Rangers Have Embraced The Underdog Tag

NYR are ready to be the underdogs (Getty)

NYR are ready to be the underdogs (Getty)

The Rangers are huge underdogs and they know it. How could they not? It’s in their face every second of these playoffs. Even in their opening round series against the Philadelphia Flyers it was almost a 50/50 split.

Against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens they were supposed to lose those series as well. Instead they mounted the biggest comeback in their franchise history and defeated the Pens after being down 3-1 in the series. As for Montreal, they probably should have swept, but 9 penalties and an OT goal off of a Canadiens face prolonged the series.

The Blueshirts marched into the Finals off an incredible game where they shutout the Habs and only allowed 18 shots. Yes, all this and still not good enough to beat the Kings.

Meanwhile, LA has continuously gotten into trouble these playoffs. First it was an incredible comeback over the SJ Sharks. They followed it up with 7 games against the Ducks and almost blew a 3-1 lead versus the Blackhawks.

Everytime the opposition was able to use their speed, it gave the Kings trouble. Yes the Kings deserve to be here, but after struggling to close out opponents why are they such enormous favorites? Simple, other than the Bruins or Penguins, the West was decided as better than anyone else in the East before the puck was dropped this season.

The bias is so ridiculous that yesterday, the LA Kings were fielding questions about which LA Kings team would win if they faced each other! That’s right, the 2012 Cup winning team or the 2014 Kings team that hasn’t won anything! Excuse Me!!! Fantasy Hockey Talk!!!

Better yet, the Kings answered the question:

So Dustin Brown and the Kings have already made history without even winning a single game against the Rangers. Meanwhile, the Rangers have taken the underdog tag and planted it proudly to their chests. Here is what they were saying on Media Day:  

Alain Vigneault was very complimentary of the Kings and he knows the Rangers are the underdogs. But what many experts have discounted is that the Rangers head coach knows the West very well. He’s coached against these Kings for years and has a leg up. Maybe, now more than ever we will see the ultimate importance in hiring AV from the Canucks.

So tonight, the Rangers will put the noise aside. Their singular focus will be to neutralize the Kings size by boxing them to the outside, closing the gaps in the neutral zone and moving pucks quickly.

On offense the Rangers will mix it up with some dump and chase so they can hit and wear down the Kings defense who have played 1306 minutes this postseason. The Blueshirts will also use their speed to create scoring chances.

Speed…enough to burn! Let’s Go Rangers!

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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