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Rangers Win Eastern Conference Finals; Now Wait For Cup Opponent

by Sam Mines | Posted on Friday, May 30th, 2014
(Andy Marlin, USA TODAY Sports)

(Andy Marlin, USA TODAY Sports)

It finally didn’t take seven games! The New York Rangers finished off the Montreal Canadiens in Game Six Thursday night at Madison Square Garden to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. This is the Rangers first series victory in fewer than seven games since 2008, and more importantly, their first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals since 1994!

It wasn’t easy (and it never is with the New York Rangers) but they came out flying in the first period. It wasn’t their best period of the series (or the game) with a large number of turnovers but they used their speed to get many good scoring chances. By the shot chart alone the Rangers dominated the first period 11-5 and had it not been for the good play of Dustin Tokarski it could’ve been long over by the end of the first.

The second period mirrored a lot of the first with the Rangers running at the Canadiens defense a lot but Montreal fought back a little more this time and created some good chances of their own. One in particular will go down as the defining moment of this game and of the season up to this point. The Canadiens came in on a two on one against Dan Girardi and as Girardi went down to try and block the puck it deflected off of him and was on course elude Henrik Lundqvist but Lundqvist managed to bat it out of mid air with his blocker in an incredible acrobatic display. There was so many players on this Rangers team who deserved to have the game winning goal, Dominic Moore was the one who stepped up and after all the tragedy he has been through he was a worthy candidate. The Rangers speed was controlling play and the Canadiens could not move at all, at 18:07 Brian Boyle slipped a pass through to Dominic Moore who found the back of the net on the blocker side. This is a testament to not only Moore and Boyle but to head Coach Alain Vigneault who has been rolling four lines deep and his fourth line paid off in spades for him in game six.

The third period was the best period the Rangers played possible all season and what better time for that than a conference clinching game? They came out and killed off a penalty and then from there they controlled play. The Canadiens were slower, definitely tired, and just weren’t able to keep up. The Rangers would collect the puck and clear it, then chase it down and shoot the puck. They outshot Montreal 13-5 in that third period and even with the goalie pulled the Canadiens couldn’t put much together. The Rangers finished them off without allowing a goal and punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup Final!

Here are some series stats courtesy of MSG Network: 10 different Rangers scored a goal in the series and four players had at least three goals. Ryan McDonagh (the man traded from Montreal to New York for Scott Gomez) had two goals and eight assists. He is the first Ranger defenseman to score 10 points in a series since Brian Leetch in the 1994 Stanley Cup Final. Finally, the Rangers held Montreal to only 2/23 on the power play.

The Rangers were the better team all series and finally prevailed when it counted the most. Now they have some time to enjoy this win, wait and see who they get in the finals, and start preparing for the Stanley Cup Finals. Game one is Wednesday night so make sure you’re in front of the TV!

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