Quick Hits – Rangers vs Senators Game 4 5/4/17
Here is my recap of the Rangers 4-1 win over the Senators
Balanced Offense – Perhaps the biggest advantage that the Rangers have had all season has been their depth. And the depth came through once again. Oscar Lindberg had two even strength goals and his line combined for five points. The Stepan line combined for nine shots on net, including the Rangers PPG midway through the third period. Even on a night where Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello, and Mika Zibanejad don’t “tickle the twine,” there should be no worries that the team won’t be able to score goals.
Tanner Glass – For a player who spent 98 percent of the regular season in Hartford, Tanner Glass may have been the most effective Rangers forward in the postseason. And before people go crazy on me, I am not saying he is the best player on the team. But for a “tough guy” in today’s NHL to have the impact that Glass has had, is truly remarkable. In the five playoff games he has participated in, Glass has four points (G, 3A) including two assists in this one. And as you’d expect, Glass was involved physically, laying down seven hits and blocking a shot. With all the talk of Glass vs. Buchnevich, the bottom line is this: Buchnevich may be more skilled, but Tanner Glass is better for this team right now.
Team Defense – The Rangers got contributions from their defense all night; and I’m not talking about scoring, per se. Brendan Smith fought Dion Phaneuf, Nick Holden broke the ice in the first period, and the team blocked 22 Ottawa shots. Good defense requires a full team effort, and the Rangers have gotten that the last two games. The Senators had 23 shots on net, plus an additional 12 that missed the net. The Blueshirts are forcing the Senators into making bad decisions, and are going the other way and capitalizing on the opportunities. If they can give this kind of effort for the rest of the postseason, they will be tough to score against.
“You mess with the bull, you get the horns.” – Glass on fight with Turris toward end of the game
Special Teams – There has been a lot written about the Rangers special teams this year. And while the Blueshirts were just 2/26 with the man advantage entering this one, they were able to convert in the third period. After Clarke MacArthur hooked Brady Skjei, Chris Kreider banged home the rebound, after captain Ryan McDonagh’s shot was stopped by Mike Condon. On the other side, the Rangers PK was a perfect 2/2 in this one, putting them as the third best in the NHL postseason. After what was a bit of a struggle for part of the season, the PK has bounced back at just the right time for the Blueshirts.
Henrik Lundqvist – Aside from the Kyle Turris snipe through the legs of Marc Staal, it was a pretty workman-like effort from King Henrik. Lundqvist made 22 saves, including this beauty in the third period. Henrik has been stellar in this postseason, and for the first time in a while, he is getting goal support. Henrik will be Henrik; so if the Rangers can find ways to score on a nightly basis, they’ll be in a great position going forward.
Fight Night at MSG – With the game winding down and the outcome pretty much sealed, the Senators decided it was time to “send a message.” In the last 2:30 of the third period, the Senators had six players sent off for an early shower. But here is the thing the Senators may have forgotten: the Rangers don’t mind playing the physical game. The Rangers came into this series after defeating the Canadiens in a grueling and heavy hitting matchup. The Rangers didn’t take any stupid penalties on this night, but when the Senators decided it was time for fisticuffs, the Blueshirts had no problem answering the call.
A Good Start – You hear it over and over from the coaches about how important the start of the game is. And much like game three, the Rangers got off to a very good start. The Rangers ended the first period with a 1-0 lead, and an 11-7 shots advantage. But it’s more than just the stats. The fact that the Rangers jumped out to the early lead meant that the Senators had to go after the tying goal. While that seems obvious, it’s worth mentioning because it means that the Senators can’t play their 1-3-1 trap. The way the Rangers have played these last two games is exactly how they have to play the rest of their season. Establish the forecheck early,
get the legs moving, throw your weight around, and go hard to the net. It’s worked for the last two games, now it’s got to work through the end of June.
NEXT GAME: The Rangers head off to Ottawa for Saturday’s game five. Puck drops at 3!
LETS GO RANGERS!!