3 KEYS TO THE RANGERS BEATING THE CANADIENS
New York and Montreal will square off in the playoffs for the first time since 1996.
This Original Six Eastern Conference Finals, pits two teams that are somewhat similar. They each have speed and can transition well, but it will come down to several key factors if the Blueshirts hope to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1994.
1. STAY OUT OF THE PENALTY BOX
Montreal has scored 36 goals in 11 games this post season. 10 have come on the PP. They have the best ranked PP of all teams remaining in the playoffs. However, this past series, Montreal scored 20 goals in their 7 games against Boston. 8 of those goals were on the Power Play.
The Canadiens will look to take it to the Rangers and try to draw penalties. Just like in the Flyers series, when it comes to 5 on 5 play, the Blueshirts should have an advantage. So it will be up to them to stay disciplined and out of the sin bin.
2. CALLING ON RICK NASH
14 games without a goal and counting for Rick Nash. This is it for the big man. I could have singled out other players too, like Derek Stepan and Marty St. Louis. Each of them played well defensively against Pittsburgh, but only St. Louis had a goal. Matter of fact, both Stepan and MSL only recorded 1 more point than Nash.
However, now is the time for Nash to find that gear missing from his post-seasons. If Rick Nash can get going offensively, this could be a short series. My belief is Marty St. Louis will be our best forward in the ECF, but Rick Nash could be the man that puts us in the Cup finals and gives us a real chance to win it all.
1. OLYMPIC REMATCH
Henrik Lundqvist vs. Carey Price! This is literally like Ali versus Frazier, with both goalies at the top of their games. Whether it’s warranted or not, some still want to see Hank win the Cup before calling him “The King”. His play in pressure situations has proven he can handle it. Lundqvist boast the greatest game 7 statistics of any NHL goalie in history, but he needs to get to the Finals to cement his legacy.
Meanwhile, Carey Price is becoming everything the Montreal Canadiens have hoped for. He won Olympic gold beating out Henrik Lundqvist for it, so we know he’s up to the task. However, he’s also had 4 bad games this post season registering a save percentage under .900! Both he and Lundqvist stormed back in the face of elimination in round 2, now they face off in the best goaltending matchup so far this post season.
I have to think that for Henrik Lundqvist, the loss to Price in the Olympics will put a little extra step in his game. A game that has gone into Full King Mode, which could be the last key to a Stanley Cup Finals Trip.