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Welcome back to AV’s good books, Ryan McDonagh

May 20, 2014, 11:13 AM EDT

New York Rangers v Montreal Canadiens - Game One Getty Images

In the first round of the playoffs, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said that Ryan McDonagh needed to find “another level.”

In the second round, Vigneault was even more blunt, saying of his top defenseman: “Obviously, he hasn’t played very well.”

But last night? Last night was different. McDonagh had just registered another two points, making it six in the first two games of the Eastern Conference Final against Montreal.

What did his coach have to say about that?

“When Ryan’s gap is good — and obviously he’s got tough match-ups because he’s always playing against the other team’s best line — when his gap is good and he’s battling hard in his one-on-ones, usually the offensive part of his game is there, and it’s been very good the last two games.”

That’s what.

McDonagh, meanwhile, owed his improved play to simplifying his game.

“If I have a second or two to make a direct pass, make it,” he said, per TSN. “But I was just looking for stick blades too much at times and it’s tight checking in the playoffs so you want to make sure that you’re not giving forwards an opportunity to grind you in your own zone. So the simple plays will work a lot in the playoffs and I’ve been able to make good reads and that’s helped me.”

It’s a good sign for the Rangers that McDonagh is playing like an elite defenseman again. Most Stanley Cup champions have a dominant blue-liner, and with two more wins over the Canadiens, the 24-year-old will be vying for a title against either Duncan Keith‘s Blackhawks or Drew Doughty‘s Kings.


  1. tommydugan39 - May 20, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    Rangers are playing very well. The team is now a team although we try to make a dumb pass here and there we are in a zone. Our goaltender is now showing why he is the best in the game and is having fun. Very proud of you guys even though I have been cursing you guys out at home I just know what we have here and want this before I die. Very sorry price got injured but that is the game, he too was playing well. Let’s go boys get the puck deep and work……

  2. marcg1957 - May 20, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    To all Rangers Fans – What would you say if it was Lundqvist that got injured by a Montreal player instead of Price would you singing the same tune or would you be whining that your goalie got taken out of the series by Montreal? With a healthy Price and no Lundqvist Montreal would be leading 2-0 in this series. You can’t say that the Rangers are better than the Habs without Price. Rangers are lucky that Price is out & Lundqvist is in.

    • pjblake2redwings - May 20, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      If Lundqvist was to get hurt as well then Rangers fans wouldnt have to worry because Cam Talbot would come in and still beat your little Habs

      • billiam55 - May 20, 2014 at 4:31 PM


    • doknyc - May 20, 2014 at 12:24 PM

      luck has nothing to do with it, the rangers are outworking your team… a 10 minute spurt at the beginning of the game, while we sustained it for the other 50 minutes…

      look in your mirror marcg… the small print says, “the offseason may be closer than it actually appears”…

      lats go rangers (clap clap clapclapclap)!!

    • bakedbees - May 20, 2014 at 12:27 PM

      Price got injured on a reckless play by a MONTREAL player, go back to your alternate reality universe…

    • nebbah306 - May 20, 2014 at 1:05 PM

      In two games against the Canadiens this year, NYR backup goalie Cam Talbot allowed 1 goal, stopping 48 of 49 shots. Now, he’s no Lundqvist, but Cam proved he has the mettle to be a NHL goaltender. Also, please re-watch the replay of Kreider crashing the net, he was whacked at on each leg by two defensemen, blame them, not Kreider. Michele Terrien on Saturday, “it was accidental, honestly”, Terrien on Monday, “it was a reckless play,” nothing but gamesmenship there.

      Also, do you think the Habs would have swept the Lightning with Bishop in net? I dont think so…Injuries happen, and its a shame one happened to Price, but suck it up and stop using excuses.

    • 7mantel - May 20, 2014 at 1:26 PM

      Hope that 1957 is a number you pick out of your hat and not the year you were born because your logic is that of a 15 yr old!

