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NYR-OTT Game 4 Period By Period

First Period
Very quickly it is obvious that the Senators have a better structure. They are trapping and trying to turn the puck over at center ice. But, while they are better tonight, there are still some holes. Kevin Hayes springs Michael Grabner on a breakaway, and gets stopped by goalie Craig Anderson. As the period unfolds, it’s clear that the Ottawa netminder is in better form than the last 2 games. Hayes gets stopped on a 2 on 1, but it is also clear that he is way more involved on the offense in this game. Coach Alain Vigneault prefers the matchup with Hayes playing against former Ranger, Derrick Brassard. As we have seen with Brassard, he is a streaky player. When he isn’t scoring, his defensive game wanes considerably. Kevin Hayes is taking advantage of this every shift. Fourteen minutes in, Hayes and the Rangers break out on a 4 on 2. The Blueshirts center brilliantly feeds Holden with a clear path to the net down left wing. Holden looks like a pure goal score, going backhand to forehand, and flipping it over Anderson’s left pad. Despite a couple of turnovers at center ice, the Rangers are playing with discipline. Their support of the puck and each other is perfect. There is always a blue shirt right where he is supposed to be. The whole team is keeping themselves between the Senators, and their goalie, Henrik Lundqvist. New York is also finishing their checks with gusto. These two things see to be frustrating Ottawa, as they go 13 minutes without a shot on goal. The Rangers end the period up 1-0, and up 11-7 on shots on goal.

Second period
The Rangers are firing on all cylinders. Their forwards are coming back hard and deep, overwhelming and smothering Ottawa. Mika Zibanajad picked up where he left off on Tuesday, being extremely hard to handle. Tanner Glass, dishing out checks like it was the first of the month, blocks a shot from the point and springs a 2 on 0. Grabner feeds Oscar Lindberg who fires it home. The goal adds to the momentum. It is also a reward for the fantastic team effort being displayed all over the ice. Craig Anderson is called on to make several huge stops on Rick Nash twice, and Derek Stepan. But, that line again, Glass retrieving his own dump in got it to Miller. J.T. fed it to Lindberg who rifled a high shot through Glass’ partial screen, and past a stunned Anderson. At 3-0 you could see the Senators noticeably sag. The blueshirts kept their hit parade going. Erik Karlsson was a frequent target. He and Chris Kreider seemed to get tangled with Karlsson coming away limping in an obvious fashion. Tanner Glass had a terrific period all over the ice.

Third Period
The third starts with Mike Condon replacing Anderson in net, and Karlsson in the dressing room. The Rangers get an early power play and score quickly. Ryan McDonagh one-times a Stepan pass on net that Kreider cleans up to make it 4-0. Lundqvist reminds Ottawa that he is still at the top of his game by making a stellar right pad save on Mark Stone to preserve the shutout. With just under 7 minutes to play Kyle Turris fires a rising wrist shot through the legs of Marc Staal and under the crossbar, beating Lundqvist and ending his shutout bid. Off the next draw at center ice the Senators decide they want to prove their manhood by fighting until the final buzzer. First Dion Phaneuf starts an altercation with Brendan Smith. Then a few minutes later off an innocent draw outside a blue line, Bobby Ryan hacks Dan Girardi, and drops his gloves. The linesmen quickly intercede and only Ryan is penalized. Over the next two minutes there are 2 more altercations involving multiple players. 5 players from each side are thrown out, with the Sens obviously initiating all of the rough stuff. For the Rangers, they certainly bruised Ottawa’s collective ego. Basically saying, no matter how well you play, you can’t handle our best. Which is why we had the rough stuff. It would not surprise me at all if they dressed enforcer Chris Neil on home ice on Saturday. In fact, I would be shocked if they didn’t. They are desperate. Yes, each team has held serve on home ice. But, the Sens have given up 13 goals in the last 3 games.They lost the last 2 games 4-1, and they weren’t that close. In my opinion, they will try and rally the crowd with fighting and try and get the Rangers off their game. Game 5 will be an interesting and pivotal contest. Will Erik Karlsson play? My guess is probably, but he isn’t close to 100%. And I think, led by Neil, they will be very protective of their injured captain.

