New York Rangers: Dan Girardi Crucial to First Round Success


Dan Girardi has taken his game to the next level for the New York Rangers during these Playoffs, and it’s paid off in a major way.

Dan Girardi has been one of the best players, if not the most valuable player, for the New York Rangers in the postseason so far.

Throughout the entire series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Girardi has been dependable behind the blue line. And instead of simply carrying over his performance from the regular season, Girardi has stepped it up for the Playoffs without a doubt.

That’s what is expected out of every player, but rarely do many actually deliver. How many times has a player had a great season, only to struggle once the pressure of the Playoffs was turned on? But if someone can manage a little extra effort during the postseason, it can go a long way.

At the moment, Girardi is the fourth highest NHL player in blocked shots with 23 since the start of the Playoffs. That list currently includes many who have been in a Game Six: one game more than Girardi.

His willingness to go down to block a shot is inhuman. Nobody naturally wants to be in the way of a hard piece of rubber flying at high speeds (not to mention sans goalie grade padding). But that’s part of his job and he’s done it without fail.

New York Rangers
New York Rangers /

New York Rangers

Because of all those shots blocked, Girardi has been a crucial ingredient in the Rangers’ 4-1 win in the series against the Pens. Every one of those games has been decided by a single goal. Had the Rangers been without Girardi, this probably would have been a series longer than five games.

Another important aspect about the 6’1″ 201 pound blue liner is that he has been consistent. Despite multiple traumatic blocked shots, the 30-year-old continued to be an absolute beast.

He was struck in the mouth with the puck during the third period of the very first match up, forcing him to leave the game and widespread panic ensued. Girardi stayed true to his iron man reputation, nevertheless, as he was back better than ever in Game Two (despite a loss to the Pens). In Game Three he shined at both ends of the rink. With great defensive play and two assists, he earned the Broadway Hat. Then in Game Four, Girardi blocked a shot in overtime that seemed to hurt his leg, but of course he was ready to go by the next contest to help win the series.

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No matter what happened, Girardi delivered the same performance behind the blue line every time he stepped onto the ice. Again, his consistency as a defenseman has been invaluable to the Rangers and it should be recognized.

Without consistency, there’s little chance of having success in the postseason. Every team gets over 80 chances in the regular season to get back on track if they lose a game. But in any given Playoffs series, there’s only 4-7 chances to win or else better luck next year.

This is why being dependable is so much more meaningful in the playoffs than in the regular season. And as the Rangers advance to the second Round, there’s no doubt Girardi will continue to live up to and beyond expectations once again.

Next: What's the Rangers' Plan if Zucc Misses Time?

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