New York Rangers' Time to Shine: Jaromir Jagr and Company Need to Keep It Simple

Christopher CaiazzoCorrespondent IApril 9, 2008

What happened in the regular season means nothing.

Forget the Rangers' bad play in the first half of the season, the winning streak, Jaromir Jagrs' bad play, the juggling of the lines for better offense, and not having home-ice advantage.

The Rangers made it into the postseason for a reason, and that reason is to win.

Tonight the New Jersey Devils host the New York Rangers in the battle of the Hudson in the first round of the playoffs.

The Rangers, who are the fifth-place seed, take on a tough Devils club who have been searching for answers on their goal production. Two years ago, the Rangers got swept by the Devils.

But this year, the Rangers added fuel to the fire with Scott Gomez and Chris Drury.

As crazy as this may sound, the Rangers chances in beating the Devils come down to Ryan Callahan, Nigel Dawes, Marc Stall, Brandon Dubinsky, Petr Prucha, and of course, Henrik Lundqvist.

The blueshirts can't just rely on their veteran players to take over this series simply because they can't do it by themselves.

The blueshirts must play as a team in which all four lines contribute with hard, fast play on the puck to force the Devils into making mistakes.

If the Rangers can keep their game and power play simple by playing two-way hockey, they will come out alive, and we will be seeing them in the second round of the playoffs.

When I say simple, I mean getting pucks to the net, having Sean Avery in front of Brodeur at all times, a shooting power play, hard constant hitting, taking good penalties, and playing a quick, smart defensive game.

The Rangers don't need to be pretty to win. They just need to get their noses dirty and play smart.

They can't lay back and protect a 3-1 lead, even if it's with one minute left in the third period because we all know that the Devils can come back at any time in any game.

They must attack the Devils at all times, from the start of the first period until the buzzer at the end of the third.

The Rangers are where they want to be. It's time for them to show the league what kind of threat they really are and that they will not be looked down upon.

Prediction: Rangers in 6