    • bmy0913 - May 20, 2014 at 1:37 PM

      So what’s your excuse for the 4 goals price let in before he got pulled? Are you mental?

    • cofran2004 - May 20, 2014 at 2:26 PM

      if you honestly believe that, you’re dumb. first off, if you recall properly, the rangers still scored 4 goals on price. so… yeah, your habs only scored 2 in game one. sorry, but you would have at least lost game one. and unless price was going to single-handedly stop all the shots AND score three goals last night, the habs weren’t winning yesterday either. you’re a tool. get over it, your team is getting out-classed in almost all aspects of the game, and unless they change something, they’re in real trouble.

    • barkar942 - May 20, 2014 at 3:16 PM

      marcg1957- I am a Ranger fan. If one of your players had blown by our defense and that defenseman did this to your player- and your player ended up injuring Lundqvist, I would look at it the same way all of the Canadiens fans should be looking at it- our goalie is hurt because our defense got beat and they took him down at full speed heading right at our goalie.
      Personally, I am sorry to see that Price is hurt, for I feel it would have made the series much more entertaining. (Plus- if Hank were hurt, there is a kid named Talbot sitting on the bench that has been really good this year for the Rangers.)

    • avscup - May 20, 2014 at 4:28 PM

      Price wasn’t injured by a NYR. He was injured by his own defense causing Krieder to crash into him after getting torched! It would suck though for any team at this point to lose the starting goalie. Teams rarely make it this far without stellar goalie play! It’s even more rare for them to get to the SCF!

  3. blueshirtsfaithful - May 20, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    Idk but I’m pretty sure in game 1 the score was already 4-1 rangers when Price left!!! And also Cam shut out the Hab-nots. And I saw Price walking in and he didn’t even limp, he was actually laughing.

  4. bdkite - May 20, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    Funny, not that long ago “know it all” Hab fans wanted no part of Carey Price, now they can’t lice without him…

  5. marcg1957 - May 20, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    I hâve to admit that Price played bad games during the Boston series but overall he outplayed the Bruins. What’s to say he couldn’t have done that against the Rangers. Sure he played bad the 1st game but could have done the same he did against the Bruins … against the Rangers… You never know & we’ll never find out.

    • cofran2004 - May 20, 2014 at 2:27 PM

      cry more… injuries happen. you need to deal with them, or you end up losing. no excuses… they habs got outplayed twice.

  6. dschrode2013 - May 20, 2014 at 2:25 PM

  7. marcg1957 - May 20, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    Hey cofran2004,

    You wouldn’t be saying the same thing if your ace goalie had been injured by Habs player slidding into him. I guess I’m the only Habs fan on this site. Enjoy the 3rd game!! Cheers!!

    • arrow43050 - May 20, 2014 at 3:15 PM

      Err, we’ve lost our top line center and we’ve dealt with it. Also, the Canadiens didn’t score a goal in regulation on Cam Talbot, our backup. So perhaps depth has something to do with hockey. Maybe. Just a thought. Although what could I possibly know about hockey–I’m just a dumb American.

  8. danglesnipcelly - May 20, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    Let’s be real, the Montreal fans will always complain about how this isn’t a fair series. It’s life and sports and they will never accept it. I do agree the series would be entirely different if price was in but that doesn’t take away the fact the Canadiens have only scored 3 goals in 2 games. They also had 40 shots last night proving that lundqvist played a huge part in the wins. But overall the rangers are dominating montreal. Except for about 10 minutes last night and maybe 2-3 minutes in game 1 Montreal hasn’t had a shot to score more on lundqvist than the rangers do score on montreal’s goalie. Unfortunately injurys happen and there’s little to be done about them. Kreiders play was innocent so putting blame on that the whole series won’t help you at all. The matchup is just to similar between the 2 teams. They’re exactly the same teams with the exception our #1 just decided to turn it on in game 1 and our d are a little more defensive. Overall being a rangers fan I can say I am happy how the series is going so far and feel that lundqvist will be the best goalie between the two teams no matter who Montreal puts in.

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