Here’s an interesting statistic for you: The Rangers are unbeaten in Games 1, 3, and 7 this postseason. They are a perfect 8-0 in those games. Another interesting stat: The Rangers haven’t won in Games 2 or 4 this postseason. They are a combined
0-6 0-5 (that’s an awful typo) in those games. Scary, right? In fact, the Rangers have never built a two game lead during these playoffs.
The Blueshirts have a prime opportunity on Monday to take a two game lead against the Devils. With their 3-0 victory over the Devils yesterday, a win in which Henrik Lundqvist stole the show, the Rangers have now shut out the Devils by that margin twice in three games. Sure, the Devils may have dominated the game yesterday, but it was the Rangers who came out with the series lead, and the Rangers with an opportunity to make it a two game lead headed back to MSG.
Why is a two game lead so important? Well, it takes the pressure off the team to constantly as if one bad bounce could end their season. And to be frank, the Rangers have had several games where a bad bounce almost ended their season. A two game lead essentially eliminates the luck factor from the equation, as the Devils would have to win three games in a row to end the series.
But the Rangers have failed to capitalize on victories in Game 1 in each of their first three series, and have failed to capitalize on two previous Game 3 victories.
The rest factor is another big factor in all this. Should the Rangers have another series go to seven games, then the Kings –who look to be on the verge of sweeping the Coyotes– will have another week and a half off before the Stanley Cup Finals begins.
For a Rangers team that would have played the maximum 21 games at that point, the rest is a big deal. They would essentially eliminate that advantage from LA.
It all starts with a victory in Game 4 tomorrow night. They can’t afford to come out the way they did in the first two periods yesterday. The Devils are too good a team to let chances like that just disappear. Plus it would be nice, as a fan, to not have to sit on the edge of my seat every game . A little less stress would be nice. So please, a two game lead?