Rangers vs. Canadiens…It’s Go Time!

Game 4, Eastern Conference Quarter Finals

Montreal leads series 2-1.

Rangers vs. Canadiens -7:00 PM MSG, NBCSN, 98.7 FM. Online streaming is available on nbcsportss.com or the NBC Sports app.

After one of the most listless and pitiful displays I have ever seen from the Rangers in the playoffs, the Rangers try to rebound to avoid going down 3-1 in the series. After lamenting that the team played only 50 minutes in game 2, the team showed us how little they could try by doing nothing for all 60 in game 3. What has been a legitimately excellent series for Lundqvist has been overshadowed by the poorness of the team in front of him.

I’ll be watching tonight’s game on a delay because of parenting responsibilities. Doesn’t RR Jr. know that it’s the playoffs!? Clearly, this is a HAV.

Tonightโ€™s probable lineup for the Rangers, via Brett Cyrgalis (@brettcyrgalis):

Jimmy Vesey-Derek Stepan-Rick Nash

Chris Kreider-Mika Zibanejad-Pavel Buchnevich

JT Miller-Kevin Hayes-Mats Zuccarello

Michael Grabner-Oscar Lindberg-Jesper Fast

DEFENSE

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Nick Holden

Brady Skjei-Brendan Smith

The big news of course is that Pavel Buchnevich is expected to draw in for Tanner Glass, playing in a top 6 role with the struggling Chris Kreider and Mike Zibanejad. This line was gangbusters in the preseason and early in the year before Mats Zuccarello started his season in Buchnevich’s spot. The line has not been reunited since, but anything to spark Zibanejad and Kreider is something that has to be tried. Buchnevich will also see time on the power play, however, the largest problem with the power play, toย my eyes, is about poor breakout and zone entry, which Buchnevich is unlikely to help with.

Also so of note is that Nick Holden draws back in for Kevin Klein after sitting for a game, playing alongside Marc Staal. Klein was bad, but certainly no worse than Holden was in game 2. To me, the bigger issue here is that Brendan Smith falls back to the third pair with Brady Skjei. Frankly, he’s been the best defender in the right side this series. I know AV would never do it, but Skjei and Smith should be playing more minutes than Staal and Holden. Henrik Lundqvist gets the start.

The Canadiens are not expected to make any changes from game 3, having found more balance in their lineup.

The vote totals remain very low. For 700ish comments, we only had 17 voters. Please still take the 10 seconds to click three names and vote.

Donโ€™t forget to tell everyone you know and to follow me on Twitter @rangersreport2. And don’t forget to vote!

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466 thoughts on “Rangers vs. Canadiens…It’s Go Time!”

  1. A request for you fans attending tonight’s game.Try putting down your cell phones and use 2 hands to applaud your team.LETS GO RANGERS

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  2. I know I said I was done with Hayes, Stepan and Kreider. But im a sucker so…. one more chance.

    Apparently Avery is at the game and sitting behind Montreal’s bench?

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  3. Well….This game will hopefully be a a Rangers blowout so I can cheer all night.

    The odds aren’t too good, but optimism before the game is a good thing.

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  4. I’ve been watching the rangers since the late 60’s and I can honestly say the garden crowd and energy is nothing like it use to be and seems to be getting worse each year.

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  5. Show (show) don’t tell (don’t tell)
    Show me don’t tell me
    You’ve figured out the score
    Show me don’t tell me
    I’ve heard it all before
    Show me don’t tell me
    I don’t care what you say
    Show me don’t tell me

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  6. Gallagher has been playing this series exactly like Kreider should be. That said, he looks like Crosby without sausage lips.

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  7. RR2: Beezle, steal a game, like he did in game 1?

    Not saying game one performance wasn’t very good but would not call that “stealing” a game – he was spotted the lead early and protected it while the rest of the team played very well. Stealing a game is when your team is playing like crap and you shut it down. Stealing a game would have been winning game three 1-0 or 2-1 in OT.

