One Gritty Ranger Emphatically Enforces Vigneault’s Message
It was the turn of Tanner Glass, by serendipitous coincidence, to read out the starting lineup to his teammates before the Rangers would take the Garden ice for Thursday’s Game 4 of the conference semifinals against the Senators.
“I went ‘At center, Step [Derek Stepan], on left wing, myself’ and the guys all went ‘Ooooh,’” No. 15 said while unable to stifle a laugh after his brainy and brawny two-assist and seven-hit performance helped lead the Blueshirts to a second straight lopsided 4-1 victory that squared the series at 2-2. “It’s like AV was sending a message that he wanted us to be physical.”
Message received loud and clear and delivered resoundingly just 27 seconds into the match when Glass, elevated to the first unit with Stepan and Rick Nash for the opening shift before settling in on the fourth line, rubbed out Jean-Gabriel Pageau in front of the Ottawa bench.
The message from coach Alain Vigneault to his players should not be confused with the incoherent message the Senators attempted to send in the waning minutes of the game with nonsense perpetrated over the final 6:15 by a procession of Senators including Dion Phaneuf, Bobby Ryan, Kyle Turris and Alexandre Burrows.
The foolishness was in direct defiance of an edict against such silliness laid down by the NHL in conference calls chaired by the Sixth Avenue home office on which coaches and general managers participated before the start of each of the first two rounds of the playoffs.
It is doubtful the league will punish Ottawa, but then, this second straight inferior effort in which Erik Karlsson left the match after 40 minutes because of a wounded left heel and Craig Anderson was pulled at the same juncture following a third straight mediocre (if that) performance was punishment enough.
The Rangers dictated this one again pretty much from the start, though it took them 14:04 to take the lead. Once they did go in front, the Blueshirts dominated in all phases for the second straight game and made this series appear as much a mismatch as Ottawa coach Guy Boucher insisted it would be over and over again before it began in some sort of application of reverse psychology.
Nick Holden got the first one off a lovely move in front after he was sent in by Kevin Hayes. Then the spotlight shifted to Glass and his fourth-line center Oscar Lindberg. When Glass blocked a Ben Harpur shot at the left point, Lindberg scooped up the puck and swept away on a two-on-none with Michael Grabner before finishing No. 40’s feed for a right-porch slam dunk at 2:01 of the second period.
And it was Lindberg again with a dart from the left side at 15:54 for a 3-0 lead after Glass initiated the play and then went to the front to screen Anderson. It was Ranger depth on display and it was Glass, who spent nearly all season toiling for the AHL Wolf Pack until recalled in early March, making his mark.
“It’s huge for me, but I’m trying to stay in the moment, day-to-day,” said Glass. “It’s been a trying year, to say the least, but I kept faith in myself and my family has been huge for me. It’s a good support system down there. I believed I could play at this level. It’s nice to be here now.”
Glass scored the game-winner in Game 1 in Montreal, beating Carey
Price on a backhand in the Blueshirts’ 2-0 victory. But he was replaced
by Pavel Buchnevich for the final three games of the first round and the
opening two matches of this series before he was reinstated by
Vigneault, the guy who is supposed to be a pacifist but went with Glass
right at the top.
“The key for us in Game 3 was urgency,” said Glass, “We wanted to match that in this one.”
Glass is set to become a free agent July 1. Perhaps his contributions here might influence general manager Jeff Gorton to re-sign the winger before then. Regardless, it is likely that Glass’ work here will silence some of the social media haters who have been hating on him for at least two years.
“I think those people [on social media] just don’t know a lot about the game or about being part of a team,” he said. “To me, that stuff comes from uneducated people.”
If you want to talk about messages, that’s not a bad one.Read More..