Carl Hagelin Has Become The Playoff X-Factor

Photo credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Photo credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

You can almost feel the excitement and anticipation in the air. The buzz in and around New York City has been rising, as the city’s Rangers are just one win away from their first Stanley Cup Final berth in 20 years.

Currently holding a 3-1 stranglehold over the Montreal Canadiens, fans are expecting great things in the coming days. However, nothing is guaranteed, as the Rangers were in a 3-1 hole themselves in the second round against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and they won in seven.

I am not saying that the Canadiens will storm back and win this series because the odds aren’t likely. Of course, players will give the cliches like “Just take it one game at a time” and all that nonsense, but the Rangers are just simply playing out of this world right now, they’re on a different level than Montreal, and that has played a major factor.

Another player who has performed above standards is Carl Hagelin. The speedy winger from Sweden has been electric so far throughout these playoffs, and he is a big reason why the Rangers are one win away from the Finals. He’s got six goals and four assists, totaling 10 points in 18 games played.

[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIA1DEDXLYo”]Game Seven Highlights – [/su_youtube]

Now those aren’t off the chart stats, but numbers do not always dictate the all-around performance. Hagelin has given opposing teams problems so far in the 2014 postseason, and that is happening again with the Habs.

We saw Hagelin’s abilities on display on Sunday night, when the Rangers won game four by a score of 3-2 in overtime. Martin St. Louis got the game-winner, but Hagelin was also effective, as he caught the Habs changing and received a long stretch pass from Brian Boyle. Hagelin came in on a breakaway and finished through the five-hole of Dustin Tokarski, giving his team a 1-0 lead in the game.

[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDx0HyO_xco”]Game Seven Highlights – [/su_youtube]

This has been a focal point throughout the entire series. The Rangers no longer beat you down below the hashmarks like they used to under John Tortorella. They now beat you with a simple north-south style of play. Lengthy lead passes have become their forte, and that is how they are beating teams like the Flyers, Penguins, and now Canadiens.

As the NBCSN crew mentioned, the Rangers have been giving Montreal fits with their speed, they simply can’t keep up with the pace, specifically that of Hagelin, and that is why they are losing this series and are on the brink of elimination. Expect Hagelin’s reign to continue through this great playoff run, and be ready to grab your Eastern Conference champions shirts if New York gets a victory tonight on the road. It’s a great time to be a Ranger fan!