Martin St. Louis
Gone will be the fear of impending doom. Suddenly, the Rangers are the front-runners against the Canadiens, and their fans now have the chance to celebrate the ride with them.
The Rangers joined star forward Martin St. Louis at his mother’s funeral outside Montreal on Sunday. Head coach Alain Vigneault’s voice cracked as he described the service.
The Rangers will be all business for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday. The next day will be rough, win or lose.
Looking overmatched and overwhelmed while falling behind 3-1 to the Penguins four games into the Eastern Conference semis, it’s the Rangers who head to Game 7 on Tuesday night looking like the team ready to move on.
St. Louis has affected his new Rangers teammates with a no-quit attitude following the death of his mother. These guys would run through a wall for him on any night.
New York has never won a series it trailed 3-1 and has never beaten the Penguins in the playoffs. That trend might be changing, largely due to the emotional lift St. Louis brought to the Rangers this weekend.
“When your season is on the line, it’s a given that you’re going to come in with every ounce that you have — mentally and physically — and put it all on the line,” forward Brad Richards said Saturday.
In Game 5, the Rangers transformed into a confident, cohesive unit. They put away the bad habits that plagued them 48 hours earlier.
Derick Brassard scored twice, including New York’s first power-play goal in 10 games, and the Rangers assayed alive with a 5-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Friday night.
The Rangers’ offense wasn’t good enough before. One coach and one year later, it still isn’t good enough.
The Penguins handed New York three consecutive power play opportunities – and the Blueshirts failed to cash in. What unfolded was the most timid skating any fan has ever seen.
In his first playoff series as a Ranger, St. Louis has been an absolute game-changer for a team that required someone of St. Louis’ ilk to lift it toward greater things.
The Flyers have no doubt they will be back at MSG one more time with their season on the line. The Blueshirts will do their best to make sure that doesn’t happen.
In danger of facing elimination heading back to Madison Square Garden, the Philadelphia Flyers are making a change between the pipes for Friday’s Game 4 of their first-round series with the Rangers. It’s Steve Mason’s net, again.
The Rangers are coming off an important win in Game 3 of their series against the Flyers, but to think everything is just fine and dandy is putting the cart well ahead of the horse. The Blueshirts have work to do.