Rangers live to play another day


Here’s my column on Game 4, from The Journal News and Lohud.com:

By Rick Carpiniello

NEW YORK – The Rangers are going back to Cali.

They have life. Their brink of elimination is no further away than it was before Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, their margin for error no smaller.

But they get one more flight, one more game, at minimum, and a chance … just a chance … to maybe make the Final a series after all. A chance to play Game 5, with a chance … just a chance … to maybe get it back to the Garden for Game 6.

Which is all they could have wanted Wednesday night when they took on the Los Angeles Kings, a team with its champagne in the building, which also had somewhere Lord Stanley’s Cup and its blue box and keepers with white gloves.

The Rangers beat the Kings 2-1, finally got a game in the team’s first Final in 20 years. That’s all they could get in one night, so that’s all that they wanted.

They won a game they needed to win, as they have so many times these last three springtimes, in which they are 11-2 in elimination games, in which their goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has been stellar.

Lundqvist, who spoke a lot about the deflections and puck-luck that had gone against his team in the first three games — and it’s legit to a large degree — got two breaks in this one, and one bad break, when Dan Girardi’s stick broke and Dustin Brown scored on a second-period breakaway to make it 2-1 and force the Rangers to hang on.

But he got two pucks that got through him and stopped on the goal line, one that Anton Stralman swept off the line and away from Jeff Carter; one, with a little over a minute left, when another got through and stopped in the snow on the line. Derek Stepan pushed it with his glove under Lundqvist’s pad.

“You just have to rely on your teammates and luck,” he said. “I thought I had it because I felt the puck, felt like I got a good piece of it on that deflection. I was yelling at the ref to blow the whistle. Then I realized it was behind me for a couple seconds.”

Lundqvist smiled.

“I actually apologized,” he said. ” But he was cool about it.”

Now can the Rangers do it again? And then again? And then again?

The place was loud, and something kind of cool happened in the first period — in addition to the Rangers holding a 1-0 lead they might have stolen on many levels.

The jumbo screen above the ice showed Mark Messier in attendance. The Captain waved as the arena roared, then he waved four fingers at the camera … as in four more wins. And it caught on. Michael J. Fox was shown. He waved four. John McEnroe — who occasionally waved one in his playing days — waved four.

The Garden, which has certainly been quiet at times, was not on this night. It was raucous, trying to make a difference, trying to make the exorbitant prices worthwhile, trying to help the season and this long run (one game longer than the ’94 Cup run) go on for a little while longer.

The Rangers responded, with a lineup that didn’t include changes, but did feature some shuffling. Alain Vigneault bumped Brad Richards down to the fourth line, on left wing with Brian Boyle sliding to center. Carl Hagelin replaced Chris Kreider on the Derek Stepan-Rick Nash line. Kreider moved to the left of Dominic Moore and Martin St. Louis,

But it was the one line that didn’t change that got the Rangers the lead, just two seconds after a power play ended. The best line all season, and the best power-play unit, scored when Benoit Pouliot expertly deflected John Moore’s chest-high shot past Jonathan Quick.

Then in the second, Stepan made a pass that deflected off Kreider in front and St. Louis buried it for the 2-0 lead … that dreaded 2-0 lead … which the Rangers held and lost in Games 1 and 2 … which is why they were in this hole in the first place.

And while they were leading, they were being outplayed at least a bit, at times by a lot, until Los Angeles broke through. Girardi, having a night-sweats series, whiffed on a keep-in attempt when his stick broke, allowing Brown to break away to make it 2-1.

“Yeah, I’m not going to lie,” Lundqvist said. “The first thought was, ‘Here we go again.’

“But it’s always mentally challenging when things happen, especially with things like that. You feel like you have a lot of it under control and you get a bad break You just have to respond the right way and stay positive.”

So the Rangers weren’t going to coast home, they weren’t going to do it easily. They never do. They just never do.

They didn’t. But they lived to play another day.

