Saturday, May 16, 2015

ECF Game 1: Rangers 2, Lightning 1

Derek Stepan of the NY Rangers scores a 2nd period goal against Ben Bishop of the Lightning
The well oiled Rangers playoff machine cranked out another tense 2-1 victory today. This  ECF game 1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning followed a familiar script. A script the Rangers have copyrighted. It was a goaltender dominated game from the get go, with a new Rangers hero, Dominick Moore, notching the greasy game winner off his leg with just 2:25 left in regulation. It was the hard working Moore's first goal of these playoffs.

Scoring Summary:
1st Period: None
2nd Period:
19:47 NYR Derek Stepan (4) ASST: Chris Kreider (1), Ryan McDonagh (5), 1 - 0 NYR
3rd Period:
06:45 TBL PPG - Ondrej Palat (4) ASST: Tyler Johnson (5), Victor Hedman (6), 1 - 1 Tie
17:35 NYR Dominic Moore (1) ASST: Kevin Hayes (2), Derick Brassard (4), 2 - 1 NYR
 
The conventional wisdom is that the Stealth GM did not upgrade the team when 28 year-old Anton Stralman was swapped out for 38 year-old Dan Boyle on defense. Just based on Boyle's play today you could argue it was fair deal. Boyle played a very strong game. Especially coming of the bell ringing he suffered in game 7 against the Caps. Today Stralman had 25 shifts for a total on ice time of 22:59, Boyle had 25 shifts with a TOI of 17:56. Both were on the ice when Dom Moore scored the game winner. If Boyle can keep this up the Rangers D is in great shape.

Steve Valiquette's MSG analysis that all the goals scored today came off of plays that crossed the "Royal Road" was insightful. "Royal Road" crossing plays are one of the few ways to beat top goaltenders like the King and Bishop.

Possession across the "Royal Road" equals better scoring chances
Possession across the "Roal Road"
For a refresher on the "Royal Road" and green area scoring check out the Blueshirt Banter's: Video Breakdown: How Steve Valiquette will change how we think about goaltending

It looked like the Rangers were getting more time and space against the Lightning than they were against the Caps. Could we dare say this might be over in less than seven?

Seeing Callahan trying to stay with Kevin Hayes on his pass to Moore for the game winner is reminder that size and youth does have its advantages. Still Cally could not have been 100% coming off an appendectomy 5 days ago. And what's up with Brian Boyle's injury? Could it be that recurring Dutch elm ailment?

Three more 2-1's are fine. Let's go Rangers.

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ICINGS:
Dom Moore celebrates his game winning goal

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