It was all smiles for the New York Rangers as they dominated the Ottawa Senators 4-1 to cut the series lead to 2 games to 1 in favor of the Sens. From the minute the puck dropped, the Blueshirts attacked and didn’t look back. They fired off 15 first period shots while Henrik Lundqvist barely broke a sweat by stopping just five. Each line for the Rangers contributed and showed incredible effort for sixty minutes.
Mats Zuccarello got the scoring started on a beautiful feed from line mate Mika Zibanejad. That line put together along with Chris Kreider were flying and created numerous chances. Michael Grabner, Rick Nash and Oscar Lindberg all had goals tonight. The first career playoff goal for Lindberg. Each of the players to score were all on different lines so all four Rangers lines notched a goal.
The Garden was electric and the Rangers needed that to feed off of and that is exactly what they did. With a few alumni in the crowd (Alexei Kovalev and Mark Messier) the Rangers put on a show, something they need to carry over now to game four to tie the series and swing the momentum.
Derek Stepan, one of the Rangers who have struggled in these playoffs has been vocal about that but also felt confident in this team as they were able to bounce back off a brutal double overtime loss on Saturday. He went on to talk about tonight’s game by saying, “We always talk about our starts being key. I really did like what we did in Ottawa; we just came out on the wrong end of it. We knew that tonight was a big game to get the series back to 2-1. “We always talk about adjustments through a series, and every series is no different. You have to make your adjustments and clean up things that you feel you can do better in the next one. We’ll do the next thing after this game. We’ll look to figure out what we did and how we had success and what we did that didn’t give us success. We’ll clean that up and get ourselves ready for game 4.”
One can say how amazing it was to see such a performance from the Rangers and wonder how they can be down in this series but that’s hockey sometimes. It also shows the resiliency in a team that come off an emotional loss. That has been something we can’t discredit the Rangers for because they have shown they have been able to do not just in the playoffs but even in the regular season.
The Rangers have a lot to be proud of from this game but knowing them and their coaches there is always room for improvement and adjustments. They gave the Sens all sorts of problems and they need to repeat the same performance and effort for Thursday night in game 4. Their penalty kill was 3-for-3 but could not score on a power play and that has been their Achilles heel this post season. They will practice tomorrow and game four will be Thursday at 7:30pm. If the Rangers show this effort again they swing this series and become a favorite to win.