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  8. That is NOT a penalty! Price friggin fell while Nash moved his leg to avoid him. That’s the penalty that Kreider had been avoiding all series. Now it’s been called. Time for him to drive the net.

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  9. Ha. Well Nasher watched Fast but missed the part of not killing the goalie. Still, would rather see that than the BS from Sunday

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  10. What is toys so happy about? You didn’t see this act yet? Junqvist will lose it for us. As always. He’s a junk goalie.

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  11. I want to see Kreider come off the bench with a folding chair under his arm and set it up right in Price’s crease

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  12. Yooo Evrockriser!!! What are you talking about? I’m here all the time. I’m a big fan! Huge! I love these guys.

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  13. Who was that that blew the coverage? Couldn’t see from the high replay – should have stayed with his man and let HL deal with the other guy

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  14. As good as the period has been… it’s been average lol. Nothing out of the ordinary. It just looks OK because last game sucked

    Oh good PK time

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  15. This Montreal team is soooooooo beatable amd it’s sooooo obvious. Why the hell can’t they just play friggin defense? What was that, 4 oddman rushes against that period? Eventually it’s going in and that’s what happened.
    Hopefully that wasn’t their only good period. They’re owed at least one more considering they didn’t use it last game.

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  16. The lineman caused the MTL goal. Whichever Rangers dman that was could have made a play on the puck if the linesman wasn’t boxing him out. Instead it became a toss up which Montreal recovered and dished out for the 2 on 1. Bad break.

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  17. OK 1-1 but the compete level is way better. Holden’s gonna have to make up for that blunder with a goal of his own. Watch it at 5:02 of the 2nd.

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  18. @Rob Skjei was caught on the boards there but Holden drifted back and instead of staying with the guy on the same side, turned and moved towards the other. In situation like that he has to keep one guy covered and let HL take the other.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. *First Time Long Time*

    If you continue post the same crap over and over again without contributing to this blog, I will block your silly ass.

    Capisce?

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Hey kids… remember when none of you wanted Radulov when he was available? He’s killing the Rangers and playing hell if a hockey.

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  21. Thanks all from last thread!

    First 10 minutes rangers played just like they did game one and first part of game two, hard and fast and forechecking like demons (just like some of us said they should).

    Mtl goal skjeL way out of position, and stamp boy Stepan just floating back and instead of hustling and taking his guy…wow, how’s that for mailing it in carp? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  22. Nothing about speed game in that goal, unless you have Crosby, malkin, and letang speed is not how you win in playoffs, it’s about forecheck and zone possession time. Up and down one shot and done track meet will get you no where (yes folks, there will be occasional breakaways where you can “speed” away from someone).

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  23. They’ve gotta get to Gallagher between the whistles. He’s just annoying after and Well just get a penalty because he’s a coward and won’t engage then.

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  24. Unlike Kreider, Stepan, Haze, Nash WAS very visible in this series and done a lot, besides scoring 2 goals. So, his habitual trashing in absolutely unwarranted and unfair. Or people have no clue on a subject.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Rangers playing really smart hockey, not trying all star game crap, getting into the offencive zone establishing possession and getting second chance shots

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  26. rangers need to keep the pedal to the medal and get that 3rd goal but I”m always concerned that the zebra’s will have the final say whether the rangers win or lose.

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  27. Easter Island stone face – HAZE, soft giant, FO Master, opponent’s D best friend…and many more qualities.

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  28. You guys don’t watch much sports at all do ya? It’s sad cause the one sport and one team you do watch you’s know very little about.

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  29. whats up boneheads. I didnt see a min of game 2 or 3. But they must have been bad in game 3 bc my dad didnt send me a single text about the game. I tuned in right after the Nash goal tonight and the Rangers look exactly like they did in Game 1. What the heck happened over the weekend?

    i like the line shifts. Good idea.

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  30. so the canadiens can do what they please in this period regarding penalties, I told you guys I didn’t trust the refs, letting canadiens get away with penalties left and right.

