by Patrick Hoffman on 04/13/11 at 10:00 AM ET
That’s right folks. The New York Rangers are in the playoffs and tonight is Game 1 between the Blueshirts and the No. 1 seed Washington Capitals.
The Blueshirts are back in the postseason for the first time in two seasons, when, you guessed it, they were knocked out of the first round in seven games by the Washington Capitals. Is this series about revenge?
The answer to that question is no. For the Rangers, this series is about playing to what their identity says there are, which is a hard working hockey club that never gives up.
To get off to a good start in this series, they will need their hard work and resilient style in what will be an extremely loud Verizon Center. For the past couple of seasons, the Washington Capitals have been one of the best teams on home ice (25 victories this season) and their fans can really help in big games.
Luckily, the Blueshirts were one of the best teams on the road this season, in winning 24 games. The reason why there were so successful is because they did their jobs. The team put pucks on net, played with discipline, played smart defensively and were able to take the crowd out of the game, something that opposing teams were able to do to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden this season.
For the Rangers, tonight will be about setting the tone for rest of the series. Guys like Marian Gaborik, Brandon Dubinsky, Vinny Prospal, Derek Stepan (appearing in his first Stanley Cup Playoffs), Brian Boyle, Artem Anisimov, Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, and of course, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will all have to raise their games and never look back.
The Rangers were in this position two seasons ago but things are different now. Their coach, John Tortorella, knows his team’s strengths and weaknesses and the team is no longer a pushover.
Fasten your seat belts folks because it is going to be a great series. Luckily for the fans, it starts tonight.
Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
Tags: artem+anisimov, brandon+dubinsky, brian+boyle, dan+girardi, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, marc+staal, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, vinny+prospal, washington+capitals
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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.