All hail King Henrik for New York, because he was the reason that the Rangers took game 1 of their Eastern Conference Final 3-0. It may seem counter-intuitive to consider a 3-0 score to be mainly a goaltender’s victory, but this was a hard won shut out for Lundqvist, who faced immense pressure from a much better New Jersey squad who deserved to win.
Tired from two consecutive game 7 series with barely more than a long weekend in between tilts, the Rangers came out groggy and slow in the first two periods. They made defensive errors with Lundqvist bailing them out time after time. New Jersey played two solid periods with a good cycle game and good puck movement. They should have scored several times, if it wasn’t for bodies clogging the shooting lanes, some of which were tired and bruised.
The Rangers are dedicated to the most frustrating game style in the world of hockey. They basically defend the entire game and then capitalize on errors made by the opposition to score. It’s a game style that’s causing many fans to drop off the radar like flies, making this year’s playoffs a flop. Why? Because if you ask any true blooded hockey fan, they will tell you that the most beautiful game is a complete one, one which involves stellar play in all three zones, which is commanding on both the offensive side and defensive side. Scoring by default is not a key part of that beautiful game.
New York, New Jersey, LA and Phoenix may be good for ratings and it may be boosting the profile of the game in the US. But for fans outside of these markets, with no particular affiliation with the remaining teams, there’s no pulse to these Cup Finals. The Stanley Cup is the holy grail of hockey, it is the single most difficult to win trophy in sports and embodies the spirit and conviction it takes to get through four punishing rounds to win it.
New York is making it to the Cup Final through everyone else’s mistakes. New Jersey was the better team and deserved to win, but it was the same story for Ottawa and Washington in the two previous rounds. If New Jersey is eliminated, it will be through sheer exhaustion. On the flip side, the LA Kings appear to be advancing to the Cup Final through sheer will and determination. If and when the default team and the will team meet in a Final, it’s hoped that the deserving team will finally come out on top. Otherwise, we will have wasted most of our spring.
About the Author
Written by Mika Oehling
Office worker and sports nerd. Cannot play a professional sport to save my life, but love to write. Prone to rants, raves, snarky humour and caustic commentary. My team's the Ottawa Senators. Author of Armchair Hockey, a work of humourous fiction released this year and available for sale online at Chapters and Amazon.