New York Rangers Reaction: Well, That Stunk
Apr 14, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Alexander Radulov (47) scores the winning goal against New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) during the overtime period in game two 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 fell to the Montreal Canadiens in Game 2 last night. Who is truly to blame for this devastating loss?

First off, every one of us would have taken a 1-1 split with the New York Rangers heading home to Madison Square Garden for game three two weeks ago.

Having said that, last night really, really stung.

How good would it have felt if the Rangers had stolen the first two games of this series? We all must be masochists because this team will never make a playoff series easy.

The game one script was flipped for most of the first period. Montreal was a step behind the Rangers, who dominated a great deal of the play throughout the first frame.

New York Rangers Reaction: Well, That Stunk

Yet, similar to game one, it was Montreal and not the Rangers who found themselves in the lead.

Can we all pool together some cash and buy Henrik Lundqvist some duct tape so wee can finally secure his stick to his hand Have you ever witnessed a goalie who loses his or her stick more than Hank?

By now we all know how loud the Bell Centre is during the playoffs, but you’re telling me that not one Rangers’ player had the awareness to realize that Hank’s stick broke and that he needed a donation?

Listen, it’s possible that Hank doesn’t stop that shot even if he had his stick, but the fact remains that not one player made the simple connection.

Every Ranger on the ice: “Hmmm…broken goalie stick on the ice … du da du … I wonder how that got there … huh … goalie flopping around without stick … should I give him mine? Noooooooooooooo!”

Just to be clear, there was a ton of good to be found in game two. Rick Nash is a force to be reckoned with (minus the one turnover which led to the Montreal game winner).

J.T. Miller, while he hasn’t scored, is all over the ice. Mats Zuccarello may be five-foot-nothing, but he plays with the heart of an eight-foot giant.

Michael Grabner has also woken from his regular season slumber and continues to produce. Really though, his goal was down-right dirty.

Minus Nick Holden, who we’ll discuss later on, the Rangers’ defense has been solid overall. In fact, if you want to nitpick the defense, look no further than the forwards.

Zuccarello and Derek Stepan (pick one) were clearly to blame for the Paul Byron goal. Zucc collapsed too low while Stepan went sightseeing for a few seconds.

I point this out because fans continue to give the Rangers defense a hard time when it clearly takes five players to execute a solid defensive strategy.

Remember when Mika Zibanejad was a beast earlier this season? Yeah, me neither.

New York Rangers Reaction: Well, That Stunk

Remember that time Kevin Hayes skated hard and produced on the score sheet? Start digging through those NHL.com videos. I’ll wait …

As far as forwards go, Zibanejad and Hayes have been complete non-factors for the first two games of this series. Hayes looks like he doesn’t want the puck most of the time as he continues to literally pass up his offensive zone opportunities.

Zibanejad looks like a very inexperienced and timid player right now. I’m sure it can be intimidating to sit in a room with so many players who have been to the big show, but it’s time for Mika to put on his big boy pants.

I think the Nick Holden experiment is officially over.

At this point, the New York Rangers’ faithful would probably eqiup themselves with pitchforks if Alain Vigneault doesn’t insert Kevin Klein into the lineup on Sunday night.

Not only does Klein have some serious playoff experience, but the time off just may be what the doctor order for the struggling blue-liner.

There is a fan theory about game two which I’d be remiss if I didn’t discuss.

A good number of folks were blaming AV for his “decision” to ice both Marc Staal and Holden for the final minute of play.

I highly doubt that AV wanted these players on the ice at that moment. The fact is that Holden and Staal were on the ice earlier in the sequence, play continued in the Rangers end for an extended period of time, and they weren’t able to change.

It’s really that simple.

Having said that, Holden decided to play goalie rather than take the body of the Tomas Plekanec. If Holden had challenged Plekanec behind the net or ridden him into the boards, the Rangers most likely win that game.

Before we sign off, listen up.

If you are going to, or know someone going to MSG for game three, tell them to forget about the damn popcorn, shrug off the tee-machines and get loud.

Enough is enough of the Bell Centre. You’re entering our house now, Montreal.

And remember one last thing: Kreider did do it:

 NEXT: Rangers Drop OT Heartbreaker, 4-3, in Game 2 Against Montreal Canadiens (Highlights) 


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