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  31. Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a 3rd goal please
    My friends all score winners, I better not freeze
    Worked hard all through practice, no help from my D
    Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a 3rd goal please

    Liked by 1 person

  32. “The refs are letting them play”

    No, by ignoring slashes, elbows, spears, the refs ARE deciding the game.

    Brutal

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  33. Kudos to AV for not having staal/Holden out there and for not having stamp boy out there taking vital draws.

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  34. Pretty happy with tonight’s effort… just have to control their surges a little better… but mostly pleased with how they played. Finally some speed AND moxie.

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  35. You’re killing me Carp…..ok all, time for me to wind down, hope to fall asleep with visions of stick salutes in my head after I clean the litter box of little gallaghers and radulovs …. LGR!!!!!!!!

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  36. It’s amazing – Rangers in last 2 games looked like 2 totally different teams from different leagues. How could it be. Just as mental as play of chess …

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Yeah 4ever, I agree. Looked comfortable out there and not afraid to shoot. I think he had only one giveaway all game, at least that I saw, and it was in the offensive zone and did not present a dangerous situation.

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  38. That was great! What a bounce back from the last game. Nash was a beast. Watching the NHL network guys analyzing the game. They said the turning point of the game was Hank’s reaction after the Habs goal. His anger and intensity turned the heat up on the team. Valley said the other night they needed to have a “hot stove” – guys calling each other out and pushing one another. Don’t know if that was actually the turning point, but it’s clear they played with fire all night. Especially Smith. What a warrior!

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  39. Haze, Zika, Kreider all played good but still nit good enough. Stepan – no comment.

    Vesey is going to be one hell of a player! Love the kid! And Buch was alright, too!

    Nash is great. Playing his heart out. Great to see.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Wooohooo! Just finished watching.
    Hank, McDonagh, and Nash. Your three best players are your three best players. That’s how you win in postseason.
    Buchnevich not only didn’t look out of place, I think he energized Zibanejad.

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  41. I know we won and that’s a good thing. Still too many fancy boy passes, shoot the puck boys, crash the net, bang in the rebound, burn the price. Nash-HL-Smith. Lindberg honorable mention, Carp the gold star!

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  42. I thought every ranger played well except Holden and stamp boy (who I haven’t seen have a good game yet in the series).

    I also thought av made better coaching moves tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Hard to follow this game under the table. Had to clear my throat a bit when My Favorite Ranger (Jesper) scored. Sounds like Mr. Nash played a three-zoner as well. So… who still sucks? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Admiral, I missed seeing it, will try to find a replay, and thanks for the kind words, but it’s easy to stay optimistic about this team and its core. They’ve earned our respect many times over these last few years, win or lose. Best run in the history of the franchise. Love ’em!

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  45. Soโ€ฆ who still sucks?

    ———

    Stepan, Haze…

    people who suck a little less than they sucked before this game but still suck – Kreider, Zika, Holden…

    Liked by 2 people

  46. Holden snow angeled on the MTL goal. Beezle hit the nail on the head. Holden has to take the man without the puck so Hank can focus on one guy. You learn that as a Pee-Wee. Can we put Klein’s brain in Holden’s body?

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  47. Good…going into Game 5 even-up with some momentum.

    But…anybody concerned that Hank hasn’t had his obligatory dud-game yet this series?

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  48. And at least Holden and Klein have made sure that Gorton won’t have to get uncomfortable and ask Staal or Girardi to waive their NMC for the expansion draft.

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  49. Hockey 721 @ 10:02-agree. Tremendous team effort.
    Huge win!

    No let-down. Going to need to be even better to win Thursday.

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  50. Jekyll and Hyde team. pretty hard to predict, but I am happy I get another night of entertainment and clinching before they are done for the year.

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  51. I thought Hayes was good that first shift, which was fairly important, and a few other offensive possessions. Zibanejad only marginally better. Stepan not better at all. Ditto Kreider. Zuccarello played well, but My God, those 3-on-2 and 3-on-1 passes. Miller involved, but not getting enough done.

    These guys are going to have to bring it for the Rangers to win this series, and to have any shot beyond this series.