All that matters.

Twitter: @RangersReport

About Author


  1. good column

    didn’t know this until seeing the replays late last night but the Garden ice/snow deserves a lot of credit for the score remaining 2-1.

  2. Manny relieved that Quick not yet carrying the Cup into the Playwright, his old law school watering hole on Whitney Ave. :)

  3. Energy in building was great. Hope to be back at flying puck Monday.

    Dorsett brother was a messs lol

  4. Eric and Dors’s brother never saw the game. Staggered down to the Village looking for whatever people go down there looking for. :)

  5. I was glad to see Vigneault dropped Richards down but it did zero to light a fire under him. He looks so completely inept that I’d actually scratch him for Carcillo at this point. Boyle and Moore can both center lines and Richards is giving you absolutely nothing in any facet of the game.

  6. I have greater faith in Dan Carcillo being able to contribute offensively than Brad Richards. Think about that statment for a minute.

  7. Carp, if you had anything to do with that patch of snow that stopped the puck late in the 3rd, good job on that, too.

  8. Rob in Beantown on

    Putting Richards on the 4th line nerfs arguably your most effective line. I’d sooner keep him where he is than mess with what’s worked.

  9. Mess: “Not only would be be in the finals if I were coach, we’d be up 3-1.” No, I made that up.

  10. Good afternoon all!

    Maybe I shouldn’t comment on the crowd by watching on TV anymore. I thought there were plenty of times when it sounded like the game was being played in October.

    On to Friday!!!!!!! Keep the faith!!!!

    If we pull this off and come home, can’t wait to see what happens to the “bargain” tickets of $500.

  11. I was there and there were moments (like after the Brown goal) that you could have heard a pin drop in MSG

  12. I agree with Rob about putting Richards on the 4th-line. The line was absolutely made worse by his presence. You put him there in the hope that he has something left and wakes up. But he has nothing left and the next spot he should get is in the press box.

  13. I think it was an attempt to limit his playing time while keeping him on PP rather than trying to light fire under Richards. He’s been skating in sand by the beginning of 3rd period last 3 games

  14. I think you’re right ilb, but it neutered the fourth line and they really couldn’t generate any of those grinding shifts 200 feet from our net.

  15. Not to defend Richards (I don’t hate him as much as most of you do)…we might not even be here if it wasn’t for Richards’ good start to the season… he, if my memory serves me right, had some pretty important goals this postseason as well…

  16. I was comfortable down 3-0, and every game they win will make me more uncomfortable.

  17. I actually thought he played marginally better last night- but desire can not undo age- I’m all for a fresh pair of legs. Not going to happen with AV at the helm.

  18. How much do i love Darryl Sutter?:

    Q. Drew said last night he wasn’t concerned about the Rangers
    getting anything out of that game, momentum, new life. Do you concur with
    COACH SUTTER: I think the question was asked several times. Asked
    again last night about momentum. I know it’s usually media-created.
    There’s momentum during games and momentum with penalties, momentum
    with scoring chances, things like that. But if it was always about
    momentum from game to game, then most series would be over in four and it
    wouldn’t be called four-out-of-seven, it would be the team that won the
    first game must have the momentum, and the team that won the last game must
    have all the momentum.
    I don’t think you get to that point ever, quite honestly. I’ve never
    been a believer in that because it bears itself out.

  19. Can’t argue that, 3CP. I thought he was really good in the comeback against the pens. I think he’s gassed. 106 games will do that. I’d leave him with hags and MSL and double up D Moore and Boyle every few shifts.

  20. It can both be true that Richards was an important part of getting here and also being a liability here.

  21. Your memory serves you right, CCCP. He also had many important moments during his previous years in NY. He delivered most of what he’s been asked for when he was signed here. Time to use the amnesty buyout option nonetheless.

