Just like that the New York Rangers have gotten their fans off the edge of the cliff and have returned to normalcy with a 2-1 win over the Penguins in Game 3. While yes, I was terrified of potentially dropping Game 3 to the 8th seeded Penguins and making things really hard for themselves, I was never really THAT concerned about Game 3.
There were a lot of things going in the Rangers favor going into game 3. Henrik Lundqvist wasn’t good in Game 2 but wasn’t bad either. If you look back over the last few years, pretty much every series the Rangers have won Lundqvist has had a bad game and every single time he’s bounced back to play great in the next one. Sure Sidney Crosby had a “big” game in Game 2 by potting a couple of goals, but those were more from being in the right place and the Rangers just playing really lazy defense against him. At no point did it feel like Crosby was dominating and the Rangers couldn’t stop him. Factor in the Rangers haven’t won a home Game 2 since 1994, never in a million years did I think the Rangers were going to win that game.
All the Rangers needed to do was go back to playing their game and they’d take of business and that’s exactly what they did.
Now the focus turns to Game 4 and that’s where things get dicey. Please for the love of god could the Rangers make things easy on themselves and put together a decent performance in back to back games. It sounds simple but it never is with this team. Other then last season vs. Montreal you have to go back to 2009 for the last time the Rangers won a Game 4 when they had a lead in the series. 2009! That win put the Rangers up 3-1 over the Caps and that series didn’t exactly turn out well.
My biggest complaint over the Rangers since 2012 is their lack of a killer instinct. They come out looking unbeatable to start the series, then drop Game 2, do it again in Game 3, then lose Game 4. They just never seem to be able to step on the opposing team when the opposing team is down. Go out there and put together back to back dominant games and grab a stranglehold on the series!