by Patrick Hoffman on 04/14/12 at 10:00 AM ET
Given the way that they played Game 1, the New York Rangers have every reason to come into tonight’s Game 2 with the Ottawa Senators in a very cocky manner.
However, that would not be this year’s team style. Throughout the regular season, the Blueshirts never let themselves get too high or too low and because of that attitude, it allowed them to stay focused on the task at hand.
Tonight’s task for the Rangers will be to play the same exact way they did in Game 1. This means getting good goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist, getting big goals from their goal scorers in Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, Ryan Callahan, getting secondary offense from their depth players and playing disciplined.
On the other hand, there are some things that the Rangers could probably do better in tonight’s game. For starters, they need to generate more scoring opportunities on the power play. As most Rangers’ fans know, the team’s power play was inconsistent (that might be an understatement) throughout the regular season and often killed any momentum that they had until they started to click down the stretch. Special teams play is crucial in the postseason so the Rangers need to take advantage of any such chances they get this playoff season.
Secondly, the team needs to try and erase the lulls in their game. In Game 1, there was a 10-minute or so stretch in the second period where the Senators controlled every facet of the game, which changed when Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella called timeout.
Other than that, the Blueshirts need to stick to their game plan, get in front of Senators’ netminder Craig Anderson, and do what they need to do to win the hockey game. While having a 2-0 series lead means nothing in the “new” NHL, it could mean a lot to the Rangers’ confidence going into Ottawa for Games 3 and 4.
If the team plays like they did in Game 1, going into Ottawa up two games to none should not be a problem.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.