Friday, April 24, 2009

Game 5

 The New York Rangers have a chance to finish off their first round series tonight when they visit the Verizon Center in Washington DC to face off against the Caps. However, the Capitals will not go down easy.
 Last season they were down 3-1 to the Philadelphia Flyers and were able to bring it to overtime in Game 7 before their run was halted by the Flyers. There is no doubt that they can do it once again. For the Rangers to win, a couple of things will have to happen:

1. Henrik Lundqvist will have to continue his stellar goaltending.
2. The Rangers need to have more scoring on the board. Simeon Varlamov has played well so far this series. The Rangers need to make life much more difficult for him. 
3. Stay out of the box
4. Sean Avery needs to play a smarter game. He was playing well until the two very bad penalties in Game 4 which almost cost the Rangers the game and the series lead. Avery needs to replicate his play from the last game of the regular season against Philadelphia where he got under the skin of the Flyers simply because of his play and not his mouth.
5. The Rangers need to be physical and take away the time and space of Washington's players. There were times where the Capitals would skate in over the blueline unopposed. The defense needs to be more assertive on the defensive side of things.
6. The power play needs to click. If the Rangers want this game, they may need at least one power play goal...special teams is huge in the playoffs. The PK needs to continue to be strong as well. 
7. Stay out of the box.
8. Last but not least, do not treat this game as a chance to eliminate an opponent but rather an opponent is about to eliminate you. Washington will be pulling out all the stops and the Rangers need to be diligent and pay attention to detail. Make crisp passes and put pucks on net when you get a good opportunity. Defensive positioning will be key to making life hard for Washington and it must continue. The veterans on the team need to be calm and collected and make the younger players feel the same way. 

There isn't much else to say about this game. It will be by no means easy to oust the Caps. All the stats of this series point to the away team having an advantage but that doesn't matter now. Come out strong and just win is what the Rangers should be thinking. 

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