Strong team play willed the Rangers to a series victory over the Penguins

5/14/14 in NHL   |   patrickhoffman3530   |   122 respect

May 13, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; The New York Rangers celebrate after defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in game seven of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Rangers won the game 2-1 and took the series 4 games to 3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY SportsThe Pittsburgh Penguins may have been the better team on paper, may have had the firepower, and may have had the look of a Stanley Cup contender, but in the end, it was not enough to beat the New York Rangers.

After being down three games to one going into Game 5, the Blueshirts went on to win three straight games to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second time in the last three seasons. The Rangers won their second Game 7 of the playoffs with a 2-1 nail-biter over the Penguins tonight. 

The main reason why the Rangers won this series is because of their play as a team. Yes, the club had certain individuals step up in a big way to lead their team to a victory, but in the end, it was a total team effort.

One good example of this was the play of the team's fourth line of Brian Boyle-Dominic Moore-Derek Dorsett. These guys may not produce a lot and may not get the fanfare that some of their other teammates do but nevertheless, they came up big for their team when they needed it the most.

In fact, it was this line that got the Rangers on the board in the first period. It started when Boyle blocked a shot in his own zone and helped get the puck up the ice into the Penguins' zone, when Dominic Moore got the puck and then made a great pass to Boyle on a 2-on-1 down in the slot to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.

Secondly, the Rangers got great play from their veterans. This was especially the case for Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis, two guys that have a lot of experience when it comes to Game 7s.

In the second period with the team on the power play, Martin St. Louis made a great backhand pass from near the crease to Brad Richards in the slot, who found a way to beat Penguins' netminder Marc-Andre Fleury. For Richards, it was his fourth goal and ninth point of the playoffs while for St. Louis, it was his fifth assist and eighth point of the postseason.

Once again, the team got clutch goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist. With the team down 3-1 heading into Game 5 in Pittsburgh last Friday night, Lundqvist put the team on his back and played a major role in leading his club to three straight victories.

In tonight's due or die Game 7, Lundqvist made 35 saves and was the game's number one star. In all, Lundqvist stopped 102 of 105 shots in his team's three straight victories to win this series.

Lastly, the Blueshirts also managed to play well defensively after Game 4. In the team's last three games of this series, they allowed just three goals against a team that has the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Jussi Jokinen, Kris Letang, Paul Martin, and others.

The Rangers were especially masterful in their shutdown of Crosby. Crosby, easily the league's best player, was a non-factor in this series because the Rangers put tons of pressure and bodies on him all series long.

In all, the Rangers used every part of their machine to win this series. It may not have always been pretty, but in the end, it took a team effort to advance to the next round and that is exactly what the Rangers got in their three straight victories to keep their Cup dreams alive.
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