Rangers must learn from the past and find killer instinct
In 2008-09, the Blueshirts lost to the Washington Capitals in seven games. During the 2011-12 postseason, the team beat both the Ottawa Senators (first round) and Washington Capitals (second round) in seven games.
Last season, the Rangers defeated the Capitals in the first round in, you guessed it, seven games. Seeing a pattern here?
When a team plays that many hockey games, especially in the playoffs, it definitely has a negative impact on the hockey club. This was especially the case in the 2012 postseason.
That year, the Rangers had two series go the distance before meeting the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals. On paper and on the ice, the Blueshirts were the better team and played like a team that had it what took to win a Cup.
Unfortunately for the Rangers, that never ended up happening. The Devils won the series in six games and went to the Stanley Cup Final, where they lost in six games to the Los Angeles Kings.
While the Blueshirts managed to win Games 1 and 3 of their series against their Hudson River rival, it was clear that they were tired and that too much of their energy had been spent on two series that went seven games. In the previous two series, the Blueshirts had a few overtime games, blocked a ton of shots, and played a lot of physical hockey,
Last season, the Rangers took the Capitals to seven games and won thanks to shutouts in Games 6 and 7 by Henrik Lundqvist. It was a back and forth series that took a lot out of the Rangers and ultimately, this was something that did them in against their next opponent.
The Rangers drew the task of playing against the Boston Bruins, a team that was bigger, more physical and had more depth than the Blueshirts. The Bruins took advantage of the Rangers' tiredness and won the series in five games.
What does this have to do with the Rangers and their first round series against the Philadelphia Flyers you ask? If you're true Rangers or hockey fan, than you know that it has everything to do with the team's first round match-up and the rest of the playoffs going forward.
The team is up two games to one heading into tomorrow night's Game 4 at the Wells Fargo Center. While the Rangers have been the better team in this series so far, a lot can still happen and the Flyers have a chance to tie up the series by potentially having starting goaltender Steve Mason back between the pipes after his upper body injury.
With that in mind, the Rangers need to learn from their past mistakes and do everything they can to try and finish off the Flyers and make it a short series. Sure, it is easier said than done but should the Rangers accomplish this, it will have a positive impact on the hockey club.
If the Rangers want to go far this postseason, they need to make short work of their opponents. This will help cut down the injuries, will help the players who are hurt heal, and will keep the team refreshed and ready to go for the next round (s).
It is time the Rangers take what they learned from their past playoff experiences and utilize it to their advantage against the Flyers. The team must get a killer instinct and do whatever they can to knock the Flyers out in short order.