviously, Buchnevich is more skilled. Not even close.

          The idea, tho, is not to throw out the 20 most skilled players. It’s to throw out he 20 guys who make the best TEAM.

          that’s what I don’t get when I hear Glass haters. it’s also why, despite his awful skating, I wanted McIlrath over Boyle last season. he fit the lineup better. this season, McIlrath had no chance to Crack the lineup.

          • It wasn’t meant to be a diss of Glass, it was in response to the title — they played well for the most part, but that game could have easily have been a 2-1 Montreal victory if not for Hank and a few fortuitous plays.

            Re: Glass, he’s played some of his best Ranger hockey lately — and this is what they paid for almost 3 years ago.

            Guys who raised their game beyond expectations in game 1: Fast, Lindberg, Glass, Vesey, Smith and Skjei.

          • That he was, especially as the game wore on … Skjei-Smith need to get more minutes … and Holden was a turnover machine, terrible game on his part.

          • Torts didn’t fail here and neither has he failed in Columbus (didn’t even fail in vancouver considering how underwhelming that team has been over the past 3+ years), but I know one person I wouldn’t leave the coaching or the GMing to and that’s you — since you always pretend to know more than any of the GMs out there based on your extensive experience playing street hockey. lol

          • he most certainly did fail here and we don’t make the finals the year after if his error was still going on

            just like sather should have been fired long ago re abysmal drafts. Blackburn, monyoya, sanguinetti, jessiman, etc etc. got so bad he eventually decided to just trade the picks instead.

          • I trust them both more than I trust you and your pseudo-holier-than-thou hockey knowledge … you’re a classic case of compensating for an inferiority complex. Re: abysmal drafts you have Hank, Kreider, Miller, Skjei, Stepan, Dubinsky, Callahan, Sauer, Fast, Buchnevich, Staal, Tyutin, even Del Zotto … the scouting staff was also responsible for picking up players like MZA, Girardi, Talbot, etc. … and don’t even try to “explain” them away, they were all brought in on Sather’s watch, period end of story.

            PS: Blackburn certainly wasn’t a failed draft pick, he was a draft pick who didn’t have enough time to succeed and fully prove himself in the NHL, just like Cheraponov (and yeah, he was going to be a good one — I trust Jagr’s opinion of Cheraponov much more than I trust yours).

          • and I trust gorton and av way more than you – just being a bully like you are doesn’t make you right.

            plenty more failures in the drafts.

            Henrik was product of smiths scouts.

            sauer? del zotto? stop just stop.

            buch we’ll see. lots of hype and hope.

            always said sather was good at ufas. it’s the draft where he failed miserably.

            Blackburn poor gaa and poor save % and that’s before the injury. failed pick the moments we did it.

            do you still think mcilrath was a good pick – lol.

            Cherepanov not a good pick or bad pick. just a shame he lost his life. ps other teams get injuries. stop making excuses for sathers poor drafts.

          • Still angry we signed Tanner Glass? HYPOCRITE. lol

            By the way, your above response re draft picks is weak. Try harder next time lotion boy. Now crawl back to your basement — and I still don’t understand why you’re so jealous of Torts, a guy who has won a SC … as compared to you and your brilliant street hockey career.

          • the list of poor drafts during the sather error is endless

            never said torts didn’t do good in tampa. what I do say is he failed here and was rightfully dismissed

            tell me again how good $tepan is

          • Pretty damn good. You’re wrong about our scouting staffs, whether it’s drafting or signing young free agents.

            No, Torts wasn’t a failure here. Your penchant for hyperbole knows few bounds.

          • not wrong at all

            you’re the one who is consistently wrong

            you give the sather (draft portion) and torts errors a free pass/ $tepan has plenty of weaknesses and done nothing thus far in this series

          • He’s done more than Hayes, Miller, Mika, etc. defensively he’s done nothing but good — can’t lay blame on him for what happened tonight, look who was on the ice on the last 2 goals.

