3 Keys To The Rangers Beating The Penguins
Last night the Rangers improved their game 7 home record to a perfect 6-0. Going into round 2, they will not have that luxury. The Pens have home-ice advantage, taking that factor out of this series. The Blueshirts must find a way to wrap this series up in 6 or less if they have any hopes of seeing the Conference Finals, so here is what they must do.
1. GET REST!
This is Alain Vigneault’s biggest to do list item. By failing to beat the Flyers in game 6, NY has played 4 games in 6 nights. With the series starting this Friday, it will be 5 games in 8 nights, but it gets worse. The NHL saw it fit to make games 2 and 3 back to back. That means 3 games into this series, NY will have played 7 games in 11 days. The schedule doesn’t relent in round 2 as they will play every other day until the series is over.
So Rangers end first round playing three in four days and start 2nd round with three games in four nights.
— Andrew Gross (@AGrossRecord) May 1, 2014
The Rangers coaching staff needs to skip a practice (or make them optional), roll 4 lines extremely efficiently no matter the score and utilize their depth on the bench. If the Rangers have to play another 7 game series to advance, it could spell certain doom in round three.
2. FIX THE POWER PLAY AND STAY OUT OF THE BOX
The Rangers inability cost them against the Flyers. Yes, they won the series, but had it been better then the abysmal 3 for 29, the series could have been a sweep. On the other side, the Penguins were 6 for 29. Considering NY allowed 6 power play goals on just 21 chances, it would be wise to stay out of the box.
How should the Rangers fix this? Good news is that the Penguins penalty kill was almost as bad as the Rangers. They allowed 7 goals on 27 chances, but NY must do just as good or better to beat Pittsburgh. It starts by gaining the zone and getting shots from the point. The rebounds will be there as M.A. Fleury has struggled in the post season. However, there is no rebound without shots, so NY must make a conscious effort to shoot. Keep it simple and the power play may actually be an advantage this series.
3. HENRIK LUNDQVIST MUST STEAL 2 GAMES
Here is the bottom line, Pittsburgh is the better team and they are far more talented than the Rangers. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are rested because they closed out their series on Monday. It doesn’t stop there, with the likes of James Neal and Chris Kunitz, who give the Rangers defense all they can handle.
If the Rangers are going to advance, Henrik Lundqvist must elevate his play beyond any level he’s ever reached in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Maybe someone should tell him it’s game 7 every night. For whatever reason, Henrik Lundqvist is having difficulty stringing together wins in the playoffs. He has to solve that problem if the Rangers hope to beat the Penguins.
P.S. The Rangers have never beaten Pittsburgh in 4 tries (1989, 1992, 1996, 2008)