Tag: home ice advantage

Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Rangers - Game Five

Bolts shrug off talk of Madison Square Garden ‘mystique’


It’s not just about playing a huge game at “the world’s most famous arena.”

Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers have put up gaudy stats in elimination games and Game 7 situations at Madison Square Garden, as you’ve likely seen or heard. Most obviously, they’re 7-0 in Game 7’s at MSG.

On paper, it seems like an intimidating challenge: beat the reigning Presidents’ Trophy winners (employing hockey’s biggest goaltending star) in New York City for a chance to advance to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. It’s the sort of scenario that practically breeds “Nervous Nellies.”

The Tampa Bay Lightning aren’t taking the bait, though. At least not publicly.

Former Ranger Brian Boyle had some amusing comments about giving in to the MSG “mystique.”

“Do you think I buy it? What am I doing here if I buy it? Why would I fly up from Florida if I bought it?,” Boyle said. “They’ve obviously had success in Game 7. It’s a new year. Obviously, we’re expecting their best and they’ve been good. It’s a fun place to play.”

“They’re going to have the crowd support. We’re going to try to take it away from them as quick as we can, and hopefully it’s going to be a really fun, memorable game.”

Victor Hedman’s mindset is simple enough: he said “we’re prepared for this.”

Alex Killorn provided the sort of clever take you’d kind of expect from an Ivy League grad.

All veteran-type responses, even if most of the Lightning’s roster has never been in this spot before. Steven Stamkos was in a Game 7, and it stung for reasons that went beyond the puck he took to the face.

(Remember that?)

“Yeah, well, I remember not winning that one, so that’s tough. Don’t really remember taking the puck to the face as much as you remember losing,” Stamkos said. “That was a tough one. That was my first experience in the playoffs, and it was a great run. We’re right back in the same position right now, so I’m excited about the opportunity of having a little different result this time around. ”

source: AP
Via AP

Jon Cooper made a good point: yes, the Rangers are dominant in these situations, but none of those Game 7 wins came against the Lightning.

“We haven’t been a part of that history, so it doesn’t affect us,” Cooper said, via the Canadian Press. “I guess you look back and it’s an impressive feat to see what they’ve done. But they haven’t done it against our group and our team, and we’ve got a pretty young, confident group.”

Winning and not taking a puck to the mush would be quite the improvement for Stamkos & Co. (Hey, you need to set goals, right?)

Sutter on road teams having a playoff edge: “That’s all B.S.”

Darryl Sutter
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Darryl Sutter isn’t Nostradamus, but he has become a surprisingly decent source of interesting (and often delightfully cranky) quotes. The eighth-ranked Los Angeles Kings were stout on the road in the first round and the Calgary Flames squad he coached within a game of the 2004 Stanley Cup were a low seed, too, but Sutter told Rich Hammond that he’d still prefer home ice if given the choice.

“As you go along, that’s all B.S., to be quite honest. I know from experience,” Sutter said. “It’s very simple. I’d rather have players getting treated in our treatment centers, and not in a hotel and not on an airplane, and getting practice in your own building. We’ve talked about it enough. You want to play a deciding game in your building, always.”

The chaos of the postseason forces us to try to make sense out of the sometimes senseless. In the most literal way, home ice advantage provides the last change and some faceoff perks to boot, but the true impact might just be subjective.

That being said, if the Kings manage to overcome another high seed or two (they’re primed to face the No. 2 St. Louis Blues and wouldn’t have home ice if they advanced again), Sutter might just get a reputation for overcoming the edge of home cooking.

Whatever edge that might be.

Kings would like to avoid stinking up the house at home this year

Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty

It’s a bit funny how things work. The Los Angeles Kings spent the first two games of their series with Vancouver showing exactly how to take away home ice advantage by knocking the Canucks around and taking a 2-0 series lead. Of course now that they’re at home with a chance to potentially sweep the series, they would like to show that home ice is something that can be defended.

Unfortunately for L.A. defending the friendly confines of Staples Center is something they haven’t done very well the last two years in the playoffs. As Drew Doughty tells Rich Hammond of L.A. Kings Insider, it’s their mindset that needs to change to make sure they don’t cough up a major advantage.

“We’ve just got to play as if the series if just starting and we’ve got home-ice advantage,” Doughty said. “It’s Game 1. We’re not up two-nothing. If anything, we’ve got to act like we’re down a couple (games). We can’t go in there relaxing, or taking them too easy, because they’re going to come even harder. This is going to be the hardest game for us. We still haven’t played our best hockey. Going into Sunday, we’ve got to play our best.”

Considering the Kings are the eighth seed in the West and they’re taking care of the Presidents’ Trophy winners with seeming ease, getting too comfy is a definite worry. With Darryl Sutter as the coach, however, we’re sure he’s eager to remind them that there’s nothing to feel cozy about. Now the Kings just have to make sure they don’t show up acting like the San Jose Sharks are out there or else doom is on the horizon.