            Your agenda is plain to see. Get over Torts and Sather, neither has been here making decisions for the last 2 years. Time to move on and find another “track” for your one track mind.

          • we’re still suffering from all the bad sather picks. it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

            bad draft picks affect a team 10+ years.

            $tepan is paid a ton and isn’t worth it. not even close. we need to explore a trade of him in off season.

            ps who taught him how to skate with that slow waddle. bank balance slowing him down?

          • You sound like an angry little child. A large portion of this team are draft picks and young unrestricted free agents (that the scouting staff identified) … they all seem to be doing very well.

            You’ve never come close to understanding how teams are built, only circa 20% of all draft picks make the NHL … even fewer have any impact at all. In that light they’ve drafted pretty well, especially considering the number and quality of their draft picks compared to most teams over the course of his tenure. I know the idea of comparative analysis gives you a headache, but that’s how you analyze the issue (whoosh, right over your head).

          • I did plenty of comparative analysis vs other teams. you just didn’t like the results. well I don’t like the sather draft results.

            you still defend such failures as blackburn, mcilrath, sanguinetti, heck even jessiman.

          • You don’t understand what a proper “comparative” analysis means. You have to weigh the quantity and quality of the draft choices available for each team. It’s not enough to write a list of players selected and compare … and even then we’re middle of the pack drafting-wise.

            I’ll defend Blackburn — as far as the others are concerned, I can defend their choice (as in other teams were high on those players as well), not the results of their careers — and that happens with all teams, not just the Rangers.

          • you’ll always defend the sather abysmal drafts hence your nickname the apologist. your track record in all things rangers is not good either. ie wanting stralman gone and boyle bought in, not wanting grabner, I could go on and on.

            blackburns gaa over 3 before injury. stop just stop

            you don’t like the results of the analysis so of course you lash out. rinse and repeat.

            middle of the pack drafting wise will not bring cups here.

          • Ha, you’ve got nothing as usual … aside from lies and distortions of what other people say/said. I said none of those things, nuance just zips right by your head.

            If you’re going to do a comparative analysis, do it right. I said at worst they were middle of the pack and that’s without taking into account position and quantity of draft choices. Learn to comprehend what you read.

            Blackburn was a teenage goalie on a team with a crappy defense, his numbers were pretty close to Mike Richter’s at the time — and the only other teenage goalie to play as much as Blackburn was a certain Tom Barrasso who was no slouch.

          • not distorting anything you say. there’s plenty more in terms of “gems” by you

            Blackburn was failed pick when taken. results before the injury did not measure to spot he was taken. but of course the apologist focuses on the injury.

            love to see you squirm when sathers abysmal draft record is taken to task.

          • I believe I focused on his AGE and justified his performance vis-a-vis that and the fact that the team was crappy at the time — obviously a career ending injury killed what seemed to be a promising career, in any event you can’t call him a failed pick.

            You distort everything, it fits your agenda to do so. Enough blather, you’re a nasty angry little trolling loser, not worth the time. Get the last word in here if you like, but this convo is going nowhere.

          • his play before the injury does not match your narrative. failed pick especially at that spot in the draft.

            he’s one of many during the sather error

          • I will give each of sather and torts 1 piece of credit

            sather in firing torts
            torts in getting rid of avery

            fair and balance is my way

          • still angry we signed grabner? I would guess so since buch is in street clothes

            learn the game

          • oh no, Torts didn’t fail. The proof is so easy to see.

            the guy Torts got fired over, Sullivan, went on to win the cup with Hagelin last year.

            he wasn’t even fired for poor performabce. he was fired cuz they wanted Sullivan gone and he said no.

          • torts getting fired had nothing to do with Sullivan.

            torts absolutely was fired for poor performance as he was in vanc.

            we don’t make the finals in 2014 with torts as coach

            i’m very glad that he’s long gone

          • that’s fine if u don’t like him and he didn’t finish the job in 2012.

            but what are u talking about? you’re simply talking out of your assistance when it comes to the reason he and the Rangers parted ways. Sullivan was the main sticking point.