BATTLE OF THE HUDSON
Rangers Lead Series 2-1
I - NJD 3; NYR 1
II - NYR 3; NJD 2
III - NYR 4; NJD 1
IV - Saturday
NEW YORK RANGERS - Win Over Devils Gives Blueshirts Three Point Lead Over Winnipeg Jets For Eighth Seed.
I was there Sunday. There was no revenge factor for me - just winning. Regardless, MAAR-TY! was the anthem of the night. And it was fun. Sunday's chant started a little earlier than most, thirty-four seconds into the game actually. That's when Captain Callahan put the Rangers on the board, and sent the Blueshirts on their way.
The game was a bit unusual to watch as Rangers/Devils clashes go. Neither team seemed to play with any aggression to speak of, towards each other. It was more like a - Pardon me, Excuse me type of game. In fact, Coach DeBoer was the most agitated person in the Garden last night. And for good reason. His Devils were in the midst of being eliminated from this year's playoff race, and going down without a fight. If you remember, by this time last year, Coach DeBoer and Coach Torts were already exchanging slings and arrows. This year, Sunday, Coach DeBoer vented on the stripes for good reasons, team motivating reasons, and no reason at all. It's all he had left. SEASON'S OVER! SEASON'S OVER! Coach DeBoer was reminded over and over by the crowd. Not so much for him, but for me, there was a great atmosphere at the Garden, in an otherwise conflicting season. The Rangers now have three games left to secure this eighth seed, or, their season will be over as well.
Tex's Rangers have now scored eighteen goals in the last three games. Last night, the Captain scored the first and last goal of the day. Derek Stepan continued his strong season with a first period goal, his sixteenth, and Taylor Pyatt added his fifth.
Henrik Lundqvist has started the last eleven games in a row, and twenty of the last twenty-one Rangers games. The Blueshirts next game is Tuesday, against the Panthers in Florida. Even though every point is critical right now, Coach Torts might want to consider giving Henrik the night off. It would figure to be Henrik's last game off for whatever run the Rangers can muster. Marty Biron made three starts in February. He made his next start on March 10th, then his last start came on March 30th. Henrik started forty games this season, Biron, six. Henrik currently owns a 2.08 GAA, and a .927 save percentage. Giving Lundqvist Tuesday's game off is a risk, but one worth taking. The Winnipeg Jets are currently three points behind the Rangers, in ninth place with forty-nine points. After Florida, the Rangers play in Carolina, and wrap up the regular season against the Devils again. IF...Biron gets the start in Florida, and wins, I would give him another start in Carolina, before saddling up Henrik for a potentially, long bumpy ride through the conference. What say you?