Friday, April 4, 2008

Pinch Me! NYR ...THREE, Isles......ZERO!

We clinched it.

The Blueshirts are going to the playoffs for the third year in a row - thanks to the "off/one-again" hustle from our Captain Jaromir Jagr, with the Rangers currently sitting in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with two games in hand. Tonight we will play the second in a row of the Islanders home-and-home, this time at MSG -- so the Garden should be psyched! We dominated play at all times against the Isles, not much more to say about the non-qualifying and ailing AHL NY Islanders. Though, ten shutouts for The King! Bravo! Official recap here.

With the 'anything can happen' playoff race happening over the next three days, it is looking likely that we will be meeting the NJ Devils of Newark in the first round of playoffs. Assuming everyone continues to win games - home ice advantage will come down to our beating the Islanders again tonight and capturing our eighth of eight meeting on Sunday, our final game of the season...against the Devils. With the Rangers 7-0 against New Jersey this season, one would think this is a good thing - unless you've ever played against Marty Brodeur during the playoffs. With the exception of last year, Brodeur is one of the most consistent goaltenders in the league, especially during the playoffs - someone to fear. Home ice advantage with Brodeur in net would be thrilling as we all know how much he hates the Rangers, and even moreso, the fans.

"Hey Marty, your left knee pad is loose..." or "Hey Marty, how many Vezina's does it take to win a game against the Rangers?....." will be heard from every angle, so it will be up to The Dark Ranger and his minions to shake things up a bit. This 'aint no job for Dancing Larry/Grandma -- this is real business, true hockey. Some other things...

Coach Tom Renney needs to allow our players to offensively throw themselves into the Devils defensive system -- let them loose and make the dirty goals. Most of our meetings this season were due to our penetrating their defensive system -- allowing our rookies and sharpshooters to get into the net, get Sean Avery back into Marty's face, shaking them up in their zone, etc. If Renney employs our defensive zone system against the 'king of defensive zone' Devils - then we will be at a disadvantage throughout the first round.

It is time to let loose and play some playoff hockey. Dark lurks above the Garden, ready to take on anyone at the Garden wearing red & white, but let's sweep these Isles and build up a tad more confidence for Sunday.


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