Despite the New York Rangers’ ability to fight back from a 3-1 deficit over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round, you’d be hard-pressed to find many who believed the Blueshirts would take both Games 1 and 2 in Montreal to begin the Eastern Conference Final.
That being said, the Rangers deserve it. They were the more prepared team heading into Game 1, and it showed, big time, as New York brushed off the Habs, 7-2.
In Game 2, while the Rangers weren’t as good—although I think they played better than most in the media have given them credit for—Henrik Lundqvist dominated and completely shut the door on Montreal in a 40-save effort that left the likes of P.K. Subban frustrated.
The Rangers return to New York up two games and face an opponent whose star goaltender and best player is unavailable. It’s in the bag, right?
There’s a lot of work to do, so fans should put a hold on their parade plans and celebrations because Montreal is a good hockey team. As the Blueshirt faithful should know, anything is possible in a seven-game series.
There are four factors that will win or lose this series for the Rangers. The way they’re currently playing, there’s little reason to believe they won’t be able to make these forces work in their favor, but the games are played for a reason.
Here are the four X-factors for the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final.