The Runner Sports

Rangers Should Be Thrilled With The Way Game 4 Ended

In the waning minutes of Wednesday’s Game 4, the Ottawa Senators finally lost their composure. After the New York Rangers dominated them for two straight games, they finally had enough. However, what they did next may backfire on them. Ottawa wanted to try to intimidate the Rangers with aggression. It started with Dion Phaneuf engaging Brendan Smith in front of his bench, trying to galvanize his teammates. It turned into a full-blown battle on the ice between the Rangers and Sens in the final minutes. They tried to intimidate the Rangers for Game 5. Instead, they may have cost themselves the series, as for every cheap shot, the Rangers stood up and fought back, unfazed by the chaos.

By the time the final buzzer had sounded, both benches were reduced to just a few players each. The shenanigans, as Pierre McGuire calls them, were numerous and in some cases just irresponsible and silly. There was Bobby Ryan tackling Dan Girardi during a faceoff while Girardi hadn’t even dropped his gloves. There was Alex Burrows slashing J.T. Miller in the back of the leg which led to a scrum.

And then there was Kyle Turris decking Tanner Glass. Looking back, that seemed like a poor decision, as Glass pummeled Turris. Heck, even the head coach Guy Boucher got into a staring contest with the referee. The ref evidently was unhappy with Boucher for not putting an end to the whole thing.

If Ottawa wants to continue that style of play for Game 5, they’re messing with the wrong team. Over Games 3 and 4, the Rangers showed they are more than able to play fast and physical. They also did it against Montreal in the first series with positive results. Ottawa has its best chance to defeat the Rangers when they stay disciplined and clog the neutral zone. It worked extremely well in Game 1. However, the Rangers have demonstrated that they can break through the trap, as evident by the endless amount of odd man rushes they had in Game 4.

The Sens have little chance at winning if they plan on trying to physically impose themselves upon the Rangers. The Rangers will never shy away from a hard check or fight. Their lineup is filled with guys who are able to score goals and deliver a big hit. The two stars of the night were fourth liners Oscar Lindberg and Tanner Glass, who combined for 4 points. Their offensive leader Mats Zuccarello loves to play a dirty game when he can. Captain Ryan McDonagh, Brendan Smith, and Brady Skjei excel when the game gets physical. The Rangers also learned in the first round how to toe the edge, play hard and chippy, but not take stupid penalties.

If Thursday was any indicator, Ottawa is not the most disciplined team when trying to be aggressors. Obviously, to start a home playoff game playing with such untamed aggression is unlikely to occur. But, they have now shown that the Rangers are under their skin. In addition, they are already depleted because of injury and the more hitting the more injuries that will come. Erik Karlsson already missed the third period of Game 4 after colliding with Chris Kreider. He expects to play Game 5, though.

Truth is, as much as everyone hates on Tanner Glass he is most responsible, besides Henrik Lundqvist, for the Rangers’ swift turnaround. From the opening stages of Game 3 until he was escorted to the locker room clapping and rousing the crowd in Game 4, Glass was a force. In addition to his assists, he was a one-man wrecking crew and made Ottawa uncomfortable. Alain Vigneault so much appreciated Glass that he even started him on the Nash and Stepan line, far from his usual fourth line designation. He helped the Rangers return to their gritty ways, and has given the Rangers a key to success against this Ottawa team. In the last series, taking him out of the lineup energized the Rangers, this time reinserting him into the lineup got the Black and Blueshirts back on track.