Rangers need to seize the opportunity … Reminder: Live ECF chat Friday

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Just another of many reminders: We will hold another Live ECF Chat Friday at noon. Be there. Or else.

Here’s my column and notebook from The Journal News and Lohud.com:

By Rick Carpiniello

NEW YORK – This is the big time now for the Rangers. This is the time where you don’t want to let anything slip away, where you can’t afford any crack that might lead to regret.

The Rangers play a game Thursday at the Garden in which, realistically and theoretically, they can afford to lose. But can they? Is this the most dangerous, most pivotal game of the Eastern Conference final?

Two wins away from the Stanley Cup final might as well be two miles.

The opportunity in the Rangers’ collective grasp is immense, maybe the last for many of their players, coaches, front-office people and owner. Maybe the last for some of the fans who have seen one Stanley Cup in 74 years, and none in 20 since that “Now I can Die In Peace” sign went up on June 14, 1994.

It is shocking and surprising that they are here, up 2-0 on the Montreal Canadiens, who have a huge question mark in goal, but it cannot be taken lightly. And it cannot be kicked away.

So the Rangers’ mission is to win Game 3, and not let this become an opportunity lost, not make it a nail-biting, heart-stopper, as they usually do.

“We know we’ve accomplished nothing yet,” said Martin St. Louis, who won a Cup 10 years ago and might never get this chance again.

Brian Boyle, who was, with many of his current teammates, two wins away from the final in 2012, said he had a talk with his fiancee this week, apologizing to her that this is the time for players to be selfish — single-minded, narrow-focused.

He’s right.

Those 2012 Rangers were two wins away. They weren’t up 2-0. It was 2-1 against the Devils, and Henrik Lundqvist had tossed shutouts in both wins. That was it. The Rangers lost Game 4, and it got away from them. They had chances to win Games 5 and 6, but didn’t. And they regretted it.

It’s also not like a 2-0 lead is insurmountable. Los Angeles came back from 0-3 to win a series this season. The Rangers came back from 0-2 to beat Washington last year. And, in fact, the last time they played Montreal, in 1996, they lost the first two at home, as the Canadiens have done here, then won four in a row.

Prior to this spring, 291 times a team trailed 0-2, and 37 succeeded (12.7 percent). It happens.

The Rangers return home, triumphant in five straight playoff games since being booed off the Garden ice in Game 4 against Pittsburgh.

This is an opportunity to grab something special, and to do it at home. The locker room Wednesday was shoulder-to-shoulder in media, many asking the players about the attention, many of those no more hockey-savvy than the radio folks talking hockey for the first time since 2012. Lundqvist said he’s avoiding radio and TV as much as he can.

“You just have to keep reminding yourself how you’ve had success so far and stay in the moment and not get carried away,” Lundqvist said. “Yeah, we’ve got a great start. But that’s all it is. It’s about getting four wins, not two, or three.”

It’s right there in front of them. The big time.Montreal Canadiens v New York Rangers

Twitter: @RangersReport

************************************************

NOTEBOOK: EXPECT BRASSARD TO PLAY GAME 3, TOKARSKI TOO.

NEW YORK – Rangers center Derick Brassard went through a full practice Wednesday at the Garden and is expected to play in Game 3 Thursday. Brassard missed Game 2 with what appeared to be a left shoulder/upper back injury after being hit by Mike Weaver and leaving in the first period of Game 1.

“I feel better,” Brassard said. “I went through the whole practice, so that’s a good sign. I’ve come a long way from a couple of days ago, so we’ll see (Thursday).”

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault smiled, but would only say he’s “day-to-day, that hasn’t changed.”

In Montreal between games, Vigneault said Brassard didn’t want to come out of the lineup, being a local product.

“I was pretty frustrated when it happened,” Brassard said. “When you’re playing a (conference final) like that against Montreal, playing at home there, I was pretty mad about it. But injuries are part of the game and I tried to heal quicker and get back out there and help my teammates.”

Maintenance: Benoit Pouliot, Brassard’s linemate, did not practice Wednesday. Vigneault called it a “maintenance day,” meaning he has some sort of ache or bruise or something. J.T. Miller practiced in his spot on Brassard’s wing, but Vigneault indicated that Pouliot will play Game 3. That would likely mean that Daniel Carcillo would be scratched, and Dominic Moore, who filled in for Brassard in Game 2, would slide back down to fourth-line center.

