‘Rangers Inside And Out’
By Sean Hartnett
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Henrik Lundqvist stood bravely between the pipes, fighting off 37 shots through regulation and overtime before Mike Green’s long-range blast found its way through traffic to propel the Caps to a 2-0 series edge.
While the Capitals spilled onto the ice to engage in wild celebrations, Lundqvist was feeling a familiar sense of frustration. Year after year, Lundqvist plays at an all-world level and it’s far too often that his teammates fail to pull their own weight.
“I’m really, really disappointed right now that we couldn’t come up with a win,” Lundqvist stated after the Game 2 defeat. “We gave ourselves a chance here, but we came up short.”
NASH FEELS THE NEED TO REWARD LUNDQVIST
Rick Nash is aware of Lundqvist’s disappointment. Nash was a near point-per-game player during the 2013 regular season, but has been held without a point through two games against the Caps. He feels the urgency to take some off the pressure off Lundqvist’s back.
“Hank was unbelievable. We have to get goals for him. There’s no excuses,” Nash said after Game 2.
A 0-2 series deficit is overcome-able and Lundqvist knows it. Game 3 at Madison Square Garden will be the swing game in the series where the Rangers can seize the momentum.
“We just have to move on and get ready for the next one. This is definitely not over,” Lundqvist explained. “We just have to go home and regroup here.”
Lundqvist thinks the Rangers are “right there” in terms of how close they are to coming away with a win and believes it’s going to take a team effort.
“We need everybody to play their best if we’re gonna beat this team,” Lundqvist stated. “They’re a good team, no question. We’re right there. It’s just a goal.”
POWERPLAY HAS BECOME ICE-COLD
The Rangers’ inability to produce on the power play has come back to haunt them. New York is 0-for-7 on the power play through two games against the Caps. Head coach John Tortorella didn’t mince words when describing the state of the Blueshirts’ ice-cold power play.
“We’re just too stagnant. We’re almost paralyzed,” Tortorella said of the Rangers’ power play.
EFFORT IS CLEARLY THERE, SKILL LEVEL IS LACKING
The required level of effort has been there from the Rangers. That’s not the issue. It’s a matter of skill for the Rangers. It’s not just Nash who needs to raise his game. Brad Richards, Derek Stepan and captain Ryan Callahan are all logging heavy minutes on the power play.
Collectively, this team must adequately address the weakness that plagues them most. Lundqvist knows special teams has been the difference between the Caps being up 2-0 and the Rangers staring at an 0-2 hole.
”We played physical, we did a lot of good things. In the end, special teams will be the difference. So far, they’ve been beating us in every game.”
When the Rangers hit the ice at Madison Square Garden on Monday, they must play with a sense of desperation to reward their King standing between the pipes who’s done everything to limit the Capitals on the scoreboard.
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