Apr. 18, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) is congratulated by center Brad Richards (19) after the game against the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden. Rangers won 6-1. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers Need their “A” Game vs. Bruins

Michael Ivins-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off of what was a big win in Montreal, the New York Rangers had to quickly put the win behind them and look forward to Los Angeles. Going into their second game in as many nights, I was worried about how the Rangers would fare against the Kings. The Kings play a very stingy game, and I feared that the Rangers would be flat in a game where they needed to be on their toes.

My fear came true.

I was at MSG for the game, so I got a first hand look of how the Rangers really played, both on and away from the puck. In my honest opinion, they were slow; they were getting beat to loose pucks; and they were losing battles on the boards all over the ice. Putting that aside, they were in the game for the full sixty minutes. I give credit where credit is due, and the Kings played an excellent road game. Of course, we Ranger fans were beside ourselves that the unlucky bounce off of Anton Stralman’s skate was the difference in this game. All in all, the game is in the past and the Rangers have to look to the task at hand tonight, the Boston Bruins.

What was my biggest fear for the LA game is something the Rangers should use to their advantage tonight. The Bruins (6-3-1 in their last 10) are playing their second game in two nights, coming off a 4-1 win. There are a few keys that I see for the Rangers to pull away a victory tonight.

–                Come out fast and get on the Bruins early

–                Minimize the turnovers

–                Win the special teams battle

Winning the special teams battle may be the difference in tonight’s game. These two teams usually play a very tight, one or two-goal game. It was the difference in the Kings game, where the Rangers failed to capitalize on their power-play opportunities (including those two horrid 5 on 3’s). They were indecisive with the puck, tried to force passes, and simply didn’t shoot the puck enough. To win tonight, they will need a good special teams effort on both sides of the puck.

Rick Nash will be returning to the lineup tonight, which will give the Rangers a huge boost. Me personally, I would like to see him return Thursday vs. Dallas, in what will be a much less physical game. But hey, if he’s ready, get him out there. The Rangers could sure use his scoring threat he brings to the table every night. I’m very curious to where Alain Vigneault will place Nash in the lineup tonight. Good thing I’m not AV, because I’ve been thinking about that all night and I’m still without an answer.

The game tonight should be tight in all three zones, and the Rangers will need an effort for an entire sixty minutes to win tonight. Smart play, good defense and capitalizing at the right times will lead to a Rangers victory tonight.

Lets Go Rangers!

-Anthony DeCicco (@ant_decicco)

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