NYR – OTT Game 2 Period By Period

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First Period

It seems like the Rangers are not going to learn their lesson. After Ottawa generated a lot of chances on the power play in game one, the Rangers take three minor penalties in the opening 20 minutes. On one hand, the Senators are giving up golden chances on their own power play to the penalty killers. Ottawa really seems to go deep and sell out for the offense on their man advantage. Grabner and Fast burn them on the first one, with a 2 on 1 that Grabner finishes off. Fast has been outstanding in all facets of the game the entire postseason, and Grabner has been very dangerous in his own right. But, like clockwork, JT Miller takes a needless hooking penalty. Again the Rangers PK is on point (they are getting plenty of practice), but shortly after the Miller penalty ends, Chris Kreider is called for elbowing. The Rangers kill it off but have no momentum at 5v5 from killing so all those penalties. Dan Girardi tries to make a ridiculous, no look pass to Ryan McDonagh and is not even close to accurate. JG Pageau gets to the puck at full speed, flies down the right wing and fires a shot over Lundqvist’s shoulder. The shot was certainly stoppable and could be considered the first bad goal on Hank’s record this postseason. Before the period ends, Miller makes another blunder, with a bad giveaway at center ice that leads to an Ottawa chance. Miller, Kreider, Hayes and Stepan, again are awful. Miller and Hayes seem to want to stay on the perimeter and pass only. And there is zero offense being generated by Stepan and Kreider. After three Senators man advantages, it would seem the Rangers may have some of their own coming their way. But, , while the officiating was tight on calls against New York, they resisted making just as obvious calls against Ottawa in the first period.

Second Period

As the play starts in the second, coach Alain Vigneault has made some line changes. Miller is now with Lindberg and Fast, and Zuccarello is with Mika Zibanajad and Kreider. Off a faceoff to Craig Anderson’s left, Miller feeds Oscar Lindberg for what looks like a tap-in. Anderson makes a big stop, though Lindberg did him a favor by shooting it back into him. The Rangers get a man advantage almost half way through the period. During the power play, Miller gets a golden opportuni and is robbed by Anderson’s glove hand. Miller is extremely frustrated, but it’s a good sign seeing him getting such chances. Just after the power play ends, Kreider fires a “just put it on net, good things will happen” shot that finds a way past a screened Anderson. Great sign to see Kreider finally get off the shneid. But shortly after the goal, the Rangers take another penalty. Maybe they think it will lead to some instant offense? Well, it does actually. The Senators are extremely loose while on the man advantage. Rick Nash and Derek Stepan take off on a 2v2. One of the defenders jetting back on defense was Derick Brassard, who we know was as soft as marshmallows on the backcheck. Big game Brass whiffs on Derek Stepan, and allows him to fire a high shot past Anderson. The Rangers though are playing with fire on this afternoon. Brady Skjei allows Mike Hoffman to blow by him and Henrik is forced into a big stop, but the rebound was knocked in by Marc Methot. The structure is shot to pieces. You feel like, at any time, any Ottawa player could blow by any Ranger. Brady Skjei did redeem himself by blasting home a PP goal through a Kreider screen. So the Blueshirts went into the third up 4-2.

Third Period

The teams start the period 4v4. On a harmless looking faceoff to Lundqvist’s right, the Rangers on the ice do everything wrong. Stepan loses the draw cleanly, the puck goes to the point. The shot misses the net and rebounds right back in front off the lively boards. It goes past one Senator, who is behind Staal and Holden, who are somehow chasing the puck and not fronting the wide open forwards, and goes to a wide open Mark Stone. Stone fires it in to make it a 4-3 contest. The puck had eyes finding only Ottawa players, but every Rangers player did something wrong or failed to do their job. Then on a play that seemed destined to tie the game, Brendan Smith made a bad decision to pinch, and the Sens came in 3v1 on Brady Skjei, who made a sensational play to break up the pass. The puck was picked up and sped the other way by Smith on a 4 on 2. Smith dropped to a wide open Skjei, who toe-dragged and fired through a Grabner screen, and past Anderson. Think the two goal lead is safe? Think again. Mistakes and loose play are rampant. But time is ticking away, as it remains 5-3 with four minutes left. Then the lack of urgency the Rangers have exhibited, reared its’ ugly head when Ottawa made it 5-4. They ran around their zone clueless, losing every battle. The puck finding wide open Senators players until a shot from the point drastically changed direction off Pageau’s stick, and into the net. McDonagh, this time, was guilty of weak coverage on the goal scorer. The Rangers are fragile and very indecisive and resort to icing the puck repeatedly. Their luck runs out when Kevin Hayes breaks his stick, the puck zipped around the zone from one Senator to another. Karlsson gets it to Turris, who one-times it. Pageau, completely unchecked in front, deflects it by a stunned Lundqvist. Blown assignments, bad luck, and a total lack of smarts and urgency; all ingredients to a blown two-goal lead in less than three minutes.

First Overtime

The Rangers control play for the most part, but do not inspire any confidence with the type of chances they are getting. And the chances they are giving up are downright scary. The Rangers get an early power play, but show zero urgency and basically kill it off themselves. Alain Vigneault is not playing Lindberg, Vesey, and Buchnevich up front, and Brendan Smith and Skjei are barely playing on the back end.

