How far will the Rangers get this season?

Which Way Will The Momentum Swing In Game Four?

Bruce Boudreau has not been shy with the media since the end of Game Three

Bruce Boudreau has not been shy with the media since the end of Game Three

Tomorrow night the Rangers have a chance to even their first round series with the Washington Capitals at two games apiece in front of what’s sure to be a raucous crowd at Madison Square Garden.

Since Washington’s Game Three loss, Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau has made several critical public statements about the Rangers organization and MSG.  Boudreau feels that the Rangers are attempting to target Mike Green’s head and he also made several comments about being unimpressed with the facilities at The Garden and about the crowd.  John Tortorella responded to Boudreau’s comments about Green today and said he didn’t think the officials would “be influenced by all the whining going on.” Meanwhile, Rangers fans have been up in arms about Boudreau’s critiques about New York’s home crowd.  The result will likely be the loudest game of the season at MSG tomorrow night.

Boudreau’s actions can be viewed a couple different ways.  On the one hand, he’s been very outspoken and has therefore drawn much of the attention upon himself and away from his team.  That’s an age old coaching tactic, and for a Capitals squad that seems to wilt under pressure in the playoffs annually, it might be a wise move.  However, Boudreau has also clearly alienated Rangers fans and Tortorella, and likely the players as well.  With Washington winning the series, it might not have been the wisest move to make a Game Four road game into an even more hostile environment.

That’s the major off-ice subplot for Game Four, but there’s also plenty to talk about with the on-ice game itself.

The Rangers finally put a few goals on the board on Sunday and snapped an ugly scoreless streak on the power play to boot.  To win against Washington, the Blueshirts will have to build on their mini offensive explosion.  They may be well positioned to do that given Washington’s track record of collapsing during the postseason.  In Game Three, the Capitals didn’t play nearly as strong defensively or as aggressively as they did in the first two games of the series.  Additionally, goalie Michal Neuvirth was finally made uncomfortable and may not be quite as sure of himself as he was a few days ago.  If New York can score an early goal tomorrow night, the Rangers may be able to put some real doubt in Neuvirth and the rest of the Capitals’ minds.

The Capitals would be best to forget Game Three.  Nobody expected them to sweep the Rangers, and a one-game hiccup doesn’t change the fact that Washington is in control of the series.  The Caps must be prepared to play as hard and responsibly as they did in the first two games, as the Rangers showed an inability to generate any offense or stop Washington’s big guns when the Caps were on their game.  The Capitals must come out hard and prove to themselves that this year is different and that they are poised to make a deep run in the playoffs.  They cannot let the Rangers outwork them and make them further doubt their situation.

Game Four will be a gigantic momentum game for this series.  If Washington goes up 3-1 on The Garden ice after all Boudreau’s comments, the Rangers will be in a deep hole heading back to Washington for Game 5 on Saturday.  If the Blueshirts win their second in a row, they’ll steal back the upper hand in the series and Washington will begin to feel a tremendous amount of pressure.  It should be a good one.

Posted by Kevin Baumer | April 19, 2011 at 02:58 pm

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New York Rangers VS Chicago Blackhawks
Wednesday, October 7, 2015

  1 2 3 OT F
Rangers 3 0 0 - 3
Blackhawks 1 1 0 - 2

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