For a while Sunday it sure looked as if there was no way the New York Rangers were going to defeat the Montreal Canadiens in game four of their conference finals. Alain Vigneault was saying that the penalties were good calls but I wonder if he was trying his best to lower the tensions of this series.
Sorry coach you are way too late as the Montreal Canadiens have become a team full of divers and actors. Yes the Rangers were guilty on at least 4 penalties but anytime a Canadiens player was touched by a Ranger, that player would go down as if he had been shot or beheaded with a sword.
You would have thought that after game 3 that the NHL would have assigned a crew to call the game tightly BOTH WAYS but the calls were tilted against the Rangers. Coach Vigneault wants to say that his team deserved the calls that they received which is fine with me but I want to know what about the same penalties being called on the Canadiens?
Was it because the Rangers didn’t do a good job “performing a death scene”? J.T. Miller gets rammed into the post by Andrey Markov in a manner that would have made some MMA fighter proud and nothing is called. Miller is a rookie so excuse him for not laying on the ice and screaming for his mother as the kid got up clearly in pain and just skated to the bench.
Ryan McDonagh who has been called a “serial slasher” was repeatedly crosschecked in his back that I am shocked he wasn’t broken in two. The Canadiens were equally guilty of stick fouls only they weren’t being called.
Nothing was more frustrating than to see a ref's arm go up in the air and it was a Ranger being sent to the box. At the same time what in the world was Benoit Pouliot thinking in overtime getting caught holding the stick. He has played well with Brassard and Zuccarillo but how much longer can the Rangers afford his dumb penalties?
Nor were you hearing any of the NBC talking heads talking about the Rangers “embellishing” like they were the Canadiens and these guys don’t like the Rangers. I will give Mike Milbury credit for his idea on how to deal with diving as it would put an end to the nonsense.
The Rangers and their goals showed that they have figured out how to score on Montreal’s Dustin Tokarski but give the Canadiens credit they are protecting their goalie very well and rebounds have been hard to come by. Tokarski falls for the first move opening himself up which the Rangers need to take better advantage of.
If Derek Stepan is not ready to play on Tuesday then instead of J. T. Miller I would go with Jesper Fast who may not be as physical as Miller but he is a better skater. Fast would also play with more energy than Miller which is something the Rangers could use more of. I also would give Fast a couple of shifts with Nash and Hagelin as I seriously doubt Montreal could handle the speed of this entire line.
I wonder what Ryan Callahan is thinking if he is watching the Rangers taking on the Canadiens in this playoff series? Many a Ranger fan is saying if not for the trade that there is no way the Rangers would have advanced this far in the playoffs.
After watching St. Louis in game 4, add me to that list as at 38-39, St. Louis answers my prayer of a player who wants to make THE PLAY when the team badly needs it. I still believe even if it is for just a year that the Rangers should put the “C” on St. Louis and let the rest of the team learn from him what leadership is all about.
As important as game 4 was then game 5 is equally as important for the Rangers to get that 4th win and end this series as soon as possible. Getting rest for this roster after 18 playoff games is a need not a wish and selfishly nothing would help erase childhood heartbreak more than the Rangers ending Montreal’s season on their ice.