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An Ugly Loss For The Rangers

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

Brad Richards had played in 111 playoff games before, but never had he played in one quite like this one.

“Nope. I don’t even know if I’ve seen one like this,” the Rangers’ de facto captain told The Post after the Rangers mangled and bungled away a potential Game 5 Eastern Conference clincher with their chaotic 7-4 defeat on Tuesday to the Canadiens. “We’ve all seen playoff games where it gets out of control physically, but this was something else.

“It was just crazy stuff. Completely out of control in every way. Out of whack. It didn’t even seem like a playoff game.”

Potential clincher or not, desperate opponent or not, late May or not, the Rangers simply were dreadful. They looked like the group that needed to close the door for postgame meetings in San Jose and Anaheim the very first week of the season.

They looked like a team, in fact, that had experienced a collective cerebral absence.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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The Penguins are not built for the playoffs: erradict goal tending and weak defense. It’s fine to cruise through the regular season when everyone can’t think beyond a pay cheque but not so good for the playoffs. The Rangers are a near mirror oppositve with one of, if not the, best goal tender in the league, and a much better top 4 roation on the blue line.

I picked the Rangers to beat the Penguins in my playoff pool because it was a no brainer. But that doesn’t mean I think the Rangers are good.

In spite of the fact that one of my basic pool pick maxims is to go with the better goaltender, I did pick Philly over NY and obviously got burned. But then Philly sucked. And that brings us to Montreal.

Montreal clearly thought it was going to the cup after surviving Boston. Funny how just managing to best a bitter rival and superior team can mess with the head of a young team. (And by young I mean not been there and do not mean the average age.) But, clearly, the Habs thought they were going to do to the Rangers what they did to Tampa Bay. Sweep.

And they could have, and they should have, but a good part of hockey is played upstairs within the brain pan and the plucky Blueshirts and the arrogant Habs slugged it out to a 3-1 series in favour of the Rangers. And yes, it helped that Kreider took out Price but there has already been enough written about the NHL’s ridiculous tolerance of crease crashing.

In retrospect, I am not surprised. Thierrien is a surprisingly good coach but he has some major issues to manage: Subban (love him but how do you mange him?). Pacioretty (see Subban), and Vanek (I no longer give a fart if they sign this guy).

But Therrien also has his blind spots: playing younger D like Beaulieu, complimenting Eller who is his best center in spite of Desharnais, and playing speed in Bournival instead of a steady veteran. So the Rangers have had a lot to exploit too.

But after finishing higher than the Rangers, sweeping TB, and eliminating the best team in the East, the Habs have utterly failed to show up in this series until last night. The first and third period are the Habs I expected in this series and thus the byline should be “An Ugly Win for the Habs” because the Rangers have not won or lost a game yet. It is the play of the Habs that dictates this series and while an opponent can influence how you play, that Rangers have not yet done that.

Habs lose. Habs win. Rangers still might take the series.

Posted by MarronShed on 05/28/14 at 02:25 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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