May 23, 2014

steve laidlaw

2014-05-23

Breaking – Rangers pivot Derek Stepan suffered a broken jaw thanks to that Carcillo Prust hit, and he will undergo surgery. One assumes that Stepan is out for at least a couple of weeks, though the coach would not commit to saying he will be out at all. – Dobber

 

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And just like that we have a series!

 

I've been really impressed by the Canadiens' resilience in this series. I shouldn't be surprised. After all, they battled back against the Bruins. But I figured after losing their best player in Carey Price that they'd lose a ton of confidence. That simply has not been the case.

 

Despite a poor result I did not see any let down from the Canadiens in Games 2 or 3. They still believe they have a shot, even without Price.

 

It probably helps to have a team so committed to blocking shots already. They are already primed to go all out for the man between the pipes, no matter who he is.

 

That doesn't mean the downgrade from Price to Dustin Tokarski isn't huge. The Canadiens have been thoroughly outplayed in this series. If that continues the Canadiens will need more brilliance in goal.

 

Tokarski was shaky in Game 2 but was brilliant in Game 3. I don't quite know what to make of Tokarski's fantasy stock. At 5'11'' he is nowhere near the prototypical size of an NHL goaltender so instead he fits into the "scrappy" mould that most small goalies get put into. But you know what? This guy just wins. He has a Memorial Cup, a Calder Cup and a World Junior Gold Medal to his name. At a certain point you've got to wake up and smell the roses.

 

Unfortunately, Tokarski signed an extension with the Canadiens to keep him behind Price for the next two years so he needs an injury to make him a real asset. Maybe that injury comes and Tokarski gets his chance. Or maybe we have to wait a couple more years before someone gives Tokarski a real shot. Or maybe I'm off my hinges. All I know is that Martin St. Louis will be experiencing nightmares about Tokarski.

 

 

 

Any else amazed by Pierre McGuire's restraint in those videos?

 

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Just to reiterate though, the Rangers really have owned this series. I have little doubt that they will take it in five or six games. They are forcing the Canadiens into so many turnovers and it is sparking their attack off the rush. It's exactly how they opened the scoring in this one and will continue to be their bread and butter.

 

One area that the Rangers were dry was on the power play, which continues to be an issue for them. Granted, the Rangers have come up with some timely power-play goals in these playoffs but they sit at just 14.9%, which is actually below their regular season mark of 18.2%.

 

Bringing in Martin St. Louis was supposed to help with these matters, not hurt. It's important to note that the small sample size of playoff stats make them vulnerable to noise so it's impossible to say whether or not this is an issue that will carry over to next season or not.

 

Another thing to monitor is the absence of Derick Brassard who sat out once again. I definitely feel as though the Rangers miss his presence between Benoit Pouliot and Mats Zuccarello. They went with Dominic Moore and a bit of Brian Boyle in Brassard's place but the line was clearly not nearly as effective. Moore went minus-two in the game, which hardly tells the full story but gives you a clue to how Brassard's absence stretches things for the Rangers.

 

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