: Pre-Game Talk:
Round 1: New York vs Washington (Game 1: Wed @ 7:30 MSG+, VS)
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04-10-2011, 07:51 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
I just hope the Rangers dont feel "lucky" to be in the playoffs, like the Lightning did them a favor and now they are playing with house money.
The Rangers busted their ass to get to the playoffs, won 44 games and had a pretty damn good run at the end to secure it. They deserved to be here imo, unlike last season when i thought they didnt.
They need to approach each game like they approached each road game throughout the season. Keep it close, defend well, block shots and capitalize (no pun intended) on the big chances. Of course not having Cally hurts. Im still sick to my stomach about that. But they have enough firepower to get hot and make some noise.
For me, this series for the Rangers rests on the shoulders of three men.
1. Henrik Lundqvist
Obviously, we are going to need a stellar performance from a all-world and possible Vezona nominee goaltender. He's going to have to better than the 14-16, 2.66 and .907 playoff record he's compiled thus far. Its almost a given hell have to steal a game or two and stand on his head if the Rangers want to make it to the next round. The key thing with Hank is shutting the door and finishing a series. Hell have his game or two were hell shine, but he needs to say enough is enough and simply do everything in his power to not allow that one big crushing goal to get by him like it has in years past. I believe in Henrik, because i know its in him. I just REALLY want to SEE it at this level. Hes not a youngen anymore. Hes at the zenith of his career these next few seasons. The Rangers need him to take a series like this to get his confidence for the future.
2. Marian Gaborik
Still waiting for this guy to snap back into the Gaborik of early last year. Unfortunately, i think we'll be left hanging like a majority of this year. But if he decides to show up and be himself, and start scoring those game-breaking goals he started to a month ago (then stopped) - this Rangers team will take on a completely different complexion and will make a tough team even tougher to play against.
3. Marc Staal
You can lump him together with Girardi as a pair, but specifically Marc has to be splendid - every game - to make it through. Hell be directly competing with Ovechkin for a week and hell have to shut him down - not just 3 games this time - but 4. I also think his game has tailed off a bit due to the injury. Hopefully he gets back on track and raises his game to a level we havent seen yet. That includes offense. Hes taken another step offensively this year and he has the ability to make an impression on the scoreboard this series. I wouldnt be surprised if theres a big goal in his future somewhere down the line here.
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