By Brian Monzo
» More Columns
The Rangers made you sweat (as did the NHL refs — what else is new?), but found a few ways to score some very critical goals and defeated the Senators 3-2 in a must-win Game 6 in Ottawa.
The Rangers got a spark from the returning Carl Hagelin, and reunited with Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards. Richards would spark the Rangers in the second period. The Rangers were down 1-0 in the middle of second and on the power play. Derek Stepan would get open and Richards would hit him with a great pass that led to the Rangers’ first goal in what seemed to be 56 games.
10 minutes later, Richards found the back of the net on the power play.
Hagelin’s speed was evident all night. He got to pucks and was great on the penalty kill. It is amazing how much of a difference he made.
The Rangers needed big plays from their big players. Richards did just that last night.
Stepan had been borderline invisible. He had a goal and two assists.
Chris Kreider, getting more minutes with the injury to Brian Boyle, scored his first NHL goal late in the second period. It would turn out to be the game-winner for the Blueshirts. Kreider would be paired on an ‘All-American’ top line with Stepan and Ryan Callahan.
You have to love Ryan McDonagh in games like this. He has become the Rangers’ best all-around defenseman. He blocks a ton of shots and matches up against the opponents best players. He did all of that last night, including a handful of gigantic blocks in the third period.
Gaborik continues to be quiet, but his play has been effective. He is perhaps playing the most physical brand of hockey he has played in his career. In Game 7, I would expect him to show up motivated and ready to go.
On their handful of shifts, the fourth line of Mike Rupp, John Mitchell and Artem Anisimov created a few chances. However, I don’t love Mitchell getting power play time, and Anisimov is slowly becoming a ‘blending in’ type of player. Anisimov will need to step it up on Thursday.
I thought Brandon Dubinsky played his best game in a long time. He controlled the puck and won face-offs. You can tell he has zero confidence shooting the puck and is too often looking to pass the puck as oppose to looking for the shot. The best way to get confidence back is to score a goal. Only way to do that is to shoot. I would also like to see him get some power play time.
Brandon Prust perhaps did what turned the game around for the Rangers. He would drop the gloves with Senators forward Chris Neil. Prust may have taken the worst of that scrap, but it sparked the Rangers’ play.
Neil, the guy that took Boyle out, would later take a high hit from Michael Del Zotto. Del Zotto is not looked at as a dirty player. Did he get his elbow up? Maybe. Neil didn’t appear to have a lingering injury. He skated off on his own power and returned to play.
In the postgame, the big, tough guy that he is would go on to say that maybe Thursday he will catch Del Zotto with his head down. Sounds like a threat of some kind to me. It’s this kind of mentality that disgraces the NHL.
Neil is clown. I hope the Rangers have a plan for him on Thursday, and hopefully that includes knocking him around.
There aren’t words to descibe how good Henrik Lundqvist had been. He has made endless amounts of clutch saves throughout the series. Last night, that would not change. He stopped Daniel Alfredsson in the second period on a one-timer, as well as countless amounts of flurries in front of the net in the third period. His best save would come in the third, when Kyle Turris was open on the power play.
The Senators scored their second goal late in the third period when after Neil would interfere with Lundqvist, he would kick the puck in. It was reviewed and ruled a goal. Lundqvist was baffled and in the post game said it was scary that something like that can be ruled a goal, and that someone wants them back in the game. He will likely get fined for this, but it is hard to argue with his point.
The Rangers now have a Game 7 on Thursday at MSG. The house will be loud and ready to go. I would expect the Rangers to be the same.
Follow me on Twitter as we prepare for a huge night: BMonzoWFAN
What’s your prediction for Game 7? Be heard in the comments below!