When you fall down two games to none early in a playoff series, every game thereafter is a must win game. The New York Rangers were able to take game three, but now with the series at 2-1 Senators, whoever wins game four should win the series.
The New York Rangers had one mission going into yesterday’s game; push the pace.
They were able to do that early and often, as they played their best period of the season in the first. The Rangers outshot the Senators 15-5 in the period and didn’t allow Ottawa to get any sort of sustained offensive zone time.
The Rangers went on to win the game 4-1 and now have won three straight playoff games at the Garden. This is a good sign for the team, as they will need to win their home games to make a run in this series.
Which leads me to the point of this article.
Every playoff game should be played like it’s a must-win, but game four is going to prove to be the most important match of the series.
Game four can swing this series to 3-1 Senators if they are able to win, or the Rangers could tie it at two. The difference between those two scenarios is huge.
If the Rangers are able to tie it up, they will need to just win two of three games for the series. If the Senators win, the Rangers need to win out. That’s a really tall task against a Senators team that matches up pretty well against them.
The Rangers took the momentum from the Senators in game three and will need to build on it on Thursday.
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The fact that the Senators may be without Zach Smith–who apparently nobody on his team likes, according to Tanner Glass–and Bobby Ryan in game four could be huge. Bobby Ryan has been great in these playoffs so far. He has four goals and four assists already this postseason. If the Cherry Hill, New Jersey native misses any time, that could really hurt the Senators.
With that said, though, this is the playoffs, so if he can skate and shoot, he is gonna be out there.
The Rangers should have the same lineup out there in game four, which is okay if Alain Vigneault deploys the third pairing the way he did on Tuesday night. Marc Staal played 16:17 and Nick Holden played 14:29. It is worth noting that the Rangers were leading pretty comfortably at this point. It will be interesting to see how Vigneault deploys them going forward in a closer affair.
Marc Staal played 16:17 and Nick Holden played 14:29. It is worth noting that the Rangers were leading pretty comfortably at this point. It will be interesting to see how Vigneault deploys them going forward in a closer affair.
At the end of the day, though, if the Rangers come out Thursday night the same way they came out Tuesday night, this series is going to go back to Ottawa, tied.
And they will need too, since it’s the most important game of the series.