I bet that many a New York Ranger fan was enjoying every
second of the Ranger’s 7-2 beating of the Montreal Canadians in game one of the
Eastern Conference Finals. Please by all means enjoy the win as Lord knows how
many times that the ghosts of Montreal’s past have led to nightmare losses.
Savor the win because it was a classic textbook coaching job
by Alain Vigneault as he couldn’t make a bad move in having to cover for the
loss of Derek Brassard who was injured on his very first shift of the game. But
come Monday night discard everything you will remember about this win when game
As much as we want to believe what the Rangers did to the
Canadians was the beginning of some kind of magical four game sweep, that won’t
be the case. If anything the Rangers still have some demons that they need to address
before they will win this series.
Pretty sure Ranger fans will get sick of hearing about the
Ranger’s 13 game losing streak when they have had a lead in the series just as
they will that the Rangers have lost 8 straight game two’s. I sadly have one
more demon to add as in 1979, the Rangers would shock the Canadians in game one
4-1 only to lose the next 4 games and the Stanley Cup.
Call it a coincidence but that year Montreal would defeat
the Boston Bruins in the semifinals and the underdog Rangers would knock off
regular season champions the New York Islanders. Game one was a Ranger delight
but unknown to Ranger fans and (rumor has it) players and coach was that Ranger
goalie John Davidson hurt his groin. The Canadians had little trouble winning
the next 4 games to deny the Rangers a Stanley Cup.
Let’s enjoy this win because Sunday will be a sad day for
the Ranger universe as Marty St. Louis will be attending the funeral of his
mother France St. Louis. That the entire Ranger team and staff will be in
attendance screams volumes about how this tragic event has united the team.
That is why we should savor this win because of how hard it
must have been for St. Louis to have played knowing that one day later he would
be burying his mother. That St. Louis scored the first goal in this series also
speaks about the leadership and character that he has.
Maybe we should hold off on handing Ryan McDonagh the “C”
just yet as maybe the Ranger franchise might benefit from having St. Louis as
their captain even if it is for one season. Think about it for a second as look
at the impact that St. Louis has already had in such a short period of time
with the Rangers.
Now imagine what a full season with St. Louis could do for
the entire team? It gives McDonagh (who will turn 25 in June) a year to be the “heir
apparent” and allows him to slowly move into the duties as captain.
But before we forget the game let’s enjoy these highlights:
Dom Moore deserves a contract extension more than anyone
else as where would the Rangers be without his play in the playoffs? Answer:
playing golf by now so sign him Glen before he decides to test the free agent
Rick Nash finally scored and how he scored is proving that
he needs to be facing (attacking) the net as the Canadians do not have an
answer for how to stop an attacking Rick Nash.
2:51 decided this game as the Rangers scoring 2 goals in the
first period in a span of 2:02 and then 2 more goals in a span of 49 seconds in
the second period just sucked the life out of the Canadians. Stick tap to the
Rangers for remembering to stay composed and not respond to Montreal’s attempts
to goad them into taking penalties.
Brian Boyle who is making so hard to dislike the player
formerly known as Mr. Softee stepping into the center spot after Derek Brassard
was hurt and then going a game best 9-2 on faceoffs. Add in a blocked shot and a take away and
Boyle played a “Broadway Hat” game.
Alain Vigneault playing the role of chess grandmaster to
Montreal coach Michel Therrien coaching like he was playing checkers. The
masterful way that Vigneault split up Derek Brassard’s shifts kept Montreal off
balance for most of the game. The Canadians were expecting one set of lines and
Vigneault was coaching like he was playing “now you see them, now you don’t.”
Henrik Lundqvist wasn’t really tested and the Rangers
holding the Canadians to just 22 shots will pay dividends as this series moves
forward. After playing as much as he has in the previous 2 series to have a
laugher like this was helps give Henrik some badly needed rest.
Now that you have enjoyed the game one win it is time to
close the book on the win. On Sunday remember to make sure to tell those who
mean the most to you how much they mean to you. As we have witnessed by the
passing of France St. Louis, in a second they could be gone and you will never
get that chance again.