Following on the New York Ranger’s solid victory in Wednesday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers, they had some time to pull together a plan to win Sunday night’s game with the Montreal Canadiens — and they pulled it off.
The standout player in the 5-0 Rangers vs. Canadiens victory at Madison Square Garden was Martin St. Louis who pulled off both a goal and an assist, though he was among many strong players — the Rangers controlled kept control of the game from beginning to end.
According to Henrik Lundqvist, goaltender for the Rangers, the last two games have been some of the best playing they’ve done all year. They’ve been “just really paying attention to all the details,” Lundqvist said, which in his view is what you need to succeed.
Before they defeated the Flyers, the Rangers had lost seven of their previous nine games. Then they beat the Flyers and got a few days rest after a major snowstorm in New York canceled their Friday trip against Buffalo’s Sabres.
Coming out of the break, they got a quick start on the weary Canadiens and didn’t relent until the game was over, even creating some prime chances for scoring late into an already-decided game.
Currently Montreal (16-6-1) leads the NHL by 33 points, while the Canadiens won eight of their last nine games before the Rangers loss. Saturday night saw them score an emotionally-charged 2-0 victory versus the Boston Bruins, who are the team’s biggest rival. The New York game was the sixth game in nine days for the Canadiens.
Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban said the team didn’t really want to fall back on the excuse of being tired. Rather, if there was anything they could have done better, it would have been better puck management early on in the game.
The first period was carried by the New York Rangers (9-7-4) but they only managed to get a one-goal advantage.
The game turned in the middle period as Martin St. Louis gave his team some room to breath with two great plays, including one in the first minute of the middle period. Chris Kreider passed to St. Louis as the Rangers went into the zone, and St. Louis went on towards the right circle before he backhanded a pass to Derek Stepan (near the top of the left circle) through two Canadiens defenders.
Stepan then snapped a shot into the goal, making his second goal this season and giving the Rangers a 2-0 lead just 35 seconds into the middle period.
Even the Canadiens admitted the second goal was key for the Rangers. “We did not cover well,” said Canadiens coach Michel Therrien. In his opinion both their transition and checking games were not good.
Later in the same period, St. Louis managed to lift Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin’s stick to steal the puck, which gave him a clear path into the net. He managed to score while moving to the right, lofting his shot into the net’s top-left corner after waiting for Tokarski to commit to sliding across his crease.
This Friday, Philadelphia Flyers will host the Rangers and it will be interesting to see how New York Rangers face the likes of Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux. The tickets for this Thanksgiving Showdown might still be available so you can still enjoy New York Rangers here.
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