A broken power play, too much time spent in the penalty box and a bizarre off-night from elite netminder Henrik Lundqvist. These trends can’t continue if the Blueshirts wish to march into the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Rangers may be able to push the Caps, but this is Washington’s series to win. The Rangers may get two games, but it’s Oates, Ovechkin and the Capitals who will go on to the second round.
What would playoff hockey be without the Rangers playing the Capitals?
“I think it solidified our team,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said of the deadline dealing. “We have kind of grown since then … I thought it changed our team a little bit, and we took off.”
After quickly dismissing a question regarding the health and status of key defenseman Marc Staal, by saying there was no update regarding his eye injury, Tortorella became engaged when asked about rising star Derek Stepan.
Callahan always seems to be the man who thrives in moments when the pressure is cranked to the highest. It’s not a coincidence if you perform under pressure time and time again.
The Rangers are headed back to the playoffs, thanks to some all-important bounces. “Funny how the hockey gods work in these type of situations,” said coach John Tortorella.
While Gaborik is thriving in Columbus, the Blueshirts landed a haul of their own. Derick Brassard and John Moore are flourishing under the Madison Square Garden lights.
After being yo-yoed between Madison Square Garden and Connecticut for much of the season, the 21-year-old Kreider will be given the chance to force his way back into John Tortorella’s plans following the indefinite loss of forward Brian Boyle.
Question the collective talent of this team? Go ahead, be my guest. That’s entirely fair. Question their collective desire? That’s a different story altogether.
Lundqvist is the Rangers’ best asset, and if they are going to hold off the Winnipeg Jets or Buffalo Sabres — and they probably will — they have to continue to lean on Lundqvist.
Mats Zuccarello’s overtime-winning shootout goal could go a long way in determining how high the Rangers finish in the Eastern Conference.
In the last 48 hours, the Rangers have completely revamped their team — not only for the playoff push, but moving forward for next season.
There may be Rangers fans who want to look at Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over the Penguins and say everything has been fixed. Don’t believe it for a minute.
John Tortorella’s system requires a certain type of player. The “new” deeper Rangers fit Tortorella like a glove and proved it by beating the Penguins 6-1.
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