2012 NHL Playoffs: Rangers Vs. Senators - Momentum On The Line Tonight
The New York Rangers got a huge 1-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Monday, which gave them a 2-1 series advantage. That win has not only shifted the momentum of the series in the Rangers favor, but added a significant amount of pressure to the Senators.
The Rangers did a lot of things right in Game 3. They also did a lot of things wrong. The Senators pretty clearly controlled quite a bit of the play Monday night, and the Rangers needed Henrik Lundqvist to be spectacular in order to preserve the win.
Now the Rangers have a huge opportunity to push the Senators to the brink of elimination with Game 5 looming at Madison Square Garden Saturday.
That is, of course, if the Rangers win tonight. And if they want to win, some things need to change.
Join me after the jump for more.
We can start where we generally start when talking about the Rangers' flaws this year: The power play. The Rangers have gone 1-11 with the man advantage. That simply needs to change, the sooner the better. The power play cost the Rangers Game 2. It didn't make Game 3 any easier either.
John Tortorella has pretty much tried everything to get it going this postseason. He took Derek Stepan off the point, replaced him with Brad Richards who he then replaced with Anton Stralman (who has the Rangers' only power play goal this series).
He's put Brian Boyle (deserved) at the halfboards and, at times, John Mitchell (what?) in front of the net. He's switched who plays on which unit, given Artem Anisimov more power play time and has tried every defenseman but Stu Bickel at the point. Nothing seems to work.
Blindly shooting the puck as the Garden crowd so politely suggests every time the Rangers touch the puck, for the record, is the worst thing they can do. The Rangers need more pick movement and to, yes, shoot when the opportunity presents itself.
The power play needs to get better, it's just does. The Rangers can win it all without a potent power play (they were the best team in the league for most of the year that was) but it won't be easy.
The other side of the Rangers' special teams, on the other hand, has been fantastic. The Rangers' penalty kill has allowed small leads like the 1-0 victory in Game 3 to stand up. That should be a major advantage for the Rangers in this series, but since the power play is so poor it evens the special teams out.
In the end, the Rangers simply need to play their game. It's gotten them this far, now it just needs to get them a little farther.