The kid again: In Montreal, where the Canadiens skated, coach Michel Therrien said that rookie Dustin Tokarski, who played Game 2 after the Game 1, series-ending knee injury to No. 1 goalie Carey Price, will also start Game 3.

Winger Thomas Vanek, meanwhile, alternated on the fourth line in practice, leading to speculation that he might be injured or a healthy scratch for Game 3. — Rick Carpiniello

Twitter: @RangersReport

Photos by Getty Images.

 

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230 Comments

  1. Robby Bonfire on

    This team needs not just to win this series, but to win it in no more than five games, to be physically sharper than the seven-game series (hopefully) Chicago – LA survivor.

  2. Doodie Machetto on

    Isles sign Halak, 4 years, 4.5 per. Gross.

    Also keep 2014 1st, will surrender 2015 1st.

    Both moves will make it harder to sell the team, but the draft pick move simply had to be done that way.

    May 22nd, 2014 at 3:15 PM

  3. If “someone” posts someone’s real name without their permission, then maybe someone else should take the high road and not refer to that event.

  4. Sublime. It all feels sublime. I cannot believe this. Maybe because I was a kid of 20….maybe it was the 1940 chants…..maybe the sting and stain of Francis in 1992 and the debacle of 1993. I almost couldn’t fathom the 1994 team blowing it. It was willed, the championship was. Eddie olczyk heave ho.

    2012 what an amazing regular season. The struggled against Ottawa and Washington were so unexpected. Then the toe stub game five vs devils. Ugh I missed game six camping. It’s over.

    Last year lockout meh. Bruins pulverized the 15 rangers that played every game.

    The start . West coast humiliation. Starts and stops getting the season together. Big outdoor wins in NYC in the artic chill. The trade. The flyers the improbable comeback vs penguins 1992 exorcised.

    Habs. Two game lead

    Tonight.

    Do it guys. You have the goalie. They don’t.

    It’s all sublime. It’s sneaking up on us.

    Ranger fans.

  5. I understand letting the players play for the Olympics, considering the scope of it and how important it can be for the NHL marketing department, and how special it is for the players, but how in the world does the NHL allow it’s players to play in these yearly World Championships, which mean little to anyone in North America? It makes no sense to me from a financial standpoint and the risk of injuries and extended season is not smart.

  6. No one posted my name here, Kenneth. Its not overly difficult to find, but it wasn’t posted here. And don’t worry, I’m more flattered than I am creeped out. Not by a lot, but by enough.

  7. Doodie Machetto on

    Mister D, I do not. He will have a save percentage below 9.10 and a GAA north of 2.4.

  8. Enjoyed the article, Carp.

    Coos, it’s just the old blind pig thing. Re: Hat trick

  9. I before E except after C or when sounding like ay as in neighbor and weigh and weekends and holidays and all throughout May and you’ll always be wrong no matter what you say.
    – Brian Regan

  10. Lol.

    4:1

    Which is really only slightly lower than yours.

    Mallards For Peace !

  11. ThisYearsModel on

    Tire Fires in the news today. Halak agrees to stay there for 4 years. Bummed that Brassard is out again, but up 2-0 there is no reason to rush him.

  12. Doodie Machetto on

    Thisyears, Brassard not officially in or out. Local reporters think he’s in, out of towners say he’s out.

  13. Doodie Machetto on

    Except when sounding like “A” as in “that Jonathan Toews is a great Canadian hockey player, “eigh?”

  14. Pumped for the game tonight, but oh-so-afraid that the Blueshirts will revert to their “we can afford to lose this one” ways and put in a less-than-100% effort.

    Rangers need to have the pedal down from the drop of the puck. They did little to challenge Montreal’s goalie last game and still scored 3 on him. No fancy passes, no giving up a shot for dumb reasons, no back passes to nowhere…

    Fire it at him. From everywhere. Crash the net. The Montreal D will wilt under the pressure.

    Think about the possibilities – the potential to spend Sunday night of Memorial Day weekend 2014 watching the Rangers compete for a chance to win the Eastern Conference Championship and advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

    Time for the Rangers to show the NHL what they are capable of. God knows Hank will be ready.

  15. gregm_oldsection403 on

    “Two wins away from the Stanley Cup final might as well be two miles.” or 200 miles, 2,000.

    For once, i hope the boys make the noose even tighter, instead of loosening it a bit.

    can’t wait!!!!!!

  16. Manny-O-War on

    eric: where are you in this picture?

    @PLeonardNYDN pic.twitter.com/od24z0UFcf

  17. _Eric
    Isles had to keep this years even though next year draft is much deeper.

