Game Three of the Eastern Conference Final gave me hope that the Rangers would have learned from the Game Two blistering that they suffered in New York. Now in Tampa Bay they have to compete not only with the Lightning but with the crowd and I wonder if at times they let the crowd and the moment get to them.
It does need to be said that the Rangers did manage to come back and tie the game when they were down and out. But overtime sucked the life right out of it all.
With that in mind I present these thoughts of what I’d do to battle back:
1. Get Marty St. Louis away from the power play and maybe the ice until he can show me where the net is. I’m not sure he has that covered yet. Yes he’s a hall of fame player and a great guy but at some point the skill set runs out and we may be seeing it.
2. Tell Chris Kreider to stop running around with his hair on fire. Did he have to run over Dan Girardi? Calm down son, I know that you took a hit moments before but focus your aggression. I mean, come on, you should know that by now.
3. Can someone please stop letting the Lightning come full steam through the middle of the zone? I know I’m old and all but the defense or even a couple of forwards can backcheck these guys right on their butts. The winning goal, zoom right through the middle. Keep giving up ground and you’ll lose the fight.
4. Speaking of losing the fight, the Rangers got away with being clumsy and sloppy in the last two rounds because of their speed but Tampa’s quickness is making them pay. The Rangers are going to have to commit to leaving someone back at all times to combat that or else it will be a third straight six goal night.
5. If you don’t want a six goal night, there are these guys, and back in my day they used to bring the, out to change the momentum. You never see them anymore and I don’t know why, but when you don’t want someone to push you around, AHEM New York are you listening.? Call on one of your guys to push and shove and make it ugly. Obviously Tampa wants to push the tempo even faster so make them play even slower, but bring in a big boy or two, why not? Coaching is all about changing things up when you have to, old time hockey, Eddie Shore!
6. Please tell Rick Nash to park himself in front of Bishop. Again back in my day they got the biggest guy to stand in front of the goalie on the power play or during the game and screen him. Do they still screen goalies anymore? Damn I feel old. Take a big shot from the point and have Nash waive his arms or something in front of Bishop, have him sing a song or read him a book whatever it takes to distract but Nash is such a big body, he’s one of the few big bodies the Rangers have. Again they are going up against a basketball team and Nash is one of the few who can compete.
7. Someone please please give Lundqvist a little help on the back end. Some of these goals, an easy pass across the crease or a break away because of a crappy turnover, a guy alone because no one picked him up on D. The breakdown of the defense is a killer. I thought this defense was supposed to be the best? And where the hell is the captain? He should be screaming at guys! Hell I’m screaming at them here.
8. It’s time for Coach to shake it up. Enough is enough. Tampa right now is the better team. I believe if they win the next game they’ll take the series. I think New York was on the brink of stealing this game until Lundqvist had a breakdown himself and let in that goal. It seems like everyone is out of sorts. I think it’s time to give them a day away from the rink. When they come back there will be line changes. There will be a mentality change. No more pushed around. No more Stamkos bulldozing Hayes. Right away it ends. That is the way we change it. You can’t play it their way anymore.
Lightning did strike twice for six goals in two games no that is unacceptable plain and simple. It has to be changed and quickly. Sticking to the plain will only get New York run out of the building in Game Four. I think it’s time to make some drastic changes, bring a little Reggie Dunlop, a little Eric Lindros, a little Mark Messier and a little Mike Keenan to the team. Smart, tough-nosed, brutal and at times fight if you have to but no more intimidation. Give it right back. They ran over the Rangers in the Garden it’s time to bloody their noses on their turf.