How The Rangers Can Still Win This Series

Back to physical defensive hockey if the NYR want to win (Bruce Bennet / Getty Images)

Back to physical defensive hockey if the NYR want to win (Bruce Bennet / Getty Images)

The odds and their own history are stacked against them. New York has NEVER comeback from a 3-1 hole to win a series. 

But is all lost? Can they win? What do they need to do? Well, I’m here to tell you.

1. You Can’t Score, So Play Better Defense!

The Rangers lack confidence offensively. It’s not just Rick Nash either, it’s the whole team. The problem is so bad that they are having trouble completing the simplest of passes. As for their decision making and puck management, it came to an all-time low in game 4 with 25 giveaways.

NY needs to stop trying to beat Pittsburgh at their own game and get back to their strengths, defense and goaltending. Henrik can win a game 2-1, as he has proven in the past. A look at a heat chart of Pittsburgh goals this year shows where the majority of their scores come from.

Penguins 2013-14 Goal Chart (sportingcharts.com)

Penguins 2013-14 Goal Chart (sportingcharts.com)

If the Rangers can protect the middle of the ice in the defensive zone, it will eliminate the area where the Penguins thrive offensively. A safer game, with less turnovers is the key to winning.

2. Puck Management and Shots

K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) is how the Rangers need to play offense. Protect the puck, eliminate turnovers, dump and chase. That’s as basic an offensive game plan as the Rangers need. It’s also easy to execute and requires they work hard and win puck battles in the offensive zone to be successful.

Then the Rangers must shoot the puck. Marc Andre Fleury has his own playoff demons that the Rangers offense has done a wonderful job of exercising up to this point. However, if the Blueshirts just shoot from everywhere, they may just break through. A deflection off the ¬†butt or skates of a Penguin defenseman is all it will take to plant the seed of doubt in Fleury’s head.

3. Get The First Goal

As of this article, the team that has scored the first goal of the game in the second round has yet to lose. I don’t care if that goal comes in the first period or in OT, just get it. The Rangers are simply a better team with the lead, as are most teams in the NHL.

So that’s how the Rangers can do it. If they are feeling really frisky they can also try:

  1. Playing MSL on the point (different look to the PP)
  2. Replace Rick Nash on the PP with Carl Hagelin (speed to loose pucks)
  3. Re-insert John Moore for Raphael Diaz (defense first)

Tell us what you think below by voting and making comments.

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Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at YardBarker, and MSN. Features have been linked on Sportsnet, NBC, TFP, NY POST, NEWSDAY and more.