    May 22nd, 2014 at 3:37 PM_

    Why do Isles “have to keep” Their 2014 first round pick as opposed to 2015 First Round pick?

  18. Serious and potentially life altering question.

    Can you Charp from an iPhone?

  19. _Mister D, I do not. He will have a save percentage below 9.10 and a GAA north of 2.4._

    Is this fact or opinion?

  20. Doodie Machetto on

    Manny, you can’t see Eric’s seats in that picture. They are out of frame to the immediate left of the picture, and then up.

  21. Manny-O-War on

    But I thought Eric was already AT MSG, eric. Maybe he was wandering around or maybe on the ice…

  22. Doodie Machetto on

    Mine are also out of frame, but not by much. Mine are a couple of sections over from the leftmost section in frame in the 200 level.

    Cup’s are a couple over from mine.

  23. Rob in Beantown, 100-Watt Warlock on

    Have we heard from Eric since the bridge incident earlier this afternoon?

  24. True fact: The gate open commercial rock climber is a real professional (?) rock climber.

  25. Manny-O-War on

    I got a text from eric.. “view looks beautiful from up here. Been great…”

  26. Manny-O-War on

    True fact: that commercial makes me want to do awful things to loved ones

  27. Admiral Ackbar on

    Both climbers in the commercial are pro rock climbers. I dont know the name of the chick, but the dude is Alex Hunnold. He climbs rocks with his bare hands. Unbelievable. Even more unbelievable than us having a Game Day in the ECF up by 2 games at MSG!

  28. Admiral Ackbar on

    I do miss the beer commercial with Pitbull; only seemed to be played when Rangers were winning.

  29. Manny-O-War on

    Did Alex Hunnold leave the gate open?

    Maybe the commercial is about how they climb all the way up there and then realize they left the gate open and they have to rush home to close it.

  30. Or they were fenced into the yard to prevent them from climbing those dangerous rocks?

  31. Doodie Machetto on

    Carp, maybe you want to update your article to include the Rangers having been 2 games down to Pittsburgh in the last round.

  32. Doodie Machetto on

    They were still down by two games, albeit 3-1, and came back to win the series.

  33. Doodie where are your seats?
    Are you guys going to the “Puck” before the game?

  34. Doodie Machetto on

    208 row 2.

    I know Eric had said yesterday he was headed there. I’m going to use the late start as an opportunity not to leave work early, so I won’t be there.

  35. Doodie Machetto on

    “Rangers will sweep Doodie.”

    Amazing how different that sentence is without the comma.

  36. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    I’m usual good with my clause comma clause.

    The rangers will sweep, Doodie, believe and it will happen.

  37. Doodie Machetto on

    Carp, does anyone know where eric lives so that we can call 911 to dispatch the police and an ambulance to his house if the Rangers lose?

  38. Doodie Machetto on

    carcillo isn’t scoring tonight unless he is meeting some ladies after the game. And judging by his face/attitude, paying them.

  39. Brass is out, Sillo in, both Moopses (Dom&John) will score in interval of 17 sec.

  40. Alain Amour on

    Carp

    Would you please tell Mister D that someone posted his name here a few weeks ago? I searched the archives but was unable to find it.

  41. With Brassard presumably out, I would have played Kristo. I think Kristo is a lock for atleast a goal per game if we would just give him the chance.

  42. Carp

    Would you please tell Kenneth that its ok, I don’t mind him celebrating the fact that he was able to search out my name online. I think its sweet and nice and not at all a weird thing for a grown up adult (who has been to *three* clinchers) to do.

  43. Manny, I saw more Rangers gear at the farmers market in Summit on Sunday than I’ve seen around here the past few months.

    (My daughter’s show-and-tell item today was her “hockey towel” which sits on her pretend sink. Its one of those cheapie giveaways.)

  44. Doodie Machetto on

    I thought we weren’t allowed to play Kristo because he was too good.

  45. sep-A-rate
    spelled
    differently
    than
    desperate

    got that one from high school teacher priest
    he didn’t beat the info into us (or anything else!)
    but
    it
    remains memorable how he would pronounce it
    (hence, my spelling)
    okay
    back to work
    and listening to Bruce

  46. Jeff in South Dakota on

    I know a lot of youse guys hate the later start times, but for me I can get home from work and not miss the entire first period.

