NYR v MTL Game 2 Analysis- Period By Period
Game 2 Analysis
Montreal comes out in very good form. They continue to clog the slot, allowing only shots from the angles, and the points. The Rangers structure is not as tight early on, compared to game one, but by no means is it weak. The Habs are determined. Brendan Gallagher is permitted to skate through the crease so close to Lundqvist, he causes his stick to break. Problem number one is the very obvious penalty that was missed. Then the Rangers clear the zone, and for some reason do not cause a stoppage so Hank could get a new stick. That’s hockey 101. Go offside. Ice the puck. Get a draw. Sam and Joe theorized the players didn’t know the goalie had no stick. Tough for me to believe. Hank was screaming about the no call, and I am sure the bench was also. Jeff Petry is able to walk in from the right circle and fire it high stick side (again, he had so stick) to give Montreal a 1-0 lead.
The Rangers gradually start to get momentum to swing back to them. Jordie Benn, who appears very overmatched, allows Derek Stepan to strip the puck, feed the point for a dangerous shot, followed by a just wide rebound. Micahel Grabner blocks a shot or pass attempt by Nathan Beaulieu (-3), also severely overmatched, and dekes Price to the ice and ties the game. The tie doesn’t last long. Nick Holden fires a pass to Chris Kreider, who fumbles it allowing the Canadians to steal the puck with speed. The puck goes behind the net, and Holden and Marc Staal foolishly wind up chasing it. Gallagher feeds a wide open Paul Byron and just like that it’s 2-1, Montreal. Price makes a huge late save on Rick Nash, after Ryan McDonagh zipped a great lead to Mika Zibanajad. Shots wind up even at 9.
Confusing how Montreal came out of the exchange with PP after Ott’s blast on Zuccarello???
— Kerry Fraser (@kfraserthecall) April 15, 2017
The Rangers come out playing hard and though down, seem to be finding the weak links on the defense. They get the first power play of the game as Alex Radulov seems to think absolutely nothing will get called, gets nailed for slashing Jimmy Vesey. The power play get very little done. As it ends, Steve Ott takes a wild run at Mats Zuccarello. It was a textbook interference call. It was a borderline major penalty. And, after a scrum and fight between Shea Weber And JT Miller, the Canadians wind up on the power play. Oh, and no call on Ott at all. The gritty Rangers kill off the power play, and seem to have a chip on their shoulder.
They throw back the calendar, and get a goal that looked like so many they scored in November. A lightning quick pass play starting in their zone with Holden hitting Vesey, who enters the offensive zone, feeds a streaking Rick Nash, who fires a great shot high to the glove side of Carey Price. Momentum is now clearly on New York’s side. Five minutes later Derek Stepan feeds Brendan Smith whose shot/pass deflects off Zuccarello, giving the Rangers their first lead, at 3-2.
Seconds later the Canadians Jordie Benn takes a bad interference penalty. The Rangers get their best set up of the series when Zuccarello finds Zibanajad open in the slot 12 feet from Carey Price. Weber gets the big block as Price was practically helpless on the attempt. The Rangers get another man advantage late in the period, which carries over as time runs out before they can get any good shots. The Canadians take a shots on goal advantage of 18-12.
The Rangers squander another power play that carried over. Both teams penalty kill have been fantastic. The problem there is the Canadians have been undisciplined and not paying a price for it. Zuccarello takes an early holding the stick penalty, sending the Habs to a power play. The Rangers are putting on a penalty kill clinic. They are taking the Canadians bread and butter, shots from Weber and Andrei Markov, away with their formations. So far, Montreal hasn’t made an adjustment. Almost 6 periods into the series, Alex Galchenyuk has been invisible. I wonder if he is playing hurt? The desperate Canadians are pressing hard. They would outshoot the Rangers 18-9 this period, and at least 5 of those shots were very dangerous.
The Rangers start relying on the icing of the puck to get out of the zone. Hank gets away with a mistake when Montreal gets a rare passing play that finds Max Pacioretty deep, on Lundqvist’s right. Hank followed Pacioretty behind the net to defend. His defense was able to defend the attempted pass in front, then Lundqvist got back to glove the puck, and get a faceoff.
The Rangers are now frustrating the Habs with a 1-4 neutral zone trap, as time ticks down. Montreal pulls Price. The Rangers are able to get a clear, with a little over a minute left. The Rangers change, and the Canadians press again. Under a minute, and the puck is still int the zone. With 50 seconds left Staal gets the puck to Grabner. He has one Montreal defender in front of him, and fails to clear the zone. My thought at the time was that that puck had to get out, one way or another. The puck then kept finding red sweaters, as the Rangers 5 looked more and more fatigued. Making matters worse, Holden breaks his stick, and couldn’t defend Tomas Plekaneks deflection. The game is tied with 17 seconds left. Holden and Staal were on for all 3 goals against at this point. Montreal now has a 45 to 30 shot advantage. Suffice to say in this game, Henrik Lundqvist is standing on his head.
I recall twice in recent years, the Rangers tying the Capitals late in playoff games. Brad Richards in 2012, and Chris Kreider in 2015. Both were in MSG, and fairly early in overtime, the Rangers scored with Marc Staal, then Ryan Mcdonagh, with the game winners. Obviously this thought scares me because New York is now playing the role of Washington. The OT starts with Montreal just hemming the Rangers in. They weather the first surge. Chris Kreider takes a stick breaking slash, as the crowd is demanding any call they can get. Lundqvist shines, as the home team keeps firing away. I am wondering aloud if Shea Weber ever comes off the ice. Seriously, it seems they only trust Weber, Markov and Petry. The penalty is killed and time keeps ticking down. Montreal is clearly getting the better of the play. Again, they have a shot advantage and a clear puck possession edge. After Rick Nash makes a great defensive play in picking Pacioretty pocket, he skates to centeri ice, and Nash gets stripped from behind by Max Pacioretty himself! He gains the zone and the pucks goes from one open Canadian to the next, until Pacioretty centers to Radulov in front and on his second attempt, truckles the puck by Lundqvist. Mika Zibanajad was there, but wasn’t nearly as tough as he should be on his check.
The shots on goal advantage the Canadians had was obscene. 58-38. That has to be taken as an emasculating number by the Rangers. They need to turn that around at home on Sunday. They have found the weak marks on the opposition, and have the last change to get the matchups they like. There could be no complaints about the PK. But, the power play must get better looks. A bright side is the Rangers outhit Montreal, but that also means they didn’t have the puck enough. Fast and Glass have been finishing every check with gusto. The fourth line has played mainly in the offensive zone. That is a big plus. The hits they are throwing take a cumulative toll. Mcdonagh, Zuccarello, Nash, Vesey, and Stepan have been very good, and making plays. Miller and Hayes have to start leaving more of an offensive mark on the games. And, the biggest positive, is without question, Henrik Lundqvist has been spectacular.