Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Rangers Score Early and Often [J. Mark English]

With apologies to the New Jersey Devils and the New York Islanders, whom both lost last night, but I must shout out and yell:


Oh baby, they're back, and how! Winning their first home playoff game since May 8, 1997, the Rangers brought back a playoff atmosphere to Madison Square Garden that has been missing for a long time.

Its only the third game of the first round of the Stanley Cup marathon, but could the Rangers be starting us on a magic carpet ride all the way to the Finals?

It reminds me of the story of England's King George III. He was known for keeping a strict diary, recording something every single day while he was the Sovereign. Even on a day when nothing noteworthy occurred, he would still find time to jot a few lines. On one day in particular he wrote "nothing of great importance has happened today." That date was July 4, 1776.

The New York Rangers won tonight 7-0. Its more then likely that this day will go down as just another playoff victory, in a season where they were able to put together a decent run.

Or perhaps this was their statement night. The night where they reassured Ranger fans that they have something special to offer. As well as putting the rest of the NHL on notice: look out, here come the Rangers. The Blueshirts are back.

If they can finish out this series early, and let the other Eastern conference teams battle things out in grueling series, they will have set themselves up very well. No team that played a seven game playoff round in the first round has ever won the Stanley Cup. This goes to show that teams that play shorter rounds early on will have much more energy in the later rounds.

The Rangers now lead the series 3-0. They scored early...very early...as in 32 seconds into the game. Michael Nylander scored on a break away shot, and they never looked back. Nylander would finish with a hat trick. Rookie Ryan Callahan added two more, as did Shanahan. Even the much maligned Marek Malik had a goal.

Of course they didn't need 7 goals to win. One would have sufficed since Henrik Lundqvist was so dominating between the pipes.

Tomorrow night they can put the series on ice (literally). A Garden Party will be in full affect tomorrow, and the crowd should be raucous in anticipation of a sweep. I can't wait!

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