  47. Uh Oh
    Duguay back on his microphone yelling to the crowd again
    Only this time he’s in the Port Authority

  48. I expect the crowd to be pumping, Amirante to be jumping and Dorsett to be thumping

  49. Archie Bell and the Drells

    ‘Tighten it up, you can get it
    Move to your left, move to your right
    Tighten it up now
    Everything will we outta sight!’

  50. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    After singing the anthem, big John is going to do a series of back flips down the ice.

  51. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Eric – watch out. I’m hearing Lucic is in the area and he’s looking to kill someone…..hide if you see him.

  52. Jeff in South Dakota on

    A Long distance directory assistance, area code 212
    Say hey, A and R this is mister rhythm and blues
    He said hello, and put me on hold
    To say the least the cat was cold
    He said, don’t call us child we’ll call you

  53. iManny-O-War on

    Just got home. About to indulge in My ritual of getting Single Malt and visiting a pizza place.

    It has to work. We need to smell blood tonight

  54. Oh, I thought Eric is looking for being killed somehow. Lucic from other hand…

  55. Alain Amour on

    If Hank pitches a shutout, then the Rangers will be one victory away from the Finals and I will be a happy person.

  56. Carp – could have sworn I saw you in GCT at 5:45 coming up from the lower level. But you’re at MSG already right?

  57. ThisYearsModel on

    Go Time coming. Hope the stream is good tonight like last game. No NHL playoff TV in the hotel room.

  58. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    4ever – Lucic hasn’t killed anyone since this morning. He’s ready….

  59. Visited the newly transformed Walter’s couple weeks ago. All I can figure is that maybe they put in a new employee toilet. Dogs worked, though.

  60. Silence must be taken as assent, rather than dissent. Which is what Thomas More said to Henry VIII. Henry, not conversant with the proper parsing of words and concepts, eliminated his head from the rest of him.

  61. Success is keeping your head when all around you, others are losing theirs. (Or is it loosing?)

  62. Sign at the bottom of my street says ‘Stop ahead.’ I would, but I never see any rolling heads.

  63. If you catch the head at a beheading, does that mean that you are next to get mindlessly married?

  64. When I am busy trying to Castle my King, eddie takes advantage of my inattention by employing the old En passant.

  65. iManny-O-War on

    Roenick thought Tokarski was exceptional. He thinks the Habs would have won had he stopped that Nash shot.

  66. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    One of my buddies just tied for first in the US Championship. Lost in playoff

  67. They closed down that whole time to move the cash register 15 feet, coos. But the line does move more smoothly now.

  68. Anyone try the game of thrones”fire and blood” red ale by Brewery Ommegang.? Is it good or a gimmick brew?

  69. So long since I’d been there that I waited in line at the pick-up window until I realized that you have to go first to the other guy way over there. True. What a numbnuts.

  70. Manny-O-War, King of Metal on

    That sucks, Eric.

    Coos. Get your avatar back. I feel like you’re just not trying hard enough.

  71. When I was in Montreal, people were rude, pretended they didn’t speak English, and the menus were printed in French. They think they’re in Paris.

  72. I figured it out, Manny, all on my own! I used to have to wait for my daughter to come home on college vacation to take care of such simple things, namely changing the clock in the car among other things.

  73. I’m not feeling confident at all about this game.

    Hopefully, I’m wrong, but something tells me the Rangers aren’t going to match the desperation level and Hank won’t be able to stand on his head all game.

  74. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Hank was just looking at a clock and it took the second’s hand 15 minutes to go from the 7 to the 8.

    #in the zone

  75. Norm Merton on

    Pouliot will be one to watch. Can he stay on the edge and out of the box? And AV must have pictures on Dorsett and Carcillo — they’ve been quite disciplined so far, knock wood.

  76. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Wow – in players’ only meeting after game 4 vs pens, Carcillo stood up and mentioned that last year the hawks were down to the wings 3 games to 1, and look what happened….

  77. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    I knew Brassard wasn’t playing….he’ll be back for game 4 tho….

  78. ThisYearsModel on

    Bummed to see Brassard out. With the extra day off, was hoping he could make it.

  79. iManny-O-War on

    Haven’t had a drink yet. Just waiting to go full on Hundo after the Habs net two.

  80. Stranger Nation on

    See Dubb – definitely feeling the vibe tonite.

    Carp/coos – got my boys a pre-dinner snack at Walters – best time to go – 5pm. A double before dinner is not a bad appy.

    What has changed…meh…new fridge and they hosed down the counters I believe is all.

  81. Currently it seems like Movable Type is the preferred blogging platform out there right now.
    (from what I’ve read) Is that what you are using on your blog?

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