Rangers Look To Bring Momentum To Montreal & Force Habs Into Do-Or-Die Position
Not since facing a 3-1 series deficit to the Caps back in 2015 have the Rangers won consecutive playoff games. That’s 16 contests without a winning streak. After finally getting over the home ice hump Tuesday, there’s no better time than tonight to start one.
A handful of Rangers adjustments paid dividends and had them come out victorious with their best 60-minute effort so far. AV perhaps made the most – not only inserting Buchnevich into the lineup & juggling lines, but he held players accountable in-game. Holden barely played 14 minutes while Brendan Smith soaked up almost 23. Zib & Kreider saw just as much even-strength time as the 4th line. The Blueshirts will need those two to produce at some point – but if they can’t, Vigneault needs to continue coaching his team in the now & not roll them as one of the top lines they’re supposed to be.
Defensively, the Blueshirts were excellent. Much less traffic in front of Lundqvist, in large part because his defenders focused on the slot instead of chasing the puck into corners or behind the net. Montreal is a very solid possession squad yet the Rangers held them in check despite the Habs playing a majority of the game in “come from behind” mode. Usually, once NY has a lead, they turtle and hope for the best. On Tuesday they didn’t back down & if they plan on playing a series clincher this weekend, they’re gonna have to duplicate that effort in enemy territory.
Someone’s gonna be facing a do-or-die Saturday night at MSG. If the Rangers are gonna advance to the second round, it’s in their best interest to avoid trying to do it in a Game 7 at the Bell. They finally proved to themselves they can dictate play against this tough Habs team for a full 60. Confidence has gotta be high & this is the best road team there is in the league. Now that the blueprint is laid out, mix in another top-notch effort with maybe FOR THE LOVE OF GOD A PPG and they’ll have a shot to hear home fans blow the roof off Saturday night. VIVA LA BLUESHIRTS!!