Grading Each New York Rangers Line in Round 2 of 2013 NHL Playoffs

Jeremy Fuchs@@jaf78Correspondent IIIMay 27, 2013

Grading Each New York Rangers Line in Round 2 of 2013 NHL Playoffs

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    Now that the New York Rangers are out of the 2013 NHL playoffs, it's time to grade each line in Round 2.

    While the lines did shuffle a bit, particularly after Game 3, they stayed together long enough to be properly evaluated.

    Which lines played the best? Which lines had the most pressure and were sound in their own zone? Which lines played the worst? Which lines couldn't get shots off and gave up way too many goals?

    Read on to find out. 

First Line

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    For all but a few periods of the series, this line featured Carl Hagelin, Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan.

    In parts of Games 4 and 5, Stepan switched places with Derick Brassard.

    However, most of the time, Stepan was in the middle. The line combined for seven points. That's not good enough.

    While it did sustain good pressure and had a number of glorious scoring chances, it simply did not score enough. That can be said for the entire Rangers roster.

    But a first line should set the tone. It should be generating the most goals and the most chances. This line was simply not getting it done.

    It is true that this line was better in the first round. But that's not an excuse. Like so many of its teammates, the first line just did not score enough. This line earned a grade of C-.

    And that's a huge reason the Rangers are out of the playoffs. 

Second Line

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    For the first three games, this line consisted of Rick Nash, Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello.

    By the end, the line consisted of Nash, Brassard and Chris Kreider. In Game 4, Derek Stepan and Derick Brassard switched. In fact, that's when this line had the most success.

    Zuccarello is a creative, intriguing player but he was a bit overwhelmed on the second line and played better when he was moved to the third line. 

    After nine points in the first round, Brassard only had three points in the second round. While he was probably the Rangers' most consistent player, he also didn't produce a lot in this round. 

    Rick Nash, of course, scored just one goal. His failure to score throughout the entire playoffs is a big reason the Rangers struggled so much to generate offense.

    The line saw a boost when Chris Kreider joined, and he proved that he can still be an offensive threat. However, by the time he was moved to the line in Game 4, it was too late.

    The line did see a lot of Zdeno Chara, which did not help. But Nash was never able to get any real quality scoring chances. That hurt the team a lot.

    The team would have benefited by switching to a line of Nash, Stepan and Kreider earlier than the third period of Game 4. Nash and Stepan are a perfect fit, and it's likely that this will be a line starting next season.

    But it should've happened earlier and the failure to make that change really hurt the team.

    While it scored a game-winning, overtime goal, this line only deserves a D+.

Third Line

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    This line started out as a trio of Derek Dorsett, Brian Boyle and Taylor Pyatt. After Game 3, Dorsett was replaced by Mats Zuccarello.

    The physicality of Dorsett, Boyle and Pyatt did not go unnoticed. They are all big, tough guys and they do great work in the corners. They lost a bit of that when Zuccarello came in.

    However, the addition of Zuccarello did provide more offense. Still, it was not enough.

    Boyle does bring a terrific defensive game and he did win 49.5 percent of his faceoffs.

    Pyatt scored a goal, and Dorsett, when he was on this line, hit everything that moved. It's a big line and it should get consideration as a permanent trio next season. 

    While the tough play was terrific, the third line did not generate enough offense. Boston's fourth line was better than this third line. Essentially, Boston was a line better. If this third line was able to score more, or at least create a lot more chances, like Boston's fourth line, then this could be a different series.

    But it did not, and because of that, it earned a C grade. 

Fourth Line

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    This line started the series as a trio of Arron Asham, Brad Richards and Chris Kreider.

    It didn't work out too well. Only Asham is suited to play a fourth-line role, and even he wasn't seeing much ice time.

    John Tortorella responded by benching Asham and Richards for Games 4 and 5. A new, re-tooled fourth line featured Michael Haley, Kris Newbury and Derek Dorsett.

    This line was much more effective, although it was on the ice for the game-winning goal in Game 5. However, it provided much more energy and a consistent forecheck. It was hitting everything that moved and was able to get a few chances.

    Defensively, it struggled, and that's to be expected, given that Newbury and Haley hadn't played much before Game 4. That said, it gave the Rangers a boost. 

    This is what the Rangers' fourth line should have been like all year. Richards is not a fourth-line player, and that's why he was benched. Kreider is much better in the top six, and he responded as such.

    The fourth line of Boston should serve as an example. It was a dominant force all series long. It scored goals, forechecked, hit and created tons of pressure.

    The newly constituted fourth line showed flashes of that. There's no reason that it couldn't provide that next season. 

    Still, the fourth line was largely a disappointment. It was no match for Boston's fourth line, and its inability to do so was a big reason the Rangers lost. Because of that, the fourth line gets a grade of D-.