as I said, I think the Rangers need to come out strong and dictate play - and not let the play be dictated. These few days off, if nothing else, recharges Jagr. If need be, Renney will have him ready to play 25-30 minutes. I'm guessing that he thinks this first game is important, thus ensuring going to home ice tied 1-1 at worst and taking some pressure off his guys, thus enabling them to relax in game two (not slack off, but play a composed game with less pressure).
I agree Fletch though even if we don't win the first game it's not the end of the world or the series but they need to put in a good effort. To play constructively which they haven't done much of in the last month. Some of that might be due to injuries and some might be to do with Renney experimenting more. It's also the team as a whole getting away from the way they played earlier (although as I said above I think the officiating has been bent against us for a while). Ozo needs to get his act together also. He needs to be a weapon for us which he is capable of being and not a weapon that's going to blow up in our face. If he has a bad playoffs I would dump him for whatever and ASAP. This is where he's going to make or break whether he's with us or not next year. I don't feel all that comfortable giving Strudwick too much ice time. He's just too slow. And I don't think Pock is ready for this either but if Ozo is a liability we probably won't be around long enough to find out about him anyway.
I agree with those that say it's imperative for the Rangers to split the first two games in New Jersey. This is especially true, because of how the series is scheduled. If they go back to NY tied 1-1, then they just need to win game 3, then have 3 days off before a back to back on the weekend. It's going to be really hard for either team (but esp. the Rangers) to win back to back games, and whoever is down 2-1 will have to do so, or else be down 3-2 and having to win consecutive elimination games.
Devils are a tough draw, they've been red hot, but Rangers have played pretty well against them. They have a lot of experience, but they aren't really "better" than the Rangers. The Rangers beat them the first 2/3 of the season, when NY was playing well, and the Devils have beat them down the stretch.
I think what really hurt about the Rangers dropping to #6 is IF they beat New Jersey (mighty big IF right now), they will have to face Ottawa in the second round (unless Ottawa or Carolina is upset in first round). Ottawa is the one team that seemed to outclass the Rangers, everyone else they are competitive with, if they're playing their best.
Back to the task at hand... just have to play smart, disciplined hockey, get some scoring from the 2nd line, and hope Jagr & Lundqvist carry them like they were most of this season.
If we're going to win one game in Jersey, I'd rather it be game two than game one.
I'd just like to see us get back to the type of hockey we played pre-Olympics. Lose the first 2-1 or even 3-1 with an empty netter. Maybe get Jersey a little over-confident about game 2 at home. The we take game 2 and come back to the Garden with renewed confidence and with the momentum on our side.