    Vesey, Nash, Skjei, Smith, the Captain, the fourth line, Staal and Girardi (ducks) all played a strong game. And though Holden ended up on the ice on the Habs goal, it wasn’t a snow angel. He blew a tire. And it was really not his fault. What a fire drill of a breakdown starting with the Kreider change. And Opie (Stamp Boy) naturally several strides too late. He was skating hard, but couldn’t get there.

    My review coming on MSGNetworks.com tomorrow. They don’t post it first thing in the morning like we (I) did in the good ol’ days. So I’ll link youse when it’s up.

    Liked by 3 people

  52. I’m glad that Holden lost his edge (not his mind) on the lone Habs goal. Yes Carp that entire play was a hot mess. Besides Kreider’s bad change, the linesman getting in the way, Skjei finishing his check while a 2 on 1 ensued, it sounds like the play should have been blown dead and both teams awarded too many men penalties. I’m guessing that’s not reviewable?

    I liked the line combos and that AV could truly roll 4 lines.

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  53. Good morning Boneheads welcome to Wednesday. Coffee always tastes better after a stellar victory! Impressed with Hank looks focused Rangers need him to be the best player on the ice. I admit writing him off a bit to soon. They better be ready to play Thursday because Montreal will bring it.

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  54. Did Buchnevich need a diaper? Was he scared, and stupid on the ice? How was the new 4th line? A little faster? Did they play more? Did AV role 4 lines because of the new lineup?

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  55. Rangers survive house of horrors with its lousy ice and fussy fans. Now it’s on to a real arena and a better opportunity to see their A game.

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  56. Their best players carried them yesterday:
    Hank, Nash, McDonagh

    I also find it encouraging that they dominated Momtreal in game 4, yet Stepan, Kreider, Hayes, and Zibanejad have yet to play close to their respective games. If those guys get their act together, Rangers will be in great shape.

    Liked by 1 person

  57. Watching the extended highlights, I note McD, Girardi, Fast, Grabner and whipping-boy Stepan on the ice to close it out. Fast, Nash and whipping-boy Zibanejad just prior.

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  58. My three stars were: Nash, McDonagh and (don’t cringe) Stepan. Yes, I thought Stepan had his strongest game in quite a while even though he wasn’t very good on faceoffs.

    Yeah, Nash 13 in 13. Stinks in playoffs. Or maybe we should call him BGN.

    I can’t really fault Holden on that goal. Stuff happens. I still don’t think he played all that great, but he was left out to dry and then tripped over his own feet.

    Buchnevich didn’t do a whole lot, but they didn’t really miss Glass did they? I’d keep Buch in for game 5.

    So, now it’s on to Montreal and let’s forecheck there.

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  59. Good morning, boneheads!
    I wouldn’t call it dominating, I think this one could’ve gone both ways. But I think Montreal is playing very close to their best hockey while the Rangers are still far from having their all important players at the top of their game. But as of last night their three best players played at their best, and it evened the series.
    Buchnevich was more than fine last night. I think Zibanejad looked better with him on his wing. Kreider still looks nervous, and makes nervous plays.
    As structured now, this is their best lineup.

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  60. Much better performance (and value for the money) at MSG last night. Place was rocking, although still with silly white towels…
    .
    Oscar plays a great north-south game, really sharp on his edges; best center this series. Can’t let this guy go to Lost Wages.
    .
    Mr Smith is worth the picks; 2nd best D-man on team; has a game for April/May.
    .
    Did the lineman get the second assist on the Habs’ goal?? That was BS.
    .
    McCapt’s play spoke volumes. Really making some great plays all over the ice.
    .
    Nash could of had 3. Needs to remember where he scored from – the blue area! Great goal. Price gets the Emmy for that call on the first one. Nash might as well gone full Kreider on him and jammed his knee into his mask.
    .
    Step is even slower live. Played his heart out, just doesn’t have a 3rd gear.
    .
    Rangers in 6.
    LGR!

    Like

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