The New York Rangers have eliminated the Ottawa Senators, and they will move on to the next round of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs. In a hard-fought effort, the Rangers defeated the Senators, 2-1, in Game 7 on Thursday. It was a fast-paced game with tons of action, and Henrik Lundqvist was clutch.
Lundqvist survived numerous onslaughts throughout the game and stood on his head by making so many clutch saves. He was a huge difference maker and arguably makes the Rangers the team to beat moving forward.
Chris Kreider is another player who was on fire Thursday night. He didn't register a point, but he was chasing down loose pucks, working the puck around the boards, shooting, passing and creating all types of offense for the Rangers. Going forward, as he grows more comfortable and more familiar with his linemates, he has the potential to be a game-changer.
Kreider registered 17:08 of ice time and had four shots on goal. His defensive play in the neutral zone enabled Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan to set up Marc Staal's goal in the second period. The Rangers have really benefited from Kreider's increase presence since he filled in during Carl Hagelin's suspension.
The Senators' stars did not produce in Game 7. Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, Erik Karlsson and a few others were nullified by the Rangers' defense and goaltending throughout the night, and that played a significant role in Game 7's outcome.
The Rangers will square off with the Washington Capitals in the next round of the playoffs, so the next few days should be full of rest, practice and preparation for everything ahead. The playoffs have been very exciting up to this point, so the fans can't wait for the next round to get underway.