Habs Chase Rangers and Lundqvist, Stay Alive for Game Six

Danny Briere congratulates Dustin Tokarski as the Habs extended their playoff life Tuesday in Montreal (Bleacher Report)

Danny Briere congratulates Dustin Tokarski as the Habs extended their playoff life Tuesday in Montreal (Bleacher Report)

For the Rangers, you’d hope Henrik Lundqvist has a quick bout of amnesia before Thursday.

The Canadiens were able to power through the Rangers Tuesday night at Bell Centre, off the strength of a Rene Bourque hat trick, sending the Eastern Conference Finals back to Madison Square Garden Thursday night for a pivotal Game Six.

Henrik Lundqvist was chased in the second period, allowing four goals on just 19 shots in a game that was wild throughout, and will almost certainly be the topic of some extra curricular activity from the NHL Department of Player Safety.

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The DOPS is referring to this hit late in the third that sent Weise airborne.  He returned to the bench shortly after, but it’s almost a foregone conclusion that Moore will miss at least the rest of this series, which will more than likely result in Raphael Diaz entering the Ranger lineup.

Moore's blindside hit on Weise (@myregularface)

Moore’s blindside hit on Weise (@myregularface)

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We’d be remiss to not mention Derek Dorsett in this conversation.

Dorsett got the party started….well, before the game even started, when he snowed the Habs young torch bearer during their over the top pre-game introductions.

dorsettsnow

He also head-butted Mike Weaver.

Dorsett goes WWE (@MYREGULARFACE)

Dorsett goes WWE (@MYREGULARFACE)

Bourque and Dorsett also got into it after the final whistle.

Dorsett and Bourque tangle (@petebackburn)

Dorsett and Bourque tangle (@petebackburn)

This is exactly the kind of play the Rangers need to avoid if they want to take this in Game Six.  No need for this mindless, inexcusable, stupid play from Dorsett.  Forget about sending a message and setting the tone for next game.

The positive side of things for the Rangers, if there is one, is that Derek Stepan seems to have not missed a beat after having his jaw broken by Brandon Prust in Game Three.  Stepan notched two goals in the loss while playing with a full face-guard to protect his injury.  Chris Kreider also had four points (one goal, three assists) in the loss.

Looking Ahead

For the Rangers to be successful in Game Six, they’ll need to reduce the number of absurd penalties they’ve taken.  Granted, the officiating has been dreadful throughout the post-season, but the Blueshirts need to avoid “playing down” to the Habs level and getting involved in unnecessary scrums and taking foolish penalties (we’re looking at you, Benoit Pouliot).

The other key to success?  Shoot the puck.  Really.  It’s that simple.  The Rangers were a 39% fenwick for team at 5 on 5 last night, compared to the Habs 61%.  That absolutely cannot happen, despite how well Habs goaltender Dustin Tokarski has played, and make no mistake about it, he’s been more than serviceable.

I’m not worried about Henrik Lundqvist, and nobody else should be either.  He’ll be back for Game Six.  He’ll be ready to go, and he may have a little bit of extra motivation on his mind heading into it.

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For the record, before last night, Bourque had tallied one goal in his previous ten games.

Full Tilt Future Forecast

The Rangers have not won a Stanley Cup Playoff series in less than seven games since the 2008 quarterfinals against the New Jersey Devils.  That being said, I think they settle down for this home game.

These are the situations where the leadership of players like Martin St.Louis and Brad Richards pay dividends, to level out the locker room and get the boys back to playing their brand of hockey.  And Henrik Lundqvist?  No cause for concern, he’ll be fine folks.  Rick Nash nets the game winner to send the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup Final in 20 years.

Prediction: Rangers 2 Canadiens 1

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