A few thoughts:
Even though the series has been close to even, this is a must-win for the Rangers as they're highly unlikely to take three straight from Buffalo.
The Sabres' powerplay is once again anemic as it was for most of the regular season. Buffalo is famously built on transition and speed, and the mostly-stationary aspect of the powerplay doesn't seem to fall into their comfort zone (although nobody has come up with an adequate solution to the question of why their PP was so fantastic last year and mediocre-at-best this year...). Too many times they are motionless and try to set up the perfect play/shot. More shots at the net - don't be afraid of getting the garbage goal.
The Rangers successfully changed their game plan going into game 2 - proof positive that the playoffs are a different animal. The Rangers played game 1 as if it were just a regular season game - a singular blip on the 82 game radar. Starting with game 2, the Rangers clamped down and didn't try to skate with Buffalo. They're clogging up the blueline, not allowing the Sabres to fly into the zone. The Sabres need to respond better by taking what they've been given - dump the puck in and go get it. Buffalo often gets stubborn, as is probably understandable for highly-skilled players. But they have to adapt.
Discipline will win this series for Buffalo - be patient with the Rangers and don't get into penalty trouble. If the Rangers get more than an average amount of time on the power-play they will win this series.
Game time 7:05 tonight.
01 May 2007
A few thoughts: