Rangers Eye 2-0 Lead at “Emotional” Bell Centre

Over the course of 82 regular season games, the difference in points total between the Rangers and Montreal was one.

Both teams won 23 games in one-goal affairs. Where did that lead to you ask? For all intents and purposes, a one-goal playoff opener that saw both teams fire 31 shots at the oppositions’ net, both teams win 28 faceoffs and featured 98 hits. It was that close and that intense. Henrik Lundqvist made one more save than Carey Price.

[RANGERS PLAYOFF CHANNEL LISTINGS]

So while the first game affords an opportunity to savor victory, this series is far, far from over.

From the “every dog has its day” category, Tanner Glass’s unlikely backhand snipe stood as the game-winner. While the career of Glass’s doesn’t have the comeback from injury angle, it is a story of perseverance nonetheless. In back-to-back seasons, the veteran was sent to the minors out of training camp, where he accepted his fate and went about his business in a most honorable way. Tanner Glass’s game sure does represent that fraternity of guys who play an essential and very important character role in this great game.

It looks as though both teams will field the same lineup for Game 2. Certainly, no reason from a Rangers standpoint to change as the victory in the opener was a result of all hands on deck. The veteran core led the club through the emotional swings, while the younger players got better as the game rumbled along.

KEYS TO GAME 2

1. Protect the Net

The Rangers, as a group, did a tremendous job in Game 1 protecting Lundqvist from having to make the second and third saves. Boxing out and allowing Lundqvist to see what is coming will be equally important tonight as one would expect Montreal to try create a little more havoc around King Henrik.

2. Neutral Zone

Montreal’s speed comes off the wings and defending the middle of the ice plays an important role in managing that speed. Not being out-manned in coverage in the neutral zone allows a better chance to turn the puck over and head the other way.

3. Start

Montreal came hard and heavy early in Game 1, and while the Rangers were reeling somewhat, they managed to keep their heads above water until the “sea legs” were found. One should expect the Habs to come hard once again in the very passionate, emotional Bell Centre.

COVERAGE:

Game 2 tonight on MSG Network (TV) and ESPN 98.7 FM (Radio). Join Don La Greca, Kenny Albert and yours truly on ESPN 98.7 FM starting with the pregame show at 6:30. Puck drop a little after 7.

Check it out!