It seems fairly ridiculous now that at earlier junctures this season I referred to meager mid-winter games as “must win” for the Rangers. I did it against the Toronto Maple Leafs as early as late January. I probably did it against Tampa Bay a couple of days later.
The Rangers ended up losing both of those games, of course, and are still alive to talk about it. And yet I doubt I’m breaking news when I say I don’t think they have that luxury today, when they can either pull themselves back into this series against the Sabres, or dig themelves into a 3-0 hole.
“It’s all about winning this game and it sets up a whole new set of circumstances for everybody—not only for us, but for our opponent,” Tom Renney said. “And that’s what this game is about: backing your opponent off and maybe leaving them with some uncertainty. And that’s what today is all about.
“I said to the guys, ‘We might have momentum right now, don’t underestimate that. We played a good game in Buffalo we made some mistakes, there are other areas of our game that we can sort of camouflage that we played real well, but me, I do believe we have some momentum based on and we have to identify wih that. It’s no prisoners. Go.”
“We seem to be able to spend a little bit more time controlling pucks on the walls, in the corners, behind the net,” Renney said. “I like his presence going to the net, those types of things. It’s not like those things were stellar the last game, but it is there in his game. We’ve seen it in the past and we think it creates an advantage for us.”
“We had 30 seconds in the hallway,” Renney said. “This is a veteran NHL player who certainly plays the game better than I ever could. He understands where pucks have to go and what plays are most appropriate….It was a tough play. It was one of those things where you see the play and make it. Harry thought this and was close. Close against the Buffalo Sabres isn’t going to beat them.”
OK, more later. Josh and I are both here, so we’ll try to fire up another podcast post-game.