Home ice a winning formula for Rangers
GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Down 2-0, do the Rangers have the Bruins just where they want them?
No, the Rangers aren't thinking that going into Tuesday night's Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series at the Garden. But they are confident that they can dig out of this hole because they did it against Washington in the first round and because they have played like demons at home all season.
Coach John Tortorella's mantra, repeated to and by the players Monday, is that the Rangers need to win one game at home. Tuesday night's. Then go from there if they can.
"All through the year and during the playoffs, it's been good to us," Tortorella said of home ice. "We've won games here. That's what we have to do -- not win two at home. We need to win one game at home. And that's our total focus. [Home ice] helps us. As you see through the playoffs, it helps. We're anxious to get going."
The Rangers were 16-6-2 at home in the regular season and 10-12-2 away from the Garden. They went 3-0 at home against the Capitals in the first round before winning Game 7 in Washington, 5-0.
"It's a long series," forward Derick Brassard said. "That's why it's seven games."
Well, the Rangers hope so. First things first.
"We've got to win one game at home and we're right back at it [in Boston]," captain Ryan Callahan said. "We've been here before, so now it's just [time] to take care of business at home."
Rick Nash, who scored his first goal of this postseason in Sunday's 5-2 loss, said: "We will be excited to get home and play in front of our fans in a building that we are familiar with. We look forward to it."
The Rangers beat Washington at home in Games 3 and 4 by identical 4-3 scores. Game 6 was a 1-0 victory.
"We have the experience of the last series," Brassard said. "We're looking forward to coming back home and just win one game and go from there. We've been there and we know [Tuesday night's] game is big, the most important one, and we just need to play our game and feed off the crowd."
At an upbeat practice On Monday, the Rangers harped on the things they can do better. They didn't feel as if they were far away after the first two games in Washington, and they have the same vibe this time.
"Little details and make sure we play with structure," Brassard said. "Make sure we manage the puck the right way and we finish our checks when we go on the forecheck so we don't spend so much time in our zone. Make sure in the 'D' zone we stay tight and we don't allow passes to the point. Stuff like that."
The Bruins were 12-9-3 away from their Garden in the regular season and won two of three games in Toronto in the first-round series they took in seven.
"I'm expecting a desperate team," Bruins forward Shawn Thornton told reporters in Boston. "They're going to step up their game and we're going to have to be a lot better, too. Going into their building, they're traditionally a pretty strong team in that rink, and it's not an easy rink to play in, so we're going to have to be better."