There’s one cliche that I’m getting beyond sick of hearing in this series, “The bounces just aren’t going the Rangers way.”
Enough!!! No more “the bounces will even out” or “we need to create bounces” or “we just need a bounce.”
If the Rangers wait around for a favorable bounce tonight, the only thing that’ll be bounced is them from the Stanley Cup Final.
Thankfully, it sounds as though the Rangers are in agreement…
“You don’t talk about getting bounces,” Brad Richards said yesterday. “It would be nice to have them, but you can’t hope they come.”
Exactly. Sure, all three Kings goals in Game 3 were off of fortunate bounces, but they also put themselves in a position for success. While the first goal nicked of Dan Girardi’s skate, the golden opportunity was generated because the Kings took advantage of a Rangers defensive miscue. Sure, the second goal deflected off of Martin St. Louis’ glove, but Jake Muzzin was smart enough to get the puck towards the net with traffic in front. And yes, Mike Richards was the recipient of a fortunate bounce off Ryan McDonagh before burying the third and final goal, but it was the Kings defense who turned a bad Girardi pinch into an odd man rush the other way.
The last thing the Rangers should be doing is wondering when their bounces will come. What they need to focus on is winning the first shift of the game. And then the second shift. The third and so on. That’s the only chance the Rangers have of climbing out of this almost insurmountable hole.
The way they do that is by getting pucks and players to the net at any cost. They do that with an absolutely relentless forecheck. They do that by using their speed to get pucks deep and generate grade ‘A’ scoring chances. They do that by playing the suffocating, shutdown defense we witnessed in Game 6 against the Canadiens. And they do that by getting the goaltending we’ve come to expect from the greatest goaltender in the word.
They must also get back to the emotional mindset they had in the days after St. Louis’ mother passed away. They need to rediscover the passion, enthusiasm and resiliency that catapulted them out of the 3-1 hole against the Penguins. Their compete level in Game 3 was no where near what it needed to be in a virtual must win Stanley Cup Final game.
If they do all that, they won’t need to worry about bounces, because they’ll have more than enough goals to get this series back to Los Angeles for a Game 5.
And with the anger and disappointment coming out of the Rangers locker room yesterday, I think we’ll see a team motivated to prove they deserve to be one of the two last teams fighting for the Stanley Cup (via ESPN.com).
“I’m not going to lie to you. It’s pretty much impossible to be upbeat.”
“We’re down 3-0. We’re all lacking sleep. This is tough. Excuse us if today we’re not real cheery. But tomorrow, I can tell you we’re going to show up.”
“We don’t want to end our season losing a game at home and give the Stanley Cup to their team. It’s not going to happen that way.”
“We definitely don’t want to get swept in the Stanley Cup finals, and we don’t want to lose in front of our home fans, either. That’s not the way we want to go out.”
…sadly, there’s more emotion in those four quotes than I witnessed in the team’s play Monday night. Some Rangers fans might see what Richards and Vigneault are saying as defeatist, but I like that they’re angry with their current position in the series. They should be devastated. They should be upset. If they didn’t feel this way I’d wonder if they were just content on being here. They honestly feel they should be winning this series and it’s eating away at them. Hopefully they’re able to harness those feelings and use it to their advantage.
…pride is a magical motivator. No way they want to be embarrassed on the national stage. The Rangers have bounced back from sub-par efforts all postseason. They did it after Game 6 in Philadelphia. After Game 4 vs. the Penguins. And Game 5 in Montreal. Count on that trend continuing against the Kings tonight.