  22. I think Dany G has been much bigger liability than Richards this round… just my two rubles.

  23. My assen is laughed off. Brilliant ESPN:

    @johnreporters: Why did Rangers salute MSG after win as if that was the last time they’d see their fans this year. No game 6?

  24. Lol, Mama. Can’t expect too much from them, Melrose is still their go to guru.

  25. Rob in Beantown on

    As an aside, I love that the Rangers stick salute after a win. But why not after a loss? Is the crowd less deserving of a salute when the team loses?

  26. He did delete it…and he did get ripped. Fool!!!! I was gonna tweet something but decided not to…not my vibin style….

  27. I don’t know for sure, but my guess is, it has to do with we shouldn’t be asking for your applause and to celebrate after we lost, or something to that effect. Carp?

    and you know I love the salute!!!!

  28. Seee, that is strictly a bonehead deal, thanks to the beloved Sally. The reporter, however, is strictly a bonehead…in the not good sense.

  29. _Richards was supposed to be the first line center for Gaborik. LOL._

    and Gomez for Jagr…what’s your point?

  30. ooops. a wicky (of course)….maybe I’m late, maybe this isn’t news….but a big bonehead mazel tov to C3 who recently got married!!!!!!!!

  31. The Big Line: Gaborik-Richards-Nash. Um.

    Then even funnier, before Nash, ooh, ooh, who’s going to play the left with Richards and Gaborik? Almost everybody, including those on the beat: Wojtek Wolski.

  32. Hartnell! Good thing wicky isn’t here since I’m wicky’ing my assen off…..

  33. Mama

    Gorjko is an old Russian tradition: a shout by wedding guests urging the newlyweds to kiss, thus removing the “bitterness” (is what ‘gorjko’ means)

  34. If Richards is gassed….then he needs to sit. AV said that at this point it’s all about team…need all giving maximum effort if you truly want to keep having a chance to play one more game. If Carcillo gives you a better chance to win then make the change.

  35. I think it should be Miller. Adds more speed, improves the forecheck, has some offensive ability and can thump the Kings D-men.
    But AV doesn’t trust him.

  36. You can’t change it up after a win.

    Dropping Richards down, probably saved his legs for the Power Play. It’s not like AV benched him like Torts did last year.

    It’s just a gamble to play him if he gets hurt. But give him credit he was in the top 3 in scoring all year long.

    Sad to see Richards – 11pts, Nash 10pts. In 24 games. MSL has 15, one point behind McDonagh. Who thought a Dman would lead us in scoring for the playoffs?


  37. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    I almost wish Richards would tweak a knee in warm ups. His empty tank needs to sit. It’s not right that he plays….

    However, if he does play (as he likely will) I hope he scores five goals.

  38. I don’t trust Miller.

    Richards is the best we have, what ever is left in the tank, we need it. He does have an accurate shot, it’s the legs that are the problem.

  39. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Sioux – Richards is more of a help to the kings on the PP than the rangers

  40. I still think you have to worry about a Richard’s injury. Buyout is too important.

  41. Lack of trust in Miller is for his defensive play and being over aggressive offensively and taking penalties. I’ll argue that Richard’s defense is non existent, he’s definitely slower and scares nobody with his physical play. I don’t know the stats on faceoffs for the two, but I know Richards doesn’t win many.

  42. Nash, Richards, MSL would make AV’s job a lot easier if they could all lean on one right away. The leaders will have to lead if they expect this to get back to MSG.

    If not Moore, Hags, Kreider, Zucc, Stepan, Brass, Pouliot ….. and the rest of the “secondary” scoring will have to be relied on *again*.

    Just WIN the NEXT one.

  43. bull dog line on

    it would be silly to bench Richards. moving him to 4th line, and using him like they used Christensen is the way to go.

  44. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Bulldog – it messed up the 4th line relative to how the 4th has played. Richards is a disaster waiting to happen every time he’s on the ice. The simplest of plays, just chipping the puck out or in, are difficult for # 19.

