Rangers: Five takeaways from Game 1

1. The NHL still doesn’t understand what goaltender interference is. They didn’t understand the rule when Henrik Lundqvist was getting barraged with bodies during the 2014 Cup Finals, and they still don’t. Brian Dumoulin pushed Kaapo Kakko into the crease while making a distinct move to avoid the goalie and crease altogether. On top of that, the majority of the contact that knocked DeSmith out of his crease was from his teammate.

2. Ryan Lindgren being hurt was a considerable loss, and the longer the game drudged on, the more noticeable his absence was. He was able to tough it out for most of the contest, but the Rangers certainly missed his presence when he was back in the locker room. It’s unclear what was wrong with Lindgren, but if he misses any extended time, the Rangers should slide Zac Jones next to Jacob Trouba and move K’Andre Miller to the top pair alongside Adam Fox. A lineup featuring both Braun and Nemeth is exponentially slower.

3. The kids are more than alright. A huge question mark heading into the playoffs was whether or not “The Kids” line of Lafreniere, Chytil, and Kakko would suffice. The experiment didn’t work under David Quinn last season, and Gerard Gallant waited until the season’s final week to put the talented trio together this year. When the lines came out before game one, everyone wondered how they would all play together in their first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff contest. They were part of the barrage that dominated the first period and almost ended the game in regulation. If they could provide a solid 3rd line with scoring prowess, the lineup just got exponentially deeper.

4. Penalties are up all over the league during the first few days of the playoffs. Thirty-seven penalties were called during the first four games Monday night. That’s about 9 per game, which is up from the league average of 6 infractions called per game during the regular season. It was nice to see the referees put the whistles in their pockets for overtime, but some of these penalties were just hard playoff hockey hits (looking at you Lindgren and Trouba). While many will look to blame the referees and linesman for some terrible calls last night, the Rangers lost this game. They had a two-goal lead at home and were playing a backup goalie. Those are games that they have to win. Hopefully, they can recover quickly and play a complete game Thursday night.

5. Sidney Crosby is still the straw that stirs the drink for the Pittsburgh Penguins. After missing the first few weeks of the season, Crosby had another phenomenal year, and he began the 2022 playoffs with another excellent performance. Both of his primary assists to set up Jake Guentzel were beautiful. The Rangers have to limit their time and space if they want to get back into this series.

Game two is Thursday night at the Garden. All eyes will be on the Blueshirts to see how they bounce back from a disappointing game one loss.

Luca Perito

Born and raised in New York. I've lived in Arizona, Maryland, Delaware, and California. Love all sports. Twitter @elbigcalzonelp -- Instagram @thebigcalzone

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