From my porch the interesting thing will be to see how well the Rangers can off set the physical play and crease crashing by their opponents.
The best way to do that from a skill position is to have a PP firing on all cylinders.
The whole team will have to have everyone giving strong performances. Four players will have to prove/reaffirm that they belong in the Elite category:
Underscore the above with the fact that Hank has to be flat out brilliant in these playoffs. He will need to steal at least a few games. Hopefully one or better two come in a final round.
Richards has to prove he's still relevant. Nash and Step need to have their first strong playoff performances. All that happens and the Rangers could go deep. If they do, they will need Kreider's big game abilities back in the lineup. This team is all but certain to be pretty banged up by the later rounds. Kreider could help to off set that.
But for the Rangers, it begins and ends with Hank.
I would throw Nash in with those first four. He was BAD in the playoffs last year.
Any chance McD plays? Be nice for him to play a couple of games to get into the swing of things before the playoffs start.
The W2W4 piece (p.2) on the NYR home page says this regarding McD.:
"Ryan McDonagh will miss his fourth straight game due to an injured shoulder. The good news, however, is that he has skated the past two days--Wednesday wearing the yellow non-contact jersey at practice--and it would appear he is on track to return in time to take part in the first round of the post-season"
Watch the Sabres, they're in a 4 game losing streak, that's always dangerous.
I know they suck, but Im sure they'll try to bounce back.
They do have something to play for...their jobs next season.
They have already secured 30th seed and best chance in the draft lottery, so this will be a dangerous game for the Rangers. People talk about playing for home ice. I am more concered about dropping out of top 3 and end up as a WC and face Boston.
This has all the makings of a typical Rangers let down game.
1. Home ice
2. Vastly inferior team in the standings with nothing to play for
3. Rangers need this game to help secure home ice
4. Not a doubt in my mind the Flyers will beat the Lightning ESPECIALLY if the Rangers lose tonight.
Let's hope these aren't your typical Rangers.
Rangers are very very good. And they are healthy and in prime condition going forward into the playoffs.. I see nothing but a win in regulation for our NYR tonight.