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Rangers Look To Go Up 2-0

After a 3-0 win over their cross-river rivals on Monday, the Rangers head into Wednesday’s game looking to keep home ice and go up 2-0 in this best of seven. @JoeBianchino

Paul Bereswill, Getty Images

Three goals.  Three goals?!  THREE GOALS?!  Who are these guys?!  It was a marvelous night from Madison Square Garden on Monday, and Ranger fans will certainly have welcomed a final thirty seconds of regulation in which the issue wasn’t in doubt.  Indeed, while Blueshirt faithful everywhere may not have relaxed when, while clinging to a one goal lead, Chris Kreider added a goal to the assist he had already collected that night, but they surely breathed an over-zealous sigh of relief when, instead of watching that lead halved before the celebratory music had stopped – as they did in game seven against the Caps – they held the two goal advantage and added to it with an empty-netter for the 3-0 win.

To be honest, however, the result is in no way indicative of how closely the game was played.  If not for a Herculean effort from Lundqvist, the Rangers may very well have entered the third period down two or three goals rather than level at nils.  The uber-suave Swede was called upon time and again while the Ranger defense suffered early struggles with the ferocity of the Devil forecheck, and aggression of their penalty kill.  The Blueshirt defense will need to find a more effective way of dealing with this pressure – c’mon, there must be a better strategy than “Throw it into a Devil for him to put on goal.”  Looking at you, Girardi.

Surely, such a goal will be a main talking-point as the Rangers prepare for game two.  There won’t be much more the Rangers will need to discuss, however, as there doesn’t figure to be a whole hell of a lot the Blueshirts could improve upon.  Another effort like the one they gave on Monday, and the Rangers will likely walk away the winners of what figures to be another close, tight contest.

A game two win would represent the hefty blow the team was unable to deal both the Senators and Capitals – each of whom won game two after losing the first.  With any luck, the Rangers will have learned from the first two series and come out swinging Wednesday night.  Win or lose, however, with the similar styles both teams play, and their familiarity with each other – and though it was brilliant to not have to live and die with the last ten seconds of a game – we are likely in for yet another white-knuckled series.

A prospect that shouldn’t worry Ranger fans.

It’s what the team has been all season.  They’ve rarely won big, and always battled – with a grit and toughness not many can rival – through whatever obstacles have been presented them.  For my own cardiac function, however, let’s hope the Rangers can ease my nerves – at least temporarily – with a win in game two.  Either way, Madison Square Garden will be rocking and it’s sure to be a hell of a spectacle when these teams take the ice.  And when they do, remember one thing, fellow Blueshirt faithful:  Believe.

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