It’s very important to keep in mind that the series is not over until the winning side gets four victories under its’ belt.
The anticipation of Game 3 was certainly heightened with the passionate play of the opening games in Montreal. Both teams went after one another and the goaltending was terrific. While Henrik Lundqvist’s play continued to be spectacular, the play by his mates in Game 3 didn’t quite match it. Particularly in the first period, when the Rangers were guilty of 10 giveaways, were out-shot 10-6, lost 14-of-16 faceoffs and went 0-for-2 on the power play.
It’s one thing to get beaten, but it is another to beat oneself. The Blueshirts were guilty of the latter in Game 3. They will be better tonight. They must be better tonight.
After three games of this series, the consistent and relentless pursuit of both the puck and the body by the Canadiens has been impressive. Besides for the opening 10 minutes of the second period of Game 1, Montreal has by and large dictated the pace of the series. The Rangers have to, at worst case, match the pace and at best case, dictate how Game 4 is going to be played. Especially at home.
3 KEYS TO GAME 4
Puck possession has been the key to the Rangers season. This team is built to play with the puck. Giving the puck away 21 times over the course of Game 3 does not play to this team’s strength.
2. Power Play
The power play has yet to leave a mark on the series with no goals in 10 attempts. The biggest issue is penetrating the offensive zone. The power play needs to accelerate at the offensive blueline to force the Montreal defenders to play on their heels. Slow does not work.
3. Go Play
While it is hard to ignore the lack of dominance at home during both this past regular season and recent playoff history, at the end of the day I would heed the advice of the great Fred Shero, “It’s only hockey. Go play.” Most of the times it’s that simple.
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