  45. E3- I get it, but to pull Richards who had 51 points in the season for a Miller who had 6, isn’t the leadership AV will be looking for in the Finals.

    I would also be shocked.

  46. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    When Boyle looks fast compared to Richards – re: pure skating speed – it’s not good.

  47. I think it’s a lot higher than 50/50 on the buyout, Hedberg, and AV moving him down to the fourth line LW kinda says what his status is … I think the lieutenants will lock Sather in a closet during the buyout period this year.

  48. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    I’m saying Carcillo not miller. The only downside is the refs calling Carcillo 2 minutes for breathing…..

    Those 51 points Richards scored seem like 4 years ago. He looks like a dead man skating.

  49. @reporterchris

    Outside of goalies Henrik Lundqvist and David LeNeveu, the #NYR have all taken different locker stalls in their return to Staples Center.

  50. They are already on the ice.

    Hopefully they are practicing the “lethal” power play!

  51. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Rangers haven’t trailed for 1 second at Staples Center. Let’s hope it continues and we stay far away from OT.

    Craig Button is a tool btw.

  52. Time to check out of the oil patch, and find a pub and sangwich :)

    See you all on the other side.

  53. Said in December / January, and I’ll say again in June, dollar for dollar, Strallman is perhaps the most Valuable Ranger.

  54. AV will play Secretariat because, though he plays NO defense, his other choices will TRY to play defense, and might cause aggressive d-zone penalties. With Richie, he has no worries there.

  55. Nice props to Strallman in your game review Carp.

    hope they sign him but fear they won’t.

  56. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    I wasn’t nervous for game 4. Hoped for the best, expected the worst. However, I’m feeling real jittery right now and it’s just a result of the ounce of crystal meth I just snorted either (s)

  57. Topo and Mac are a joy to watch. Topo perhaps even moreso, in that this much wasn’t expected of him, and because, in self defense, he’ll hew down a 6’6 bully like a cherry tree and they all know it.

  58. @KatieStrangESPN

    Vigneault on dropping Richards to 4th line: ” I felt certain guys were playing a little bit better than Brad and that’s the way it is”

  59. @AGrossRecord

    AV says of Game 5 “I’m feeling good about our chances tomorrow” based on Games 1 and 2 in LA.

  60. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Brassard – “I’m scoring the GWG. And right after, I’m pointing to the TV camera and saying yo E3, that’s for you my brutha”

  61. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Henrik will steal game 5. He’s too good and some of that puck luck is still owed him. Besides, the fuggen kings haven’t had a bad game in awhile and their due for a stinker.

  62. Torts: “Man, I was so close to that guy. I reached out, but he didn’t reach back.”

  63. Comedy Central on Rangers Report, as always. Game 5 of a Stanley Cup final series that nobody but nobody here saw coming, and it’s still somehow a referendum on #19, who’s played every game and been a key leader. So, yeah, bench the guy, that would make a lot of sense. You’d think it was still August and that AV thought it was his job to placate a bunch of Ledge-oriented fans on a blog, rather than to coach a team that has hung together and made it farther than anyone thought possible.

  64. “game 5 that nobody saw coming?” uh…L’etat c’est Moi comment all over again. I saw it coming, and I can see a game 6 coming, too.

  65. Re: all the theatrical backflips from high sticks. If you see a stick coming, you might backflip. After you’ve been slapped with one, you buckle over, which is what should happen 90% of the time. Most of that kind of back-diving comes from blatant, after the fact, diving.

  66. And Richie is a detriment to our tony 4th line. He’s on the ice in the hope that he will find a net somewhere, before his deathbed.

  67. I’ll clarify, coos, as though I thought you didn’t know what I meant: a game 5 of a SC final nobody saw coming at the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, down in Brazil, Fred is giving embellishing lessons to anyone who wants to learn. A fraud ARTIST!

  68. If any of you are looking for refereeing that’s worse than even the NHL, watch a World Cup match.

    Croatia gets screwed on the penalty today.


