Now that my head is clear:
There are some similarities between “last year’s Game 1 loss in Buffalo”:http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/2007/04/26/groggy-thoughts-on-another-postcard-buffalo-day/ in the second round, and “last night’s meltdown against the Penguins”:http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080426/SPORTS01/804260385/-1/SPORTS&referrer=NEWSFRONTCAROUSEL. In both instances the Rangers gave up five goals in a rowdy arena, and were preaching more prudent defensive work afterward.
The difference, though, is that while the Rangers seemed slighty dazed and even outclassed in that first loss to the Sabres, Game 1 this time only reinforced the belief that beating the Penguins is fully within the Rangers’ reach.
And let’s not mistake: the Rangers were dreadful last night, with regards to their puck management, in taking too many penalties (legitimate or not), and in allowing the Penguins way too much room to maneuver. And when it comes to Crosby and Co., talk of their quick-strike capability was more than just pre-series bluster.
But even with all that, this was not a tone-setting, wake-up call as much as it was simply a game they could have won — and after taking a 3-0 lead, should have won — and didn’t.
So now it’s Penguins 1, Rangers 0, and at the risk of the obvious, tomorrow becomes huge.
“Our team’s good at turning the page,” Tom Renney said. “This wasn’t our best game by any stretch. We’ll be here Sunday. We’ll be ready to go.”
The Penguins skate at 11:30 and the Rangers go at 1:30. I’ll check in later…