NYR- MTL Game 5 Analysis Period By Period


First Period

The Bell Centre is a madhouse at puck drop. After a first shift of Montreal applying some pressure, the Rangers second shift sees Nick Holden work a slick pass play on a 2 on 1 with Mats Zuccarello. The Rangers forward was unable to elevate the puck, and Carey Price made a big save on what looked like an early gimme. Shortly after, behind the Rangers net, Max Pacioretty drills Ryan McDonagh into Alex Radulov’s elbow. It left McDonagh down on all fours.

For those brief moments where no one knew if the Rangers captain was seriously hurt, there was no real push back which I found disturbing. Yes, Dan Girardi gave Pacioretty a quick slash, but there was a need to grab someone by their collar and get in their face. A few minutes later the Canadiens continued with their uncalled stickwork and mayhem. It led to a fight between Brendan Smith and Andrew Shaw. Smith clearly landed the better blows. Meanwhile, Steve Ott, who hasn’t been called for at least 12 minutes of deserved and blatant penalties, somehow jumped on and cross-checked Henrik Lundqvist in the back. Guess what? No Call. Again. At least Brady Skjei was good enough to tackle Ott.
Just past the 10-minute mark, after the Rangers pressed but didn’t score, the puck was sent deep into their zone. Marc Staal picked it up with time to make a play. Then disaster hit. First, the Rangers forwards (Zuccarello, and Hayes) were very slow to come back. Then Staal made a poor decision to go behind the net with the puck and gave it away. Artturi Lehkonen (outscoring Hayes, Miller, and Kreider), wrapped it around as he left Staal in his wake. Kevin Hayes took a holding the stick penalty, on a play that Montreal should have been called offside by several feet. While shorthanded, Mika Zibanejad made a great move, then pass to Jesper Fast who fired the puck through Price’s legs. And that tie lasted 24 seconds as Brendan Gallagher fired a shot (Hayes, Kreider, and Miller are you watching?) that deflected off McDonagh and beat Lundqvist to give Montreal a 2-1 lead. The Rangers were outshot 16-9. The incompetent referees did miss (ignore?) a number of infractions including a slash to McDonagh’s face by Gallagher that happened in full view of a referee.

Second Period

The Rangers start the second period playing brain-dead hockey. First Mcdonagh takes a needless slash on Dwight King. The Rangers with Lundqvist shining in net, kill it off. But, Zuccarello takes another in a series-long penchant for out of control penalties, high-sticking Paul Byron in the neck. The Rangers show fortitude and kill it off, but the Canadiens dominate play for a long stretch after. The Rangers chances are quick and without rebounds. Montreal is clearly winning the puck possession battle. Rangers forwards Miller, Kreider, and Stepan are all missing in action. This period was reminiscent of the zombie-skate in game 3. Lundqvist held the fort and kept the team in. As the period wound down, Rick Nash carried the puck down the left boards and threw an aerial pass across to Jimmy Vesey. Vesey, skillfully zipped up and down the boards, beating 2 Habs and passing to a wide open Nash. Nash, as he has all series (How about you Miller? Hayes? Kreider?), took the puck to the net drawing 3 defenders. He shot, Price saved. The rebound was fished out of a crowd and rammed home by the lurking Brady Skjei. Three Rangers effectively outworked 5 Canadiens, including Price, to score the goal that tied the game. The period ends with the Habs having a 26-19 shot advantage for the game.

Third Period

Montreal and the Bell Centre seem stunned that the game was tied as the third period started. Brendan Gallagher took a slashing penalty 16 seconds in on Jimmy Vesey. Vesey has been outstanding, playing great with Nash. The Rangers power play is again, awful. At this point, they are the only team in the playoffs without a power play goal. Both teams play close to the vest hockey, with shots coming infrequently. With just over 7 minutes left, Andrei Markov finds Max Pacioretty streaking between Skjei and Smith. The Canadiens captain expertly knocks the puck out of mid-air and swoops in alone on Lundqvist. Henrik makes a fabulous right pad save, kicking the puck into the corner and out of trouble. Miller then takes a slashing penalty, to add to his own miseries on the ice. The Rangers do well in killing the penalty, and the last 3 minutes tick off with the teams playing safe hockey.

Overtime

The teams come out playing some exciting hockey with chances more plentiful and play more wide open. As the minutes passed, the play continues in a fast, skilled fashion, which leads to the Rangers taking over. They start getting some prolonged offensive zone time and excellent chances. McDonagh circles the net and just misses Zuccarello on the right post for a tap-in. Girardi finds Buchnevich wide open in the right circle, who inexplicably passes to the left post to a covered Kreider. Buchnevich had time and space and a grade A chance to shoot, but he passed on it. In a portent of things to come, Kreider fans on a bouncing puck in quick pass play with Zibanejad, that also was a gimme. This line was getting great chances out of nowhere regularly in the extra frame. Then the biggest goal of the series so far: Kreider strongly and with speed worked the puck down the left boards. He got to the top of the left circle and put an attempt on net. It deflected off of Alex Emelin’s stick and found Mika Zibanejad streaking towards the net, to the left of Price. Mika fired the puck into the half-open cage to win the game. New York outshot Montreal 10-3 in the overtime.

In The End

This was a huge win for New York. They were not good at all in the first 2 periods. Lundqvist has been all-world all series. The overtime was the Blueshirts best period of the series and hopefully, they can build on it for game 6. More is needed from several of the forwards that were atop of the Rangers leading scorers this season. Marc Staal seemed to really struggle this night. Mika Zibanejad had a strong game not just on the scoresheet, but also on the penalty kill.

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