  69. The whole World Cup leadership is well-known to be fraught with vice and chicanery.

  70. Pimp, you’re right and I thought the goalie interference non call in game three was an awful call. That penalty shot today was as bad as it gets. Croatia was robbed.

  71. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Norm – Richards level of play is Comedy Central, that, or a Greek tragedy.

  72. Hitting the pool soon, but for you, coos: I agree that 19 is just about done, and he may only have a couple of shots left (as in the 1st period last night). Taking him out, leaving Dom on the 2nd line, and plugging in Carcillo on the 4th is something for armchair coaches to consider but leaves out everything we don’t know about the locker room and how the team might react to removing an A sweater in a SC final. That and the guy can still make possession passes and get the puck to the net on the PP. If there were a viable change you could make to the PP this late in the game, that would be one thing, but other than Diaz…?

  73. iManny-O-War on

    *The Playwright* Coos! Nailed it. That’s a great spot.

    I’m actually reading Eugene O’Neill right now too.

  74. Regarding the Richards buyout, the math is pretty simple, if they don’t buyout Richards, they just wave goodbye to Boyle or Stralman, maybe both. Cap casualties. And even buying out Richards, forget about any expensive free agent signings. That money will go to paying our own UFA’s and RFA’s, we’ve got a ton.

    You could look it up.

  75. Think I’m gonna buy me a Ranger Blue #6 Stanley Cup Sweater.

    Gonna, Wear it the -next- first time I go to the Annual Bonehead BBQ / post season get together in ILB’s tony palatial countryside estate.

  76. Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Zowie! O’Neill insisted in his will that the play not be performed for 25 years after his death so as to not embarrass the extended family. His wife disregarded those wishes.

  77. Saying that the demotion to the fourth line should have lit a spark under Richards’ butt is like saying that taunting a paralyzed guy in a wheel chair should spark him to walk.
    The guy isn’t physically capable of shifting into another gear. It’s not that he’s inept the dude is shot. Kind of like a horse with a broken leg.

  78. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Papa – Ilb won’t be at his own BBQ retreat. He’s yachting in the Greek isles but has promised to video conference in to his palatial estate – the Ilb compound.

  79. Subbing CarProblems for Dorsett does absolutely nothing other than to alienate Dorsett.

  80. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Brad Richards is moving like a tremendous -machine- horse with a broken leg.

  81. ilb has a huge, fully-stocked yacht on wheels drawn by 4 Clydesdales to escort visitors from the train to the estate.

  82. D-men are often beaten. You can’t do everything back there. And when you don’t, it appears uber glaring.

  83. I also want to know how Olic, I think it was, fouled Julio Cesar by jumping straight in the air and winning a header leading to what should have been a Croat equalizer (or, really, a go-ahead strike).

  84. “D-men are often beaten. You can’t do everything back there. And when you don’t, it appears uber glaring.”

    Well said, coos.

  85. I chuckle every time youse guys go to the “tremendous machine” line and wipeout the “machine” and add in youse own nown.

    Sowry faw the spelin, i’s a rittle twipsy tanite.

  86. Papa, I’d like to apologize for your suffering through Game 3. If it makes you feel any better, I was suffering in there with you.

  87. Hey Eddie, maybe ILB will present his BBQ guests with an Authentic Ranger 2014 Stanley Cup Final Lionel train set as a party favor.


  88. Sitting poolside in Cally pondering life’s viscistudes, of which here there are currently none. Check that — dang, just knocked my umbrella drink into the hot tub! Waiter!

