It should be an electric evening on Seventh Avenue.
At least to start Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final Monday.
The Rangers cannot afford another loss.
Nonetheless, there was a palpable air of anticipation for the first Cup Final game at Madison Square Garden since June 1994. Rangers coach Alain Vigneault is expected to send out the same lineup against the Kings as he did in Game 2 in Los Angeles, a 5-4, double-overtime loss. Players were anxious to skate in front of the Garden faithful.
Some comments after the morning skate:
“We saw the support when we were in LA, especially in Bryant Park,” Derick Brassard said. “The atmosphere is going to be really good; when you have the fans behind you, it just gives you a lot more energy.”
“We’re home, we’re going to feel it,” Martin St. Louis said. “We had two hard-fought battles in LA, we didn’t get the results, but it’s nice to come back in your barn and try to get that first win. We’re looking for results. We’re one win away from getting right back in it.”
"It’ll be good for us to get back home,” said Dan Girardi, who was the target of fan criticism for his costly turnover in overtime during Game 1. “They’ve been hungry for this for 20 years."
“We have to hold serve, and we know that,” Vigneault said. “But we know our game and we know the way to play. When we do that, we're a good team. We have done that for the most part throughout this series. But even though we're playing hard and we're playing the right way, they're a great hockey team. It's been nine periods of real good hockey so far. Could have gone one way or the other. They're up 2-0. Give them full credit. We're going to try to make this a series tonight.”
“Both teams are gonna work hard,” Brian Boyle said. “It’s a matter of working smart, trying to limit some of the breakdowns we’ve had. They’re going to be opportunistic. It’s a great opportunity, we feel good about what we’ve overcome to get here. We’re not done. We’ve overcome a lot this year, but our backs are against the wall. We need to get a win. We have to raise the bar. It’s a result-based business. A couple posts here and there, it’s a different story. We need to figure out a way to stop them from scoring and create a little more offense and finish.”
Brassard said the Blueshirts have a great chance to force a Game 5 back in Los Angeles on Friday.
"We end up winning both games at home and the series is tied, so that’s going to be the main thing. I think it’s really possible,” Brassard said. “We know we can beat them if we go out and play our game and the puck goes our way a little bit, I think we have a great chance.”