As bad as things looked for the Rangers following their Game 1 loss to the Penguins, things are sure looking up (with all things considered of course) heading into Game 3.
The squad got a solid 60 minutes from Henrik Lundqvist in Saturday's 4-2 win, who days earlier was out with an eye injury. They got four goals from their offense after a seemingly futile effort in Game 1's 5-2 setback. And -- as is becoming an annual occurrence, they looked poised for another deep postseason run as things return to New York with first round Stanley Cup series tied at 1-all.
"Good feeling to go home now, and then we get an opportunity to play at home," Lundqvist said Saturday. "I can't wait."
Neither can the Rangers faithful, who will be paying over $185 for a nosebleed ticket at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night at 7 p.m. (on USA).
Lundqvist and the defense, which finally had an answer for Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist and company, could welcome their captain Ryan McDonagh to the fold in Game 3. The defenseman practiced Monday and while New York head coach Alain Vigneault said "stranger things have happened," the classification of McDonagh as doubtful instead of out is improvement.
Dan Giradi's status is also still unknown but the Rangers got solid play on the blueline from their replacements Brady Skjei and Dylan McIlrath, both rookies and both looked comfortable on the ice in Game 2.
With the defense in flux, the Blue Shirts hope they can get consistent scoring as the series continues. Five players have scored at least one of New York's six goals thus far.
Pointless Eric Staal, the Rangers' trade deadline acquisition has been quiet since joining the squad, but the experienced Stanley Cup champion (with the Hurricanes in 2006) has scored in bunches in the past, and could be an X-factor back in New York.
"It will be more fun at MSG for Game 3,” the veteran said.
“I’m glad I got this opportunity to join this group and now I want to make sure we make the most of it," Staal continued last weekend, via Newsday.