Now we can say that word. Playoffs. Of course, let's be honest. Most teams in the NHL say that word and get there. Thirty teams and sixteen make the playoffs, so that reads like most to me. So now what? What are the Rangers prospect of making some noise, as they say, of advancing to the next round? Based on the season performance and how most of the players fared right now it looks like it's one and done. But who knows? Remember when we won the Cup in 1994? We beat the eight seed out of the West, Vancouver, and it took all of seven games. So who knows?
Last night it was The Prince who rose royally to the occasion. Thirty-seven saves, some out of this world , as he reestablished his reputation as a big game goalie. The last three home games he has given up a total of just two goals against the Devils, a shutout, and one apiece to the Canadiens and Flyers. At home the Rangers are tough and can go with anyone. It is on the road where they have a losing record. How many teams with a losing road record win Stanley Cups?
Goalies have been known to get hot and carry teams through the playoffs and right now Henrik Lundqvist is one hot goalie. Can he carry this team? We'll see. The Rangers either will face the Big Bad Bruins and their stifling defense and great goaltending or the high powered offensive minded Caps and the explosive Ovechkin. In our house there is the debate going who would be "easier." I think the Rangers would have a better shot at "out defensing" Boston than they would in trying to "outscore Washington". It's six of one and half a dozen of the other. Any way, it's on to the playoffs and as they say, its starts at 0-0 and anything can and probably will happen.
So congratulations to John Tortorella for instilling some fire into the team and making the playoffs. Heck, I was happy with the fire. The playoffs are a bonus. Let's Go Rangers!
Some random observations from Rangerland about the clincher and making the playoffs:
The Dark Ranger:
Last night we were exposed to our 'Sybil Blueshirts', the hockey personality disorder (a.k.a. MSG OMG!) when the squad looks like a team, the forwards play defense, the defense plays offense, the coach plays lines to shutdown opposing studs and the entire team communicates across all lines. This unfamiliar NY Rangers entity finally solidified their going to the playoffs for the fourth season in a row...Ranger Rants:
Lundqvist's personal goal for the game at Philadelphia is to win his career-high 38th game. He has won 37 the past two seasons.Scotty Hockey:
Stat of the night - 21 blocked shots for the Rangers with Morris and Girardi each recording four...Blueshirt Banter:
I'm not sure I've seen Michal Roszival play a better game this season than he did last night, making several great defensive plays, and absolutely leveled Joffrey Lupul at the blue line...Rangers Review:
we did not play a good game, not at all... I bet you if they actually kept track of zone coverage, I’d say the puck was beyond our red line for at least 70% of the game, that’s how dominating the Flyers were. But we won...Chris Kotsopoulos:
I was in attendance to witness the game up close and I really have to say it as I saw it, the Flyers took it to the Rangers for most of the 60 minutes. If not for two early goals by the Rangers, the Rangers played on their heels for most of the night...