The New York Rangers have accomplished many feats throughout the 2012 postseason, but they have yet to win a Game 2 in either of their previous two series against the Ottawa Senators and Washington Capitals. Both of which, by the way, came after taking Game 1 at Madison Square Garden, only to let the momentum slip two nights later when they hit the ice again.
Since the Rangers have already partook in 15 playoff games with tonight's being number 16, despite head coach John Tortorella claiming that the squad will never grow tired, they will want to limit the number of games played here in round three if they want a shot at taking home the Stanley Cup in the fourth and final round in early June.
Now they certainly do not want to get ahead of themselves here and begin to look forward to the Finals, because there still is a very talented hockey club standing in their way at the moment. The New Jersey Devils will not go down without a fight, and just like the previous two opponents, will give the Blueshirts a run for their money.
Still, though, the Rangers will want to knock off their cross-river rivals as quickly as possible, and after taking Game 1 on Monday, 3-0, a win in Game 2 tonight would do them wonders. Again, the Rangers have yet to win the second game of any series in these playoffs, and each series so far has reached seven games. Would either series have lasted as long had New York taken the first two games back-to-back? It's debatable, but I am willing to bet 'no'.
The Devils would be in dire trouble if the Rangers win again tonight. As we've seen in the past, the Prudential Center in the playoffs is basically the Rangers' second home arena, so home ice advantage, at least for the Devils, is not much of a factor other than line changes and getting match-ups, something Tortorella and Sullivan manage to do well on the road anyway. While I do not think the Rangers would be able to sweep the Devils with four straight wins in this series, grabbing a a 2-0 lead tonight could potentially set the Rangers up to end this thing in 5 or 6 games, especially since they normally perform very well in afternoon affairs (Saturday's Game 3 is at 1 p.m.).
Again, there's no point in jumping the gun here and building false confidence as a result. However, it would be nice, for a change, to see the Rangers take a commanding lead in a series, no? It would make reaching their ultimate goal that much easier of a process.
Meanwhile, here's probably the best Rangers pump-up playoff video I've seen yet: