There are plenty of things you can attribute to the Rangers’ success in these playoffs. Timely goal scoring from guys like Chris Kreider or Marian Gaborik is one. Great goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist is a no-brainer as is their ability to block shots and defend like crazy.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post says the team’s heart is what really drives them, however. Brooks talks about how the Rangers keep finding ways to bounce back time and time again in the playoffs and they do it with aplomb.
You can quantify shots, attempts, blocked shots, turnovers, faceoff results and hits. You can account for possession time and zone time to the second.
But you can’t measure heart. You can’t even really see it. You can only feel it. And for 100 games, everyone has felt the heartbeat of the Rangers, who are down to their moments of truth entering tonight’s Game 5 at the Garden in a Battle of the Hudson that is even only in the scorebooks, even if that’s the only place that really counts.
Heart is admirable but it’s the ability to put teams away that will help get them to the Stanley Cup finals against the Kings. Lundqvist has been his usual stellar self but unless the Rangers find ways to fill the net, their amazing run this season could see them fall short of their ultimate goal. Can heart score goals? New York hopes so.
Former NHL defenseman Mike Commodore may have been coached by Mike Babcock, but that doesn’t mean he’s a fan of Mike Babcock.
Commodore played in just 17 games for the Detroit Red Wings during the 2011-12 season and that was enough for him to muster up some pretty harsh feelings toward his old coach.
As Babcock’s new team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, were being embarrassed in Detroit on Friday, Commodore took to Twitter to show fans just how much he was enjoying his former coach’s struggles.
Things got especially interesting after Red Wings rookie Dylan Larkin scored just 20 seconds into the second period to give Detroit a 3-0 lead.
“3-0 nothin Babs you posing arrogant piece of (bleep),” said Commodore via his Twitter page. “Welcome back to the rink where everyone that met you hates you.”
Commodore wasn’t done there:
And there was much, much more.
To get a look at all of Commodore’s Babcock-bashing tweets, click here.
Late in the third period of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers, things were looking good for Columbus.
Brandon Saad, who the team acquired from Chicago this off-season, scored his first goal of the season to give his team a 2-1 lead with under four minutes remaining in the contest.
Unfortunately for the Jackets, that’s as good as it would get.
The Rangers responded with three unanswered goals from Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello to spoil Columbus’ home opener.
“When something like that happens at the end, I think we’re gonna be a better team because of it,” defenseman Ryan Murray told reporters after the game. “It’s a harsh lesson, but it’s a good one.
Luckily for Columbus, they won’t have to wait very long to try and get their revenge.
The Blue Jackets and Rangers will finish off their home-and-home series at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, which might not be such a bad thing for Columbus.
“It’s good that we get another chance tomorrow,” Saad said after Friday’s game. “We were high on emotions (after the go-ahead goal) and they scored and it took the wind out of our sails, but we have to keep playing. We have to learn to keep doing our thing, regardless of the score.”