Originally written April 16, 2012 on Blue Seat Blogs:
The Rangers gutted out a 1-0 victory over the Sens as both teams proved a low scoring game can be absorbing. Above all it was a goalie duel but the Rangers withstood heavy pressure, particularly in the third and rode their goalie and Brian Boyle to a 1-0 win. A great playoff game; let’s get to the game hits. We’re doing things a little differently from here on in. The recaps will be a little briefer (I’m trying, honest….) and then one of the team will breakdown the goals in a little more detail for each game. So here goes.  First Period Sorry Glen, while starting Kreider was correct, it also showed how much John Scott was a waste of a draft pick. If he wasn’t seriously considered for this edgy, potentially nasty game then he was never going to be needed. Earning your dues: Kreider may have started on the top line (in place of Hagelin) but during the early Rangers powerplay he didn’t get any time with the extra man. That kind of ice time has to be earned. The period had a scrappy feel to it. Both teams struggled to  handle the puck well but the Rangers were especially inept in the possession stakes midway through the first allowing the Sens to get a few shots on Lundqvist and build some sustained pressure without being particularly threatening. Brian Boyle’s line created two great chances with about 11 minutes elapsed in the first. Thanks to great board play and excellent pressure on the puck Boyle and Fedotenko both had great looks on Anderson in front. The shift epitomized the form Boyle is in; he was quick to the puck with his line looking dangerous. Brandon Prust was sharp throughout. Great first from Callahan but you assumed that, I’m sure. He made plays on the penalty kill, was engaged physically (as always) and created a turnover late on and tried to feed the puck to the top of the crease but it got deflected. He always seems to be involved and always makes the right decision. The first period was physical, as you would expect. No one missed an opportunity to finish a check; there were a few scrums and a few (at best) borderline hits such as the Michalek on Prust hit, from behind. While the Sens got several shots on Lundqvist (12 in total), they were mostly from the perimeter and Lundqvist’s rebound control was excellent; anything he didn’t gobble up was diverted to the corners. Biggest frustration of the period was the Rangers’ two on one when Fedotenko elected to pass which Karlsson managed to get in front of, close in. Karlsson clearly gave up the shot and Fedotenko couldn’t have been in a better position yet chose to pass. Second Period Solid start to the second period for the Rangers offense. Generated several opportunities; forced several turnovers, and got one great shift from the top line. The Rangers had a few minutes in the middle of the second where they were scrambling around and the Sens were controlling the play but the Richards line got some sustained pressure 10 minutes in, generated a few chances and showed excellent ability to retain and recycle the puck. The Rangers had a huge chance to score in the second half of the period as Prust streaked to the front of the net and saw his shot saved by a sprawling Anderson. The rebound was put back on net and caused a review but the play was deemed no goal. Somehow it stayed out. It was a great cross-crease feed from Boyle that caused the chance. As the second period was in its latter stages the pace was frantic with chances at both ends. Both goalies were sharp, with a few highlight reel saves by both Anderson and Lundqvist who was excellent through two. Exhibit A: the Rangers second powerplay of the game was poor (poor movement, little pressure) until late on when Anderson absolutely robbed Dubinsky from in front off of a broken play. Following some Sens pressure Gaborik got the puck, used his speed to enter the Sens zone on the right, pulled up and found Richards whose shot broke to Kreider parked in front and only smart defensive play by Kuba (lifted Kreider’s stick) denied Kreider a debut goal. It was nice to see Kreider go to the net, a different dynamic to the top line. Third Period The Rangers began the third period scrambling around in their own zone. The Sens created a ton of pressure because they simply managed the puck better. The Sens had a partial break away early in the third which was broken up by a smart diving play by Stralman who was having a solid game defensively. After seven minutes of the third Lundqvist had made multiple spectacular plays to keep the Sens at bay. He was sharp and focussed; evidenced by a save off a deflected shot right in front which was harder than it looked. Sucker Punch. Perhaps the first time the Rangers were able to get deep in the Sens zone they scored a huge goal as a funny rebound off the backboards came to Brian Boyle in front who chipped it high over Anderson. In games this tight it’s often a strange break that leads to a goal and that happened from the deep shot, bouncing to Boyle. The Rangers goal didn’t change much as the ice was clearly titled towards the Rangers end throughout the third. Brian Boyle – playoff monster. Forces the breakaway on the penalty kill with great pressure, gets a good chance on the back handed and draws a penalty. How many times can I say it, Boyle has been brilliant recently and in this game. Not just for his goals. His shift to spring Callahan on a breakaway later in the third was heroic and skilled all in one shift. The Senators threw everything at the Rangers late on but only one team can have Henrik Lundqvist who made a ton of saves through traffic. The Broadway hat clearly deserved two owners after tonight’s game. Brian Boyle put on one of the best all round performances in several playoff seasons while Lundqvist was literally perfect. Positionally sound, he was a wall. The Rangers gave up a ton of possession but stole one on the road. 

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