Naturally lots of talk today about the Rangers’ need to win at least one game on the road since Games 5 and 7 will be in Buffalo.
There are two theories to consider here:
It doesn’t make a lick of difference where they play.
It makes all the difference, and the Rangers will have to somehow overcome a hostile crowd and not having the last change to win at HSBC Arena.
I’m not sure where I stand on this seeing how the Rangers for most of the season were a far better team on the road, to the point that they were faced with an endless string of “Why-aren’t-you-better-at-home” questions.
The difference since then is that they have learned to use the Garden crowd to their advantage, and at times in the two games at the Garden, Tom Renney was able to get Jaromir Jagr away from the Chris Drury line away and from the defensive pair of Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman.
Translation: winning Game 5 will be difficult. Possible, yes. But difficult.
Some other updates:
If there’s a reason you want this season to continue it’s for the ongoing stand-up routine by Jaromir Jagr. Today’s entry: A very optimistically dressed Steve Zipay asks the Rangers captain if he can name a horse in the Kentucky Derby. Jagr replies, “Barbaro.” Then we tell Jagr that Barbaro is actually dead. Jagr responds, “There’s only one horse. It’s me.” Later I asked Jagr about having to win a game in Buffalo to win the series. “And one here,” he said. “It’s easy. Even a caveman can do it.”
Michael Nylander (still fighting the very ominous sounding “flu-like symptoms) missed practice altogether, and Michal Rozsival was only the ice for a few minutes, but both will be fine for tomorrow according to Renney. In Nylander’s absence, Blair Betts filled in on the top line while Jarkko Immonen, recently recalled from Hartford, skated in Betts’ spot. Like I said, the lineup is expected to be the same tomorrow, however.
OK, more later…