Well here we are. The final 6 hours before New York Ranger nation is plunged deep into playoff fever. As the Rangers prepare to take on the Capitals in Washington for games 1 and 2, the fans are looking to their various God’s and wondering how the Rangers will overcome not having home ice advantage.
Sometimes home ice advantage isn’t the best thing. Yes, playing in another opponents building is intimidating and often puts pressure on the away team because they are usually overwhelmed by the noise and hostility. But there is just as much pressure on the home team as the away team. Think about it. The Capitals need to win they just have to. No room for mistakes, they don’t want to come back to New York with anything other than a 2-0 series lead. Their fans, just like ours, would accept nothing less. So if the Rangers could find a way to win one of those two games on the road, wouldn’t that put just as much pressure on the Capitals. I mean the Rangers are the 7th seed after all, they should get crushed … right?
We all saw what could happen if the away team pulls ahead in the playoffs. Remember two years ago when the Rangers took both games in Atlanta? Even after game one when the Ranger won 4-3 Atlanta was heartbroken, put a lot of unnecessary pressure on themselves, made mistakes; and in the end lost the series 4-0. The Rangers can do that to the Capitals, the Capitals cannot do that to the Rangers. Well at least not in the first two games of the series.
Basically what I’m saying is this. If the Rangers come out and play good road hockey, limit the penalties, keep up the fore-checking on a weak Capitals D, and shoot the *$%#@ puck; they can put massive pressure on the Caps. I mean at the end of the day we are the 7th seed. We have nothing to prove, in the eyes of every other NHL fan base, the Capitals on the other hand do.
So enjoy these last few hours before you watch you T.V with such intensity that your eyes melt out. And remember, one game doesn’t change the series; so dont get discouraged!! This is a new look Ranger team, and with that new look comes new confidence. Lundqvist is going to have to be great, there is no question about that, but we all know that he usually is.
End of the line folks. No more excuses, no more reasons not to play solid hockey. Wade Redden, Michael Rozsival, Nik Zherdev, Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, all better wake up ready to play some hockey.
Remember it’s a clean slate and a new season. And with that new season comes new success.