Rangers must use positives at home
In terms of the New York Rangers in their series with the Los Angeles Kings, one can point out the Rangers' difficulty in holding leads, taking bad penalties, and ill-timed turnovers as negatives that have the Rangers down two games heading back home to Madison Square Garden.
At the other end of the spectrum, however, are a bevy of positives. For starters, the team has given themselves an opportunity to win both hockey games and be up two games rather than down.
Going into this series, it was expected that the Kings would walk all over the Blueshirts. The Kings are bigger, more physical, more experienced and a true Cup contenders in this league.
Even with all of that going against the Rangers, the Rangers have not trailed at any point in this series. In fact, the Rangers have been up by two goals a few times in this series already and even though they could not hold any of their leads, they were still up on a team that is better than them.
Secondly, the Rangers' offense has found ways to put the puck in the net and exploit the Kings' rather suspect defense in this year's postseason. The Rangers have scored a combined eight goals in their two games and should they keep on doing what they are doing with the puck, they will surely score more on home ice in Games 3 and 4.
On offense, guys like Mats Zuccarello, Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard, and even defenseman Ryan McDonagh have all made their presence felt. In last night's 5-4 overtime loss in Game 2, these four combined for seven points and registered a combined eight shots on goal.
Speaking of offense, the Rangers have also made Kings' star goaltender Jonathan Quick look rather ordinary. Sure, Quick has two wins in this series, but in last night's victory, he allowed four goals and had a save percentage of just .895.
These is a very good thing for the Rangers. Quick is known as one of the best goaltenders in the world and so far, the Rangers have found ways to beat him.
Another positive the Rangers need to take into tomorrow night's Game 3 is the fact that this series could easily be 2-0 Blueshirts. They have played well offensively and have put the puck in the net, but because of ill-timed turnovers and bad penalties, they find themselves down two games.
For the Rangers, these errors are easily fixable. Sure, it's easier said than done, but it is a matter of playing disciplined and being more careful with the puck.
Yes, things certainly look bleak for the Rangers as they head home. Not only is the team down two games to nothing, but their opponent has shown to be extremely resilient and is one that is more than playoff tested.
With that said, however, the Rangers have shown that they can more than just play with the Kings. If the Blueshirts take the above mentioned positives and cut down on the turnovers and penalites in the next two games, there is no reason why the Rangers could not head back to Los Angeles for a Game 5 with the series tied at two games apiece.