“Rested” Rangers Get Set For Game 2

Crosby battles for the loose puck against Anton Stralman and Marc Staal (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

Crosby battles for the loose puck against Anton Stralman and Marc Staal (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

Alain Vigneault used his head and gave the Rangers a day off from practice yesterday. It wasn’t a full day off as the team did their video sessions in the hotel as preparation for a pivotal game 2 tonight.

A win in Pittsburgh on the front end of a back to back, would be huge. How big, is very difficult to put into words. Considering the quick turnaround with game 3 in NY on Monday night, this represents an incredible opportunity for the Rangers.

The Rangers have never been able to show a “killer instinct” in the playoffs. Henrik Lundqvist has had trouble stringing wins together in a series. If they could find a way to steal two games in Pittsburgh from the heavily favored Penguins, a short series is possible.

In order to do so, the Blueshirts can’t have another lapse like they did in the 2nd period of game 1. This needs to be a complete 60 minute effort. Another key, is the continuous rolling of four lines. Larry Brooks caught up with Alain Vigneault yesterday and wrote in his NY POST column:

“I think if you look at the teams that have had success and have won the Cup since the [2004-05] lockout, you see those teams have had depth and have been able to play their depth,” Vigneault said Saturday.

“From personal experience, I know when we [the Canucks] lost the Cup to Boston, Boston was a four-line team — probably the best fourth line, I felt, in the league,” the coach said, referring to the unit that generally featured Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton. “We didn’t have four lines.

“From that experience, if you can play four lines and manage the minutes, I think you can play at a higher tempo and faster paced game.”

If the Rangers can do all those things and maybe score a power play goal, a 2-0 lead in the series is within reach. That will give the Rangers a great opportunity in game 3, at Madison Square Garden, to show they can be KILLERS.

FULLTILT FORECAST: Penguins find a way, with referee help to even this series. 4-3 Penguins (I WANT TO BE WRONG!)

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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