Make it 21 straight years with no Canadian Stanley Cup Champion. The Montreal Canadiens were eliminated last night in a game they very easily could have won had they capitalized on their early opportunities.
I felt like the Canadiens owned the first period. They really had the look of the team that wouldn't go away in round two. Then the first intermission came and they had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. It was all downhill from there.
The Rangers took over in the second period getting the game's only goal from Dominic Moore. Then in the third they put it into lockdown.
The Canadiens did have a late flurry with the net empty but they really couldn't find a way to get the puck to the net.
I figured that having to go to Dustin Tokarski would be the downfall for the Canadiens in this series but that certainly wasn't the case. Tokarski wasn't the reason Montreal lost. It is entirely possible that they steal another game or two with Carey Price in goal but Tokarski was pretty solid. The Rangers just had a better squad.
Now that the Canadiens have been eliminated they will face some real questions.
Just how much will they spend to bring back PK Subban?
Can they afford to bring back veterans like Andrei Markov and Brian Gionta (to name a couple)?
If Markov is back (and presumably he will be), can they get another healthy season out of him?
With the Rangers moving on I am one step closer to hitting on my Rangers to win the Cup bet. I got them at 20/1 before the playoffs began. I'll likely hedge before the Final begins but I wouldn't mind being on the Rangers bandwagon a while longer. It's been a pretty good time.
The Rangers explicitly do not touch the Prince of Wales Trophy:
The Benoit Pouliot – Derick Brassard – Mats Zuccarello line was just brilliant last night and really has been great all season. Of all the free agents the Rangers have this offseason those are the three they really ought to re-sign.
Henrik Lundqvist had himself a great bounce-back game. You had to figure he would as he has been dialed in all playoffs and is arguably the best goalie in the land. One thing I look for when Lundqvist has it dialed is when he starts making saves with his head intentionally. He had a slick flick out of play in the third period.
Lundqvist with a spinning blocker save:
Sean McIndoe looks at how the Rangers got to this point: