The Rangers lost game one to the Ottawa Senators 2-1 on Thursday. It was a poor effort for the Rangers, with one exception, Henrik Lundqvist. Yes, the Senators got lucky on Erik Karlsson’s goal at 4:11 in the third period, but you have to be lucky to win. The Rangers look to rebound today and go back to MSG with the series tied 1-1.
Keys to win:
- Shutting down the Sens power play: The Ottawa Senators have a fantastic power play. Erik Karlsson and Dion Phaneuf man the points while guys like Mike Hoffman, Derick Brassard, and Marc Stone manipulate their way through defenders and make key passes. Ryan Dzingel scored on the powerplay in game one.
- Entering the zone: This seems to be a common theme through out the playoffs so far. Ottawa is a very defensive team. They play the neutral zone trap just like Montreal did. The Rangers cannot make passes into the zone. They have to dump the puck softly in the corner and be physical. The Rangers did not match their physical play shown in the first series against Montreal in game one which was a little disappointing. Don’t be surprised if you see a Rangers team that comes out hitting at the start of the first period of game two.
- Beating Craig Anderson: Craig Anderson has played fantastic in the playoffs so far. The Rangers have to get traffic in front of the net. The only Ranger goal in game one came when the Chris Kreider screened Craig Anderson allowing for Ryan Mcdonagh to place his shot perfectly off the right post.
Ryan Mcdonagh on Ottawa’s defense: “I think it’s two teams that want to have the puck in their hands the most, take care of it when they have it and do as quick a job and as good a job as you can to get the puck back in your hands defending-wise. When you do have it, try and make the most of it. Don’t give it up and try and get some scoring or offensive looks from it.”
“They’re good at frustrating the other team. We’ve got to make sure we stay calm and stick to what we do best.” Mika Zibanejad, the ex-Sen said.
“They clog up the neutral zone and try and frustrate you and not give you too much time. We’re going to try and do the same thing, but we have our game to focus on.”
Marc Staal: “I think if you get a chance to dump it you have to put it in the right spots. It’s a fine line between if there’s a play there to be made, you make it, and if not, fight another day. We’ll see what we come up with and we’ll learn more as the series goes along.”
Sound familiar? Check Keys to win number two.
“If you just start rimming it back to the goalie or just chipping it with nobody coming together, it’s going to be easy breakouts for them all night. I don’t think getting it is the issue, but getting it to where we can come up with it is definitely something we worked on.”
Captain Ryan Mcdonagh concludes:
“We’ll be tested for sure, It’s not going to be perfect getting through to the neutral zone and making it tough on them. We know that simple is probably the best option and one or two passes maybe at the most. Make sure you get it behind them and make sure you’ve got guys going with speed.”
“If we can allow ourselves to play well in our own end and not spend a lot of time there,” he continued, “we can maybe catch them away from their structure in the neutral zone like that.”
Coach Alain Vigneault: “They’re a team like most of the teams in the NHL, have a way they like to play when they don’t have the puck. Each team is a little different. Theirs is really nothing that we haven’t seen. They apply it and apply it well. That’s why – like us right now – we’re down to eight teams.”
Game two is at 3 PM EST. Expect the Rangers to come out physical and play a much better game.
Let’s go Rangers!