As the offseason comes to an end, so does my Eastern Conference Battle series. There is one more article on this subject I will write (New Jersey Devils), and then the season will start and we will see just how effective I am when it comes to predicting.
The New York Rangers head into this season with high expectations, and rightly so, as their success is long past due. The broadway blue shirts have seen playoff success, but to an extent. They have mastered the technique of winning playoff rounds 1 and 2, but getting to the Finals has proved to be a challenge for them.
However, despite their struggles in the late playoffs, the Rangers find a way to make it to the round of 16, which is something the Blue Jackets have struggled with. Whether it’s as the President’s Trophy winners, or as the 8th seed, the Rangers make it to the playoffs and play their hearts out.
Behind captain and shot-blocking phenom Ryan Callahan and superstar Swede goalie Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers continue to pose a threat. Their high-intensity, high-emotion play style is overwhelming for opposing teams. However, playing with such emotion and intensity can prove costly if used in excess.
Much like the Flyers, the Rangers don’t enjoy having other teams get in their face. If they get rattled, they will begin to make mistakes, as all teams do. And its up to the opponents to capitalize on such mistakes.
In the past, the Jackets have struggled with matching intensity in big games. Against the Rangers, the biggest battle is that of intensity. If CBJ can get inside the heads of at least a few Rangers, then mistakes will be made, and the game plan of NYR will likely fall through.
In order to be consistently successful against the Rangers, Columbus needs to not just match intensity and emotion, but desire as well. No one wins a game that doesn’t want to. The psychological battle in hockey is just as important as the physical one, and the Rangers are masters of mind games.
In the end, if the Jackets can keep from being overwhelmed by the intensity of the Rangers, and if they can match the emotion and want of NY, they will see success. But I want to hear your opinions, so tweet me, leave a comment, or better yet, find us on Facebook and comment there.