Do you think Yogi Berra, who was once quoted as saying “it ain’t over till it’s over” had Game 2 of this tremendous series in mind?
Certainly, an appropriate observation after two hard-fought games at the Bell Centre in Montreal. Seventeen regulation seconds away from taking a stranglehold on the series, the Blueshirts succumbed to the desperate play of the Canadiens as Game 2 wore down and lost in OT.
So, here we stand tied at one game apiece as the teams tee it up tonight for the third contest of this playoff series. To paraphrase, “this won’t be over until it’s over.”
Much has been written and opined about the Rangers struggles at The Garden this regular season. There are 14 teams on the golf course today that would love to have the Blueshirts home-ice record and subsequent playoff appearance. Playoffs wipe the slate clean. Montreal defenseman, Jeff Petry when asked about the Rangers record at home this season responded, “It’s a new season. It doesn’t mean anything.” I could not have said it any better or more simply.
Over the course of the first two games, the Rangers have displayed an “out-of-body” experience compiling a total of 119 hits. While it is important not to turn away from and following through on those physical opportunities this is a team that needs to play with a premium placed on speed and skill. A healthier balance between the physicality and skill will be necessary as the series moves along.
3 KEYS TO GAME 3
1. Both Bluelines
The great Herb Brooks often said that managing the six feet on either side of the bluelines was crucial. Advancing the puck out of one’s end and into the opposition’s end through this small area of ice either allows a team to breathe when you get it out or forces the opposition to defend when you get it in.
2. Do Unto Others
Montreal went hard, firm and with purpose to Henrik Lundqvist’s net in Game 2. The Rangers need to return the favor by driving Montreal’s net, with pucks and bodies, and force Carey Price to think about life beyond just stopping the puck.
There were few nights in this breakout season for the Ranger winger when it was asked, “Did you see Kreider, tonight?” and wonder. The team will be better served by asking the question in awe. He needs to be a bigger factor.
Check it out!