  89. Sit Richards and who takes the point on the power play? Stralman lets it fly on occasion but now we’re adding minutes to a top 4 defender and we certainly don’t need that. Richards settles it down and that group has familiarity with him. You don’t want to make too many changes at this point and that’s why I don’t like breaking up the lines for one guy. Carcillo versus Richards or Millar versus Richards can’t be an upgrade in the Cup finals. Experience is everything at this point. I think we have to keep the lines together and as someone mentioned earlier double shift Boyle and Moore to limit Richards ice time and try to keep him fresh for the PP and a shift. We’re not in the dressing room but it appears our defacto captain has a lot of respect in the room and what does it say to the rest of room if he’s benched? I think they accept his less ice time because their not blind and realize it gives them all a better chance to win. It is not like last year when Torts benched him, he’s still respected in that room and I think if he’s benched there is more of a mental letdown among the players. they want to win it all but they want Richards contributions however big or small with them.

  90. Nobody’s business, Norm, but from where did your daughter recently graduate? And congrats. When my youngest daughter got her degree, the President handed it to her and said: “Thanks for the $250 thousand.”

  91. ‘Garcon’ would have much better. Blew it. Guess I’ll throw another drink in.

  92. Thanks and indeed her mother and I are beaming. Me less so since I lost those two drinks. Garçon is nowhere to found.

  93. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Norm – my wife went to grad school at Davis. Great little town that loves it’s bike riding. I’ll have to tell you a funny story someday while she was defending during orals…

  94. Girardi isn’t Drew “we’re not worried” Doughty. But he’s been solid for us for a long time and he’s battled in these playoffs.

    The real issue which was stated earlier today is that he isn’t actually a 1-2 guy. He’s a second pair guy.
    It’s ironic too because people keep saying that if Stralman walks as a free agent, the theory by some is “oh just move Klein up” when in reality the proper thing to do would be to move Girardi down and find a top pair guy that compliments McD. but as we said in the regular season, Quality Dmen are at a premium

  95. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    “Garcon, more coffee”

    Waitress Pours coffee – “Garçon means boy”

  96. Reporters tweeting that the Kings looked very tired today. No doubt the Rangers are too. It really is all onions at this point.

    My take: tomorrow will be the hardest game for the Rangers to win, the entire season. Incredibly difficult and will require everyone to execute and skate their absolute best. But out boys are a great road team this year, so there’s that.

    That said, if it goes 6, it will go 7.

  97. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    You give that numb nuts $1500 and I’ll shoot him on general principle

  98. Doubt they’re serving Boerl & Kroff Brut at $2500 a bottle for these jocks to pour over each other. Probably the widely available $2 Bubbly Belch.

  99. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Kooz – that cheap crap is best with OJ. But I’d pour it over myself too if I won a cup.

  100. Boerl & Kroff Brut? I heard that’s what ilb uses in his fire protection system on the estate.

  101. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Brassard – “SNation is correct, we are winning game 5. I’ve put the team on my shoulders and I’m taking us home”

  102. Friend of mine and his wife once brought two bottles of ’85 Dom to a party at my place and some dolt turned them in Mimosas when no one was paying attention.

  103. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Latona – the other night I listed some history books for you :) you may have read them but if not, give them a go.

  104. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Ilb pours $21,000 Bottle of ’28 Krug on the ground just to watch gravity in action.

  105. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Great book – “Archimedes, What he did do besides cry eureka” is a great book but it’s a bit mathematical. Robbie probably devoured it in an hour or so…

  106. ‘Don’t know much about history
    Don’t know much biology
    Don’t know much about a science book
    Don’t know much about the French I took

    Don’t know much about geography
    Don’t know much trigonometry
    Don’t know much about algebra
    Don’t know what a slide rule is for.’

    (how’s that for rhyming algebra with ‘rule is for?’

    Always baffled me. Must be a better rhyme for ‘algebra,’ but I got other things to do.

  107. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    I dig algebra, norm sings fa la la, mama says ta, ha ha ha, ma and pa, poop ka ka, lah di dah


  108. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Bill Thurston, Fields medal winner, improved their Math Dept. Immensely once he joined on….

  109. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Crazy thing about the Professor on Giligan’s Island is that he could make a radio out of a coconut but could build a raft to get off that bot of land…

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