The New York Rangers entered the Eastern Conference Finals thinking that goals would be hard to come by against the Montreal Canadiens. The Rangers have only scored two goals combined in their last six meetings with Montreal, but that all changed as the Rangers erupted for seven goals in their 7-2 Game 1 victory.
With 11 Rangers recording points, it’s tough to choose one player that made the biggest difference, but Dominic Moore definitely stepped up and played an outstanding all-around game. Henrik Lundqvist is always the Rangers’ best player, but besides him, Moore made the biggest difference.
Moore had two assists on New York’s first two goals before the game was blown wide open in the beginning of the third period. The Rangers scored five goals in a 5:37 span between the end of the second and the beginning of the third period. Moore wasn’t on the score sheet for any of those, but he played an important role throughout the game.
Moore’s role increased after the Rangers lost Derick Brassard on his second shift of the game. The loss of Brassard could be gigantic for the Rangers depending on how serious it is, but Moore picked up the slack and basically moved onto the third line with Mats Zuccarello and Benoit Pouliot.
The Rangers are lucky enough to have two center ice players on their fourth line with Moore and Brian Boyle, so Moore was able to jump up a line without much of a hiccup.
Because of Brassard’s injury, Moore ended up logging more minutes than he usually does, and he made the most of it. Moore came into this series averaging 11:37 of ice time per game, but played 15:49 in Game 1. He was valuable in many ways for the Rangers. He led all forwards in penalty kill time and helped the Rangers blank Montreal during their three power plays.
If Brassard does not return for Game 2 on Monday, expect Moore to play a similar part in the lineup. New York can start Moore on the third line while having Boyle play center on the fourth line.
The blowout victory should not overshadow how well Moore played. The game was very close at 2-1 late in the second period, and Moore played great defensively at key times. His two assists are more of a bonus considering the big picture, and New York is getting just as much scoring from their role players as their star ones.
Overall, Moore had a great effort in Game 1 and will continue to be important for the Rangers as they make their push for the cup.