Rangers in (Game) Seven(th) Heaven

Big effort last night by the parent Rangers, rebounding from giving up the game’s first goal and knocking off Ottawa, 3-2, on  the road to force a Game Seven in their first-round series.  The Blueshirts thus avoided, at least for now, making it two NHL conference top seeds to get bounced in the first round.

Derek Stepan had a goal and two assists, Brad Richards scored and had an assist, Chris Kreider scored the eventual game-winner for his first NHL point and Henrik Lundqvist had 25 saves, but the postgame consensus seemed to be that the real hero of the game was Brandon Prust.  With the Rangers down 1-0, Prust fought the Senators’ Chris Neil, who had knocked Brian Boyle to the sidelines in Game Five with a hit that the Rangers thought was suspendable.  Neil, a real tough customer, won the fight, but the Rangers would go on to get the next three goals.

Brandon Prust vs. Chris Neil (courtesy of Getty Images and newyorkrangers.com)

“It doesn’t really matter what anyone did for us offensively. Prusty, what he’s done all year and what he’s done again tonight, it’s unbelievable,” Richards said to the media after the game. “We didn’t want to let him down. I don’t want to say that’s why we won, but we love that guy and he’s done it game in and game out all year. It was awesome to see.”

Trailing 3-1 late in the third, Ottawa got a breath of life when Jason Spezza scored a goal that was, to say the least, controversial.  Neil was in the crease when the puck went in, and replays seemed to indicate that not only did Neil interfere with Lundvist, he also kicked the puck in.  Goaltender interference is not reviewable, however, and whatever video evidence there was, or wasn’t, of the kick was deemed inconclusive.  Luckily for all concerned (outside of Ottawa, that is), the Rangers were able to survive the final 39 seconds, and the controversy did not impact the final result.

Game Seven is now set for Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, and boy, that should be a dandy.

 

Tippett’s Coyotes Oust Quenneville’s Blackhawks

The other NHL game last night saw one former Hartford Whaler, Dave Tippett, knock out another, Joel Quenneville, as Tippett’s Phoenix Coyotes posted a 4-0 win in Chicago against the Quenneville-coached Blackhawks, for a 4-2 win in that Western Conference Quarterfinal series.

It’s only been a quarter-century since the last playoff series win for the Coyotes organization, since the then-Winnipeg Jets beat Calgary in six games in the 1987 Smythe Division Semifinals.

“It’s great to get a monkey off our back,” Tippett said to the media postgame. “To listen  to (Coyotes captain) Shane Doan after the game talk about how much this meant to him to push this  thing along, you just recognize all the work that not just players but  organizational people put in to try to make this thing get done there, and it’s  very gratifying.”

The Coyotes and goaltender Mike Smith pretty much threw a defensive blanket over the ‘Hawks.  Offensive kingpins Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane led Chicago in scoring, but had only four points apiece, and Patrick Sharp was held to only one goal in the series.  The Blackhawks outshot Phoenix 28-8 through the first two periods last night but trailed 1-0, and then gave up three in the third, including a pair in a span of 1:52 late in the period.

“You look at all the other series and it’s kind of comparable,” Quenneville told the media of his best players’ offensive challenges. “The scoring is low, and they (the Coyotes) check well. We open it up there and you saw what they can do. And I think that’s our theme, that we had to play an ugly game and take advantage of our opportunities and we didn’t do a good job of that.”

 

And finally, Cam Talbot’s fine play for the Whale as of late has not escaped the notice of his hometown newspaper, the Hamilton Spectator.

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3 Responses to “Rangers in (Game) Seven(th) Heaven”

  1. elsie Says:

    Any indications whether Max Campbell or Jerry Kuhn will re-join Whale? Their ECHL playoff runs ended in the weekend

  2. chris Says:

    3 days after we swept and no one else in our confrence has played more then 2 games so far. which means even if all the other searieas were sweps we still woulda finished first.

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