Not to worry.
Everything will be all right, starting Wednesday night in beautiful Tampa Bay.
Granted, there’s concern about the 6-2 drubbing the Rangers absorbed on Monday night at The Garden.
And so what if the Eastern Conference Final is tied a one apiece. No big deal.
So, for starters I herewith provide The Maven’s balm for Rangers fans still in a state of concern. Call it reasons for confidence.
1. THE KING REBOUNDS
Historically, Henrik Lundqvist has proven that he follows clunker contests with his best efforts. His Majesty should be just fine.
2. ROAD WARRIORS
Home, schmome, time and again, the Blueshirts have demonstrated that they invariably find a “home” away from home. Playing Wednesday at that rink called Amalie won’t disturb them in the least.
Might even help.
3. SMARTENING UP IN TIME
Captain Ryan McDonagh perfectly articulated the problem. He called them “stupid, selfish penalties.” Call the Blueshirts’ infractions what you will but, remember, this is a disciplined team which will haul in its emotions and get back down to business.
4. LAW OF AVERAGES
We all know that Alain Vigneault‘s skaters would not forever win 2-1 games. What happened on Monday night can best be summed up in one word — aberration. The eccentric game is now in the Department of Bygones. So, let it be bygone.
Try Vigneault’s view of the upcoming Game 3: “I’m confident that we’re going to respond the right way. We always have.”
6. PENALTY KILLING
It has to be better and I’m certain that it will. We know that the Bolts’ power play is powerful. But with King Henrik on his game and extra efforts from the PK Corps; all will be well.
Which is not to suggest that Games 3, 4 and 5 should be taken lightly. Far from it and I know, myself, that I underrated the Bolts after seeing them lose the opener.
The following must be part of the overall New York game plan:
A quick look at this Wonderboy and the first reaction is that; A. He’s cute; B. He wears his hockey pants too long; C. If he doesn’t watch out, he’ll get hurt.
That’s the deceptive part. This Spokane native is one heck of a hockey player in every darn way and you have to admire him for what he does with what little size he has. Tampa coach Jon Cooper said it best: “Tyler put the team on his back and we all followed.”
Solution: Vigneault must select his best available checker — how about Dom Moore — and put him on a full-game Johnson Watch.
The oversized goalie fills plenty of net, but he’s also vulnerable to rebounds; big-time. Plus, he pulls himself out of position aplenty.
My eyes may have deceived me but I’m convinced that he was a shaky goalie in Game 2 and the lads from Seventh Avenue just couldn’t exploit that aspect of his game. That said, he won didn’t he?
Yeah, but his flaws can easily be exposed.
Johnson has made Steve Stamkos look like a fourth-liner in comparison so far. This situation may not go on beyond tonight’s opening face-off. Which means that the Blueshirts must continue their effective checking of the Lightning’s captain. So far, so good.
Our old pal from Rangers days made a successful return from injury on Monday and figures to be even stronger tonight. BB is a terrific penalty-killer and team player.
In what may be the most obvious summation of Boyle’s effect on the Bolts, coach Cooper opined, “Brian makes our team a little bit taller”
Well, there’ll be no kidding on the ice tonight. What began as a series, is now a SERIES.
A serious one at that.
Relax, enjoy and, remember the deathless words of hockey philosophers, worry is but a futile gesture.
Especially when the Rangers win.