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PHT Morning Skate: Rangers hope home ice helps in Game 3

Jun 9, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT

Mats Zuccarello, Benoit Pouliot AP

It may not seem like it’s time to call Game 3 a “must-win” game for the New York Rangers, but that’s the situation they’re in tonight at home.

After the Los Angeles Kings fought back in Games 1 and 2 to win in overtime in each game, the Rangers are back at home in Madison Square Garden for the first Stanley Cup Final game there in 20 years. They’ll have the crowd whipped into a fury just because that’s how it goes, and they’ll need that support to make sure they can strike back in a series where they’ve let things slip away.

Game 3: New York Rangers vs. Los Angeles Kings [Los Angeles leads series 2-0] (8:00 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

The Cup Final has to be frustrating for the Rangers. They’re the only team that’s held a lead in either game, they’ve held multiple two-goal leads (one in Game 1, two in Game 2) and yet they sit down 2-0 in the series.

They may be down, but they’re not far from making this series a lot more interesting. Henrik Lundqvist has played strong, their third line of Benoit Pouliot-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello looked dangerous in Game 2, and the “A” game coach Alain Vigneault said was missing in Game 1 was there on Saturday night.

One thing the Rangers will need to get figured out is stronger play from the blue line. Dan Girardi has struggled and Marc Staal has to a degree as well. Despite the points from Ryan McDonagh and steady play of Anton Stralman, the Kings are still getting a lot of chances.

If the Kings are going to be up 3-0 after tonight it’s going to be because they’ve cut down on the turnovers. So many of the Rangers chances are occurring because L.A. is forking the puck over and no one has been absolved of that. Everyone from Drew Doughty through Anze Kopitar have had blunders. If those get corrected tonight, it could be a tough game for the Rangers.

What to look for: Whether or not Matt Greene stays in the Kings lineup. Greene had a rough Game 2 as he coughed the puck up at inopportune moments and was getting routinely skated by Rangers forwards. His play there might be enough to inspire Darryl Sutter to get Robyn Regehr back in the lineup.

  1. polishblue - Jun 9, 2014 at 8:54 AM

    as a rangers fan, you have to believe. other than the 3rd period of game 1, NYR have outplayed LAK. obviously, great teams find ways to win and LAK have done that. NYR can turn the tide today…and i’ll be there to cheer them on at what is now the biggest game in ny hockey in the last 20 years…and trust me, i don’t think LA has played in the type of environment they will experience tonight. No disrespect to CHI and the other two Cali teams, but MSG is another monster and something special to be a part of

    • patthehockeyfan - Jun 9, 2014 at 9:25 AM

      Kings’ fan here. I enjoyed your comment – full of enthusiasm.

      I was in Chicago for games 5 and 7 of the WCFs. It was pretty loud there, and it will be interesting to see and hear MSG tonight.

      Can’t wish you and the Rangers luck; but, I hope you see a great game at there tonight.

    • dropthepuckeh - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:16 AM

      I beg to differ. I don’t think MSg will be nearly as loud as Chicago or Montreal is on a consistent basis. Most of the people in MSG tonight will be bandwagon fans who can afford the tickets, not die-hard Rags fans who live and die with the team. It will be financial types, celebrities and and corporate clowns who will be leaving their seats before the period ends and returning after the next period has started. Their hands will be too full of food/drinks/ souvenirs to clap much and half of them won’t even understand icing. A lot season ticket holders selling their seats to cash in on crazy prices. Not trying to be controversial just pointing out the obvious….

      • patthehockeyfan - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:32 AM

        My goodness! You’re an optimistic, pleasant person!

        Is it so hard just to catch the enthusiasm of the Finals without trashing something?

        Who really cares whether real or imagined fans attend the MSG games? Besides, you write that “a lot of season ticket holders selling their seats to cash in on crazy prices.” Are those the same ‘die-hard Rags fans’ you mentioned earlier in your post, and imply that they won’t (or, aren’t able to) attend?

        Just get with the program. It’s the Finals! Both teams are playing balls-to-the-wall hockey, and providing a so-far memorable series.

      • dropthepuckeh - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:42 AM

        Pat – its called reality. I love the games regardless I just don’t believe in the “MSG is going to be insane” theory just because its MSG.

        To answer your question, yes, they are the same. When offered thousand of dollars for one seat to one playoff game, even the most die hard fan will give in. Look at the ticket resellers and do the math.

        Sorry to rain on your program, the hockey is still great….

      • jkay1818 - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:47 AM

        drop the puck, it’s interesting, even ranger fans are complaining how a normal family can’t go, and it will be all white collared people.
        I’M a season ticket holder, IM definitely not selling my tickets for 3,4 and potentially six. If you reup for next yr which i did, you save on the tax. For my seats, 180 is very reasonable and who knows when they will return to the finals, have to go. I am in the same boat as many other season ticket holders.
        The flip side is, if people are spending this insane money on tickets, a part of me has to believe they are die hard or very interested.
        I guess we will see tonight.

  2. jkay1818 - Jun 9, 2014 at 9:37 AM

    despite fans of other teams coming out of the woodwork “the rangers suck” “rangers are terrible” the truth is, everyone was saying how the kings and hawks series would be tough to be beat and was a great series night in and out. So far, the NHL has gotten everything they have bargained for in games 1 and 2. back to back OT’s to start the cup, back to back come from behind wins by LA which they have been doing all postseason.
    As a ranger fan this is absolute torture but IM sure extremely enjoyable for a fan of neither team. I just find it comical after the games people who have no interest in either team pop on at 1am telling everyone how bad the Rangers are. The series is 2-0, could easily be 1-1 or 2-0 for NY. I’M sad at the outcome so far, but, it’s been awesome. Anyone posting on here sh1ting on either team is insane. Both have been awesome this entire postseason.

  3. doknyc - Jun 9, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    jkay,

    fellow ranger fan here, and i completely agree… i think we get a much needed win tonite…

    the only people coming here to talk trash are the ones whose teams have been knocked out…. as much as it hurst to say, both games have been great, and with alittle luck, we can head back to LA tied up and make it a best of three…

    lets go rangers! (clap clap clapclapclap)

    • dropthepuckeh - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:36 AM

      doknyc – its the finals so there are only two teams left which means everyone else has been knocked out. Does that mean nobody can criticize the Rangers unless they are a Rangers or Kings fan? There are some great story lines in the finals and obviously the games have been as close as they can be score-wise but you have to admit it appears the Kings are rolling right now and positioned to win another Cup. I hope NYR can make it a longer series so we have more hockey but it does not look good….

      • doknyc - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:20 PM

        drop,

        there is a huge difference in criticism vs a$$holish-ness… a trait that pens and habs fan have been engaging in for years, if not decades…

        like they say, the series doesnt start til the road team wins one… heres hoping it doesnt start til game 5…

  4. mattzachary2014 - Jun 9, 2014 at 10:15 AM

    The Kings have already proven more than once in these playoffs that they cannot be deterred from their objective. I seriously doubt that a loud MSG will have any effect on them whatsoever,

  5. imgoingtowichita - Jun 9, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    I find it funny when one starts with ‘no disrespect …’ and then continues by typing a statement that can easily be construed as disrespectful.
    Perhaps it’s just me.

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