STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
Eastern Conference Semi Finals
Rangers win series 4-3
I - WAS 2; NYR 1
II - NYR 3; WAS 2
III - WAS 1; NYR 0
IV - WAS 2; NYR 1
V - NYR 2; WAS 1*
VI - NYR 4; WAS 3
VII - NYR 2; WAS 1*
NEW YORK RANGERS: Broadway Blueshirts Are Headed Back to the Eastern Conference Finals for the Second Straight Season Under Coach Alain Vigneault.
At 11:24 of overtime, Derek Stepen tap danced backwards into the glass. Jesper Fast was first to greet him, and Chris Kreider was next in. Then came the rest of the Blueshirts to join in exhausted jubilation.
Those three forwards were mentioned with increasing frequency as the series wore on. They were the Rangers best line, and the three skaters most responsible for leading the Rangers through a seven game series win over the gamely Washington Capitals.
Chris Kreider led the Rangers with 4 insanely timed goals in the series.
In Game 1, Jesper Fast scored his only goal of the series. More importantly, he assisted on Kreider's opening goal in Game 2, and on Kreider's opening goal in Game 6. He also assisted on Ryan McDonagh's Game 5 winning goal.
Derek Stepan's only goal was the series clincher. He assisted on three of Kreider's goals, and also joined Fast to assist on McDonagh's goal, for a total of 5 points in the series.
Combined, the Kreider/Stepan/Fast line tallied 6 goals and 7 assists for 13 points.
By comparison, the Nash/Brassard/St. Louis line totaled 3 goals and 7 assists for 10 points.
For many periods throughout this series, the Rangers were badly outplayed by the Caps. You can't play an inordinate time in the defensive zone and expect to come out unscathed - not unless you have Henrik Lundqvist in net. Henrik faced 36 shots in Game 7, and stopped all but one by Alex Ovechkin. Overall, he held the Capitals to an average of just 1.57 goals per game.
The King also joined Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur as the only goalies with six Game 7 victories. His 42 saves in Game 6 were a post-season high.
The NHL's most lethal power play was held scoreless in three chances as well. In fact, Washington's power play was held scoreless over the final 5 games of the series. They were just 1 for 15 over seven games.
The Rangers lost 3 games in which they failed to score on the power play, and won 3 of 4 games in which they did score. The Rangers were 3 for 18 in the series, for a 17% mark of efficiency.
The Rangers wound up outscoring the Capitals by a 13-11 margin.
More to come...