Down But Not Out

Despite the 2-0 deficit, the Rangers are still in this series

Despite the 2-0 deficit, the Rangers are still in this series

After two heartbreaking overtime losses to open the Stanley Cup Final the New York Rangers find themselves in desperation mode. True, they have been able to come back in the playoffs before, but with two more games looming in Los Angeles, if the Rangers want a legitimate chance to hoist the Cup this year they need to win at Madison Square Garden. Despite the losses, the Rangers have outplayed the Kings in the first two games. With a few unfortunate bounces and two clutch game winning goals, one could argue that the Rangers have been the better and more consistent team in the first two games. This would be a different situation if the Rangers lost in regulation by multiple goals or looked outmatched. The one concerning aspect that the Rangers must take from the previous game was their inability to hold the lead. Not once, not twice, but three times in game two did the blue shirts squander a two goal lead. Lundqvist and the penalty killing unit are playing well, but the Rangers need to improve on two things above all else. First, their power play has been atrocious and the team seems to play better at full strength. Second, stop passing the damn puck too much! I swear the Rangers get too pass happy instead of trying to take open shots or drive to the net. When the Rangers have attacked the net directly in this series is when they’ve had the most success. Ever game in the Stanley Cup Final is crucial, but if the Rangers want to beat the Kings and get back track they must win tonight.


Kings Vs. Rangers: Stanley Cup Preview

Kings Vs. The King

Kings Vs. The King

It’s finally here! The Stanley Cup Final is upon us. From the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Kings have battled through the defending Cup champions and look for their second championship in three years. From the Eastern conference, the New York Rangers have been the perennial underdogs who find themselves in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in twenty years. With talented rosters and very different roads to reach the Cup Finals, the question is who has the edge? Both teams have been up and down this postseason and have been on the brink of elimination. Now we have the battle between Los Angeles and New York City to see who will be the Cup City. Let’s see how these two teams matchup.

Offense: The Rangers have relied on their speed and aggressiveness to manufacture goals this postseason. With clutch goal scoring at crucial times, the New York offense has scored when it needs it the most. However, despite their speed and ability to use their defense as a fourth forward in the zone, the Rangers still do not have the Kings fire power. The Rangers may distribute the scoring, but scoring leader Martin St. Louis has six goals while LA has four players with more than six goals. The Rangers have also struggled mightily on the power play while the Kings have been one of the best teams on the power play this postseason. The Rangers have been clutch, but with LA’s firepower including Marian Gaborik’s team leading 12 goals, the Kings are the better offensive team. Edge: Kings

Defense: Defense can win championships. LA has some of the most physical defensemen in the NHL. LA will have the physical edge over New York, but the Rangers defense is one of its biggest strengths. Not only does the Rangers defense have incredible speed, but their ability to block shots this postseason is a major reason why they are here. This defense has been great taking the pressure off of Lundqvist when it counts. In game six they held the Canadiens offense, one of the best in the league, to eighteen shots on goal for the whole game. With the fewest goals allowed this postseason the Rangers are hoping that the old saying that “defense wins championships” will work for them. Edge: Rangers

Goaltending: This is what will make or break the series for either team. . There is no question that both Quick and Lundqvist are two of the best if not the two best goaltenders in the NHL. With this being such a close call it is in my opinion that whoever has the best goaltending in this series will win the Cup. With that said, I am giving just the slightest edge in this competition to the Rangers. What? Is probably what most of you are saying. It’s understandable you’ll argue that Quick is younger, has a better post season record, and oh by the way a championship ring already. So why does Lundqvist get the edge? One word, consistency. When Quick is on he is the best goalie in hockey, no question. The problem? He has been maddeningly inconsistent. His 2.86 GAA and .906 save percentage is still far behind Lundqvist’s 2.03 GAA and .928 save percentage. Lundqvist did have that terrible game 5 in Montreal, but when the Rangers have needed him most, he has answered the call. Quick has also played his best hockey when the Kings have been backed into a corner too, but part of the reason for that is his poor play in the beginning of some of those series. Jonathan Quick has given up more than four goals in a game five times this postseason. compared to Lundqvist’s four times. This battle is neck and neck and if Quick plays his best, he is better than Lundqvist. However, Lundqvist has more at stake than Quick and is more reliable than Quick this year. Edge: Rangers (Slight)

Conclusion: Rangers in Seven

This will be a close series. One lucky bounce or bad penalty could decide the who will be champ. The Kings do have home ice advantage, but the Rangers have played well on the road with a 6-4 away record. This will be a great series that will go at least six or seven games. While I won’t be surprised if the Kings win, especially with their experience and if Quick is on, the Rangers are my pick. With their clutch scoring, defense, and Lundqvist in the net I believe the Rangers have the slightest edge and will bring back the cup to New York for the first time in twenty years.

All Hail the King!! Lundqvist leads the Rangers

Last year Quick propelled the Kings, this year could be Lundqvist's turn

Last year Quick propelled the Kings, this year could be Lundqvist’s turn

Down 3 games to 2 and facing elimination, the New York Rangers once again  would put the burden on their star 31-year-old goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. What they got in return was one of the greatest performances by a goaltender in recent memory. Lundqvist shut out the Capitals in both game 6 and 7 propelling the Rangers into the second round of the playoffs again the Boston Bruins. Lundqvist shut down one of the NHL’s most potent offensive units at a time when the Rangers offense couldn’t buy a goal.  Not only did his 120 minutes of shut out play save the Rangers season, but also made a statement that no one should sleep on the blue shirts. We’ve seen it before, hot goaltending can propel any team to the Stanley Cup finals. It happened last year with the Kings, who behind the dominant emergence of Jonathan Quick went from the bottom of the barrel as the eighth seed, to the king’s of the hockey world. With Lundqvist’s recent hot streak, this year could be the year that the Rangers finally make it to the Stanley Cup

Lundqvist is the rock the Rangers need to win their first cup since 94

Lundqvist is the rock the Rangers need to win their first cup since 94

for the first time since 1994. While many experts believe that the Rangers offense will be the key for this team, as long as Lundqvist can continue to play at the high level he is capable of, then the Rangers will be in every game. Looking at the other teams in the Eastern conference, there is no question that the Rangers have the elite net minder. Rask, with the Bruins, is a very talented goaltender, but he is very inconsistent. One night he can turn in a shut out performance, but the next game allow five goals. Don’t even get me started with the Penguins. My god, sieves have fewer holes than Marc Andre-Fleury. Despite Thomas Vokoun’s performance, after replacing the incumbent Andre-Fleury, against the Nw York Islanders; he is a glorified backup that still hasn’t been tested. Sure he’s played two great games, but can he really keep up his performance against the Senators? Then the Senators, jeez talk about a revolving door between the pipes. They switch goalies so much I can’t even keep track anymore. Listen, I’m not saying it will be an easy road for the Rangers, because it never is, but the way King Henrik is playing and the recent resurgence of the dormant offense, this could finally be the year that the Rangers get back to the Stanley Cup Finals, and the year that King Henrik finally receives his crown.