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NHL Playoffs: Grades for Night 9

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer

The New York Rangers earned a big win to even their series with Washington. (USATSI)
The New York Rangers earned a big win to even their series with Washington. (USATSI)

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TeamGradeAnalysis
B+Big performance by the Rangers at Madison Square Garden to even their series with the Washington Capitals. Perhaps the best performance of the night goes to the defensive pairing of Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi as they went up against Alex Ovechkin for most of the night and did their part to shut him down, allowing him to get just one shot on goal. They were even able to get a goal from a power play unit that had been struggling.
CIt wasn't a bad effort by the Capitals in Game 4, but goaltender Braden Holtby had a costly gaffe in the first period that looms large in a one-goal loss and they're headed back to Washington Friday night with a new series on their hands after coming up empty in their two games in New York. Alex Ovechkin had a difficult time getting going and the Capitals will need more from him in Game 5.
B-The Maple Leafs probably deserved a better fate in this game. They played well and had several near misses, including a shot off the post early in overtime from Tyler Bozak. Those are the breaks sometimes in the playoffs. A quarter of an inch in a different direction and this series heads back to Boston tied instead of the 3-1 Boston lead it is. Randy Carlyle finally gave Jake Gardiner some meaningful playing time and was rewarded for it, but his usage of Clarke MacArthur, probably one of Toronto's best skaters when he actually played, was bizarre.
CThe Bruins got the win but it wasn't a particularly strong showing, with the one big exception being center David Krejci as he finished the game with a hat trick, including the game-winning goal in overtime.
AAnd speaking of Krejci, he gets an A for the night for finishing with three goals, eight shots on goals, 12 attempted shots, and a 60 percent night in the faceoff circle. Huge performance from one of the Bruins' top players.
BThe defending Stanley Cup champions are starting to play like, well, the Champs. Their Game 5 win on Wednesday was their third in a row over the Blues and moves them to within one win of moving on to the Western Conference Quarterfinal. His Game 1 gaffe aside, Jonathan Quick is also starting to get back to the level we saw him play at last postseason and with the rest of this team looking like it is that's bad news for the rest of the NHL.
B-I thought in general the Blues played a pretty strong game, but my concern with this team all along has been in goal with Brian Elliott. That was the focal point once again when Slava Voynov's shot somehow snuck through in overtime to send the Blues to the brink of elimination.
C+For the third time in this series the Red Wings and Ducks went to overtime. When you rely on overtime that often sometimes the coin is going to come up heads for you, and sometimes it isn't. In the first two overtime games for Detroit it did ... on Wednesday night it was the Ducks' turn as Nick Bonino scored the game-winner. Jimmy Howard played extremely well but he didn't have much of a chance on the winner. The turning point of the game came when the Red Wings had a five-minute power play and a chance to take a two-goal lead but not only failed to score, but took a penalty of their own to negate the final two minutes of it.
B The Ducks take a 3-2 series lead heading into Game 6 in Detroit on Friday thanks to a rock solid performance on Wednesday. Anaheim seemed to get the better of the chances and received some big performances from their top guys. Corey Perry is still searching for his first goal of the playoffs but if he plays like he did on Wednesday they're going to start coming for him at some point.

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