June 1, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defending Adam Fox (23) passes the ball around the left flank of Tampa Bay Lightning Ondrej Balat (18) in the third period of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports
The New York Rangers had just finished recovering from 1-0 down after the first period of Game 2 to lead 2-1.
In the second goal, Adam Fox made a show of the ages because he was the best player on the ice. He created two great chances in one bout with Kabu Kaku who deflected a superb pass that left two Lightning defenders frozen, including Victor Hedman.
“I stayed in front of the net,” Kaku said. “We had some chances before that and then Foxy got the discus and a good pass, so it was very easy for me to put it in the net.”
The ESPN broadcast is back in the studio for a quick analysis with former Rangers legend and 1994 Stanley Cup Championship captain Marc Messier. What he said about what he had just seen resonated with every blues fan.
“Adam Fox put in a show. He was the best player on the ice,” Messier said. “Brian Leach reminded me of the way he dominated the entire period.”
When the Rangers finally broke the 54-year-old’s curse, it was Leach who won the Conn Smith award as the best player in the extension. The first American-born player to do so with 34 points in 23 games. We could see something similar in 2022.
Fox-Leach comparisons are nothing new
Last season, as Fox was working his way up to the Norris Cup in his second season only in the National Hockey League, the comparison with Leach held steady. In the end, the former great Rangers player decided to get involved.
“You usually read the play a second before the player because you can see everything from above,” Leech, who was a team consultant, told Rick Carpinello of The Athletic. “I would say, with cunning, he does the play as I see it from above. It’s not like I see the play in a split second before he makes it. He plays the same play that I can see from 10 floors. And he does it while the men are all over Place and the play takes place quickly, and he reads the play in those seconds and makes passes.”
When Fox was named Norris recipient last season, Leach would award him the accolades.
“It was surreal to learn that I was nominated for a Norris Award, let alone won,” Fox said. “Brian (Leach) is an all-time keeper, Hall of Fame, shirtless in the rafters, he’s won some Norris Awards himself. So giving me the award is special.”
Adam Fox shines as a playoff
So how well did Adam Fox perform in these playoffs? After his nursing performance on Friday night, he led all defenders in the playoffs by scoring 22 points (5G-17A) in 16 games. This also ties him to Mika Zibanijad to lead the team, 7 points Edmonton Conor McDavid for overall scoring.
“He’s been doing it all year,” Jacob Trueba told NHL Network’s Billy Jaffe after game two. “He’s upped his game and played even better. It’s fun to watch, that’s for sure.”
Adam Fox He extended his home points streak to nine playoffs with the help of two goals. Only two linebackers in NHL history have recorded such a longest run in the intervening year: Ray Bourque (10 GP in 1991) and Paul Coffey (10 GP in 1985). Fox recorded his fourth consecutive multi-point game, surpassing Brian Leach (1992 and 1995) for the longest multi-point streak by a man defending in Rangers game history. Overall, this was the Fox’s sixth multi-point game in the playoffs, with Sergey Zubov (6 in 1994) tied for second in the post-season by defensive Rangers, behind only Brian Leach (9 in 1994). With 22 points, Fox and Zipanegad placed third for the most points in the intervening year by a Rangers skater (Leach – 34 in 1994, Messier – 30 in 1994).
New York Rangers postgame notes