When you’re apart of the New York Rangers, the best team in the league, being named their most valuable player of the season finale is saying something.
In the last week of the regular season, the New York Rangers worked their butts off over a span of five games with only a couple days of rest mixed in.
Between the 4th and the 11th of April, the Rangers faced the New Jersey Devils for a 6-1 win before resting up for their eventual 4-3 win in overtime against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The very next day, the Blueshirts outmatched the Devils again, 4-2, to win the coveted Presidents’ Trophy with the best record in the entire NHL.
The Rangers (sans Rick Nash and Marc Staal) then went on to face the red hot Ottawa Senators, resulting in a 3-0 shutout for Sens goalie, Andrew “the Hamburglar” Hammond. But the boys in blue finished strong with a 4-2 win over the Washington Capitals, going 53-22-7 and earning a franchise record-breaking 113 points for the season.
So in the 2014-15 season finale, which Ranger stood out the most?
I have to say, it was tough picking between this guy and the first runner up, but Hayes won out in the end. The rookie was on the ice for all five games and received the first star of the game twice in a row: versus the Devils and then the Caps. He broke open the scoring in New Jersey with his one goal and later collected two assists, one on the power play and another that led to an empty netter. His net presence really payed off in the next game when he beat Braden Holtby by whacking the puck out of mid air…on his backhand. The hand-eye coordination on this one is incredible and this is just the tip of the iceberg. As a rookie, his overall skill as a hockey player is yet to be shown. There’s no doubt Hayes will continue to impress next season, but the playoffs is a whole different beast. How he does over the next week is going to be very, very interesting.
New York Rangers
The star goaltender has snapped back from a two-month hiatus to looking playoff ready. Between the pipes against the Devils, Lundqvist earned the first star of the game for 36 saves and a fantastic .972 save percentage (SV%). Then with Sergei BobRossSki on the other side of the rink, Hank managed 32 saves for a .906 SV%: good enough for the second star of the game. The Rangers almost lost their main man again when a Senator fell on top of Lundqvist’s leg, but the King was able to shake off the pain. His resilience, ability to track the puck, and stellar performance in the Rangers net over the past week deems Lundqvist a very close first runner-up.
This guy seriously heated up towards the end of the season. With two goals versed with the Devils, Moore walked away with the second star of the game. He also added the primary feed to the game winning goal, also against the Devils in the Rangers’ 4-2 win. Then up against the Caps, Moore collected his tenth goal, the game winner, and 17th assist of the season. All of that makes for an average point per game! If there was ever a good time to really start producing however, the playoffs is prime time.
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