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NHL Playoffs: Grades for Night 24

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer

Henrik Lundqvist was big for the Rangers in Game 4.(USATSI)

Henrik Lundqvist was big for the Rangers in Game 4. (USATSI)

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TeamGradeAnalysis
BDuring the first period, the Rangers looked like a team that had already accepted that its season was over. There was little life in the building, the crowd was out of it, and there was just no fight in this team. But when Tuukka Rask tripped over the air behind him and allowed Carl Hagelin's shot to slide into the net, everything started to change for the Rangers. They managed to fight back and keep their season going with a 4-3 overtime victory. Slow start, but a good effort when they needed it.
C-The Bruins weren't terrible in general, but they had a couple of really bad mistakes. The aforementioned Rask fall was one, and Zdeno Chara allowing Derek Stepan to slide in behind him for a strip-and-score goal early in the third period was another. They had the Rangers down and out for the count but let them off the mat. At least for one night. The Bruins still lead the series 3-1.
AHenrik Lundqvist might not be 100 percent, and Thursday's game wasn't the best that he's ever played, but he was good enough for the Rangers and made some huge saves to keep his team in it.
AHoly smokes. Reports of the Red Wings' demise might have been greatly exaggerated this season. And thanks to their 2-0 shutout win in Game 4 on Thursday night, they have a 3-1 series lead over the Presidents' Trophy winning Blackhawks and seem to be in complete control of the series. After the way they looked in Game 1, this didn't really seem possible, but what a performance by Detroit over the past three games and, specifically, goaltender Jimmy Howard.
DThe Blackhawks' third-period comeback attempt was pretty brutal, especially on a power play with four minutes to play when they did not record a single shot on goal. Chicago couldn't win any puck possession in the closing minutes and could never get close enough to Howard to challenge him late in the game. The Blackhawks entered Thursday having not lost three in a row all season or been shut out. Both things happened on Thursday.
DJonathan Toews still hasn't scored a goal this postseason, and before Thursday's game you wouldn't be wrong to say that he's played significantly better than his box score numbers would indicate. But during Thursday's 4 loss, Toews looked frustrated and had a bit of a meltdown in the second period, when he took three consecutive penalties within a five-minute span of clock time. That's what really hurt him and the Blackhawks on this night. One of those penalties led to Detroit's first goal (a Jakub Kindl power-play goal), which was the only one that the Wings needed. Even if Detroit hadn't scored on any of those power plays, it was still six straight minutes the Blackhawks were forced to play shorthanded and couldn't generate any offense.
C-The Sharks didn't really put up much of a fight in this game until the third period, when they were already facing a two-goal deficit. By that point, the Kings were more than happy to sit back on their lead. The bad news: After Thursday's 3-0 defeat, the Sharks face elimination heading into Game 6 on Sunday night. The good news: The Sharks have only lost two games in regulation at home this season, including the playoffs. They have to be better from the start on Sunday.
AThis was a pretty complete performance by the Kings and one of their best of the playoffs thus far. They dominated through two periods when the game was close and then let Jonathan Quick do his thing in the third period as they sat back and played with a two-goal lead.
AThe Kings didn't need Jonathan Quick to "steal" this game, but you have to give the guy credit for already recording his third shutout of the postseason. He had three shutouts the entire postseason a year ago, when he won the Conn Smythe Trophy. He's already matched that total this year in 11 games.
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