Scheduling can vary in the postseason, but teams generally play games every other day when they’re not awaiting their next opponents. With that in mind, it’s difficult to deny the notion that the New York Rangers might be fatigued going into Game 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Rangers will go into Monday’s game with less than 24 hours of rest after losing to the Penguins 3-0 in Game 2 on Sunday. It’s the bigger picture that makes it especially taxing, however; While the Penguins waited for their second-round opponent from April 28 to Friday’s Game 1, the Rangers have been doing a lot of battling. Tomorrow’s contest will be the Blueshirts’ sixth playoff game in just nine days. They also faced a back-to-back set in Game 6 and 7 against the Philadelphia Flyers on this past week.
If you’re looking for excuses from the Rangers themselves, head coach Alain Vigneault won’t bite.
Henrik Lundqvist was indeed excellent in Game 2, stopping 32 out of 34 shots in defeat. Whether you blame fatigue or the Penguins’s strong play (or a combination of the two factors), New York only made Marc-Andre Fleury face 22 saves in a shutout performance.
Vigneault might try to deny the rest factor, but Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma absolutely acknowledges that his team hopes to press the advantage.
If nothing else, the Rangers have shown that they often excel in difficult situations. They’ll also hope for a boost from the crowd at MSG.
It should be an interesting test for both teams.