Last night, the New York Rangers took on the Montreal Canadiens in Montreal for what would be the Rangers’ final regular season game of the year. Usually an important game for the Rangers, when looking at years past, this season, not so much. In this year’s final regular season game, the Rangers actually had the luxury of resting some of their players, due to clinching 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division before last night’s game was even played. Two of these players getting the game off were the Rangers’ top two defensemen, Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi.
While McDonagh is still recovering from an upper body injury he suffered on Apr. 1, Girardi, on the other hand, was just getting a well-deserved day off. With both McDonagh and Girardi out of the Rangers’ starting lineup, one would figure the Rangers would be susceptible to giving up a good amount of scoring chances and goals, especially in a game where the Canadiens needed to win because they are still trying to clinch home ice advantage in Round 1 of the playoffs.
To my surprise, and I’m sure to other fans as well, the Rangers’ defense held up great, and even outplayed the Canadiens for the majority of the game. Now, the Canadiens would end up winning the game 1-0 on a penalty shot in overtime from Canadiens captain Brian Gionta, but regardless of the loss, I must say, I was impressed overall with the Rangers’ defense in that game.
I mean, to be without your top two defensemen in McDonagh and Girardi, not to mention no Martin St. Louis and Henrik Lundqvist because of rest as well, and to go to overtime in a game the Canadiens desperately needed to win while the Rangers’ top priority was to just make sure no one else gets injured, is very impressive, to say the least. This is something the Rangers hope, and need, to carry over into the playoffs, which starts next week, while scoring some more goals to help make life easier. However, as Rangers fans, we know nothing is ever easy, unfortunately.
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