The New York Rangers need to do one thing for game for
against the Montreal Canadiens and that is get their focus back on playing
hockey. Give the Canadiens some credit as their whines and rants in the media
have been a distraction helped to get under the Ranger’s skin.
But the Rangers need to push that stuff aside and get back
to taking control of this playoff series. The very best response to the
nonsense that the Canadiens have been pulling is to meet them in the handshake
line wearing the “Eastern Conference Champions” hats on and sending them to the
When the Rangers have focused themselves on playing hockey
then it is clear that other than PK Subban, the Canadiens defensemen aren’t
able to match up with the speed of the Rangers. Go on the attack and use that
speed as a weapon once again as you will force the Canadiens either to make
mistakes or take penalties.
If what Alain Vigneault says is true then it will be J.T.
Miller inserted into the lineup where he will most likely play on the 4th line. That is not a bad idea as the way Brian Boyle has been playing then it
gives them a player who can finish on that line.
I also like the idea of Dom Moore moving up to replace Derek
Stepan as Moore is turning into the Bobby Sheehan (if you don’t know then you
are too young) for the Rangers. Moore has shown that he can play with anyone in
the Ranger lineup so on a temporary basis he will give that line a spark.
The Rangers if they can focus on playing hockey and ignoring
the mind games will need to go right at the net and force Dustin Tokarski to
deal with screens and the same kind of traffic that Henrik Lundqvist has had to
Most importantly the Rangers quite simply need to play
better as a team without having to have some kind of adversity looming over
them. If the Rangers have any serious dreams about winning the Stanley Cup then
they need to win this series in less than 7 games.
No team has ever won the Stanley Cup when playing the
playoff maximum of games which is 28. Montreal is not as good a team as they
want people to believe they are. They lack team speed, they lack skill once you
get past their top 6 forwards and their defense can’t handle Chris Kreider or
Rick Nash if the Ranger duo decides to get aggressive.
And Alain Vigneault will out-coach, out think and out-smart
the Canadiens Michel Therrien every day of the week. There is no excuse why the
Rangers can’t get past the Canadiens and move on to the Stanley Cup Finals.
It is up to the Rangers to decide which they want; to fall
for the Canadiens whines and efforts to goad the Rangers or ignore them and
just play hockey. The Game 1 win was not a fluke, it is what the Rangers can do
if they focus on hockey and impose their will on the Canadiens.