Second Overtime
Well, mercifully this ends quickly after a horrendous choice by Nick Holden to pinch in the offensive zone. That man again, Pageau, is racing down the left wing on a 2 on 1. He has the golden stick in this one and never thinks of passing. He fires a shot over Lundqvist’s glove to end the game. Hank was not as good as he had been over the previous seven playoff games. He seemed to be off-balance and out of sorts all game. The Rangers structure was inept, to say the least. They are making coverage mistakes that are inexcusable at this time of year. Kevin Hayes and JT Miller are barely noticeable and are being outplayed by inferior players. Buchnevich seems overmatched. A lot has to turn around for the Rangers to get back into the series.

NYR – OTT Game 1 Period By Period

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First Period

The puck is dropped in Ottawa. Both teams spend a bit of time feeling each other out early on, playing safe and making sure to always have two men back. Shots are being kept to the perimeter, and the teams’ aren’t generating many “grade A” chances. I noticed quickly that Lundqvist was tracking the puck really well; not just on shots on goal, but on shots that miss the net and passes as well. That theory is put to the test quickly, as a weak slashing call on Kevin Hayes (it was a tap on the hip), grants Ottawa the first power play. Almost immediately, Lundqvist is standing on his head, making ten-bell save after ten-bell save. There were two saves in this period that are goals well over 90% of the time. On this power play, he robbed Mark Stone with an incredible left arm save on the goal line. Read more

NYR v MTL Game 3 Analysis Period by Period

AV behind the bench (Getty)

First Period

Kevin Klein makes his first appearance in the series in place of the shaky Nick Holden. After 3 minutes i am shocked at the energy level of the Rangers. It’s awful. Both teams seem lackluster, but that’s ok for the road team as long as the home team is at that level, or in this case, worse. Finally, Mats Zuccarello comes around the net and feeds a hard charging Chris Kreider, who shanks it wide.

The Rangers get the games’s first power play and couldn’t be worse on it. No set up time. No shots. The Rangers continue to play like zombies as they leave goalie Henrik Lundqvist on his own. In three different forays into the Rangers zone Lundqvist stops Max Pacioretty, then Brendan Gallagher, then Paul Byron. The Rangers fourth line is their best line, as they are spending the most time in the offensive zone, as Oscar Lindberg rings a shot off the post. Tanner Glass blasts Jeff Petry, behind the net, then draws a hooking penalty to send the Rangers on their second power play. This man advantage has a pulse but still fails to score. Rangers defensive zone giveaways are mounting, The buzzer sounds after a scoreless period. Ugly numbers: Giveaways- Rangers-10, Canadians -1. Faceoffs Canadians- 70% Rangers 30%.

Lundqvist (A.J. Causi/nyp)

Second Period

Lifeless. The two teams engage in some of the most boring hockey my eyes have ever seen. Many minutes go by without so much as a shot. The fans at MSG are already getting a bit restless, as they have seen too many of these type of playoff games in recent years. The team has effectively taken the crowd out of the game. Krieder, Kevin Hayes, J.T. Miller, and Mika Zibanajad are generating absolutely nothing so far. Miller gives the the Habs their first power play, by playing the puck with his hand on a faceoff. Just a terrible penalty to take. For the first minute, Lundqvist is, as usual, stellar. But Montreal works a great, quick as lightning passing play, from Tomas Plekanek to Brendan Gallagher and finished by Artturi Lehkonen. And, like most fans in all probability, I am thinking that’s all Montreal will need. The period ends with the Canadians up 1-0. The Rangers being outshot 22-12. Ugly.

Skjei (Getty)

Third Period

The third period starts with all of the forward lines jumbled and changed. The Rangers though still showing a lack of passion and complete lack of creativity and offense. The crowd has started to jeer the home team in what seems like 6 straight playoff games over three seasons. Ranger fans are asked to pay an outrageous sum of money to attend playoff games, and now enter the Garden with a sense of dread for post season games which is shameful. Right wing Mats Zuccarello gets his stick up way too high on Andrei Markov, 4 minutes into the period, and draws a four minute penalty.

The timing of this couldn’t be worse as the Rangers need every precious minute to try and tie the score. The Rangers do well to kill the first of the double-minors. But, Shea Weber fires home a great pass from Alex Galchenyuk to tally the Canadians second power play goal of the night. The lead is now, inexplicably, insurmountable. Give credit to Montreal, they are playing very responsible, and almost perfect, defensively. But the Rangers forwards should be embarrassed. Their fourth line of Glass, Lindberg and Jesper Fast has been their best. The word that comes to mind is unacceptable. Alex Radulov finishes off a ridiculous stickhandling, one-handed effort, to make it 3-0. Radulov has had a fine series in both ends of the ice; so surprisingly good at backchecking. With just under 3 minutes left, one of the few Rangers bright spots, Brady Skjei, finishes at set play from an offensive zone draw, with a blast from the blue line. Skjei has elevated his game well enough, with some big checks and an increased dangerous presence in the offensive zone.
The Rangers will have to be much, much better to win on Tuesday. Their goaltender has been as good as anyone could hope. And as they did against Tampa in 2015, they are not scoring at MSG, and strangling the life out of the home crowd.

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