Martin St. Louis
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.
If there was any remaining doubt over his popularity, Daniel Carcillo fully won over Rangers fans with his Game 3 performance. He’s not the villain anymore. He’s their villain.
There goes home-ice advantage. Now the Blueshirts will need to steal a game from the Flyers as their best-of-seven playoff series heads to Philadelphia tied at one game apiece.
It doesn’t matter if these longtime rivals are in the Patrick, Atlantic, or newly formed Metropolitan Division, when New York and Philadelphia clash, it is every bit of a backyard brawl.
This time, the Rangers are not burdened by an overbearing coach who specialized in wearing down his players instead of building them up.
Rangers forward Martin St. Louis is finally comfortable at MSG, just in time for his introduction to one of the fiercest rivalries in the NHL.
He probably won’t win the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy again, nor will he “freight train” opponents for the entirety of 60 minutes — but there’s no doubting the unmistakable game-changing value that Rick Nash brings to the Rangers.
The big fear among the Rangers’ fan base is whether the Blueshirts are built to handle the possibility of essential defenseman Ryan McDonagh and emerging winger Chris Kreider missing the start of the playoffs. As I see it, have no fear.