The Rangers are in Montreal tonight with the chance to win the series and play for the Stanley Cup. There are a lot of thoughts running around the brain of mine, and I like bulleted lists.
- There is a big need to close this series out as fast as possible. The Rangers are banged up, and could use as much rest as possible. Derek Stepan needs time to adjust to a full cage and playing with a broken jaw as well.
- While there is a big need to win immediately, I won’t panic if they lose Game Five. Yea, it’s not the ideal scenario, but the panic won’t start then. Now, if they lose Games Five and Six, then there will be serious concern.
- I will say this, if they lose tonight, they must win on Thursday. If they lose both, there is no way they win Game Seven. I know that Hank is unreal in Game Sevens, but they need to win before it gets to that point.
- Carey Price apparently skated this morning, but it was soft shots and some light lateral movement. It didn’t sound like he would be playing. If he does play, then the Rangers need to make him move laterally, something that should sound familiar.
- If he doesn’t play, then Dustin Tokarski will need to steal another game. He stole Game Three already, and has played pretty well while filling in for Price. If Montreal loses this series, the Price injury won’t even be in the top-five reasons why they lost. Tokarski has been much better than anyone anticipated.
- One of the main concerns with the Habs: P.K. Subban has as many points as Henrik Lundqvist in this series. If they lose the series, that is in the top-five reasons why they lost.
- The offensive zone penalties really need to stop. Seriously, they should have lost on Sunday night because of those penalties.
- Back to Stepan for a second: He was sorely missed on Sunday. Rick Nash was in the paint, as per usual these playoffs, but Chris Kreider really struggled with Dominic Moore as his center. That’s not a slight on Moore by any means. It just shows how important Stepan is to this club.
- We’ve harped on depth all year. It’s been the biggest change to this year’s club, and boy was it evident throughout the playoffs. They survived without Kreider. They survived without Brassard. They (so far) have survived without Stepan. Great teams survive without key guys.
- Of all the teams remaining, the Rangers are second in Fenwick in 5v5 close situations (+/- 1 in the first and second periods, tied in the third and overtime) at 50.1%. The only team ahead of them: The LA Kings at 50.4%. Since Fenwick can be skewed by score effects, close numbers are a better indicator of success. That’s why these teams are winning their respective series 3-1.
- Was talking with Becky this morning about why we are so confident with this version of the Rangers. The conclusion we came up with: This team wins games they should not win.
- Of course, this series is not over. Remember that it was our Rangers that overcame a 3-1 deficit just last round.
Tonight’s game is a big one, and there is a huge party planned in New York should they win. This team believes, and so do the fans.