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Rangers focus on what's brought them road success

Monday, 04.21.2014 / 2:34 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer / Rangers-Flyers series blog

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Rangers-Flyers series blog
Rangers focus on what's brought them road success

NEW YORK -- Players from the New York Rangers are expecting an emotional atmosphere for Game 3 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET (CNBC, TSN2, MSG, CSN-PH).

The best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series is tied 1-1.

The Rangers will enter the game having lost three straight in the City of Brotherly Love, but are confident after closing out the 2013-14 regular season with a 25-14-2 record on the road. The team conducted an optional practice on Monday that included four defensemen, seven forwards and goalie Cam Talbot, prior to leaving for Philadelphia.

"It's an energetic arena to play in for sure, and they feed off of that, so you want to play a simple game," Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. "You can't be afraid to take an icing, take a whistle here or there to keep the game on your side and keep up the pace. If you get the momentum you have to try to hang onto it, you have to be disciplined too. Their fans will be feeding off their physicality, and you can't buy into it or get caught up in it. That's something we've done all season so far."

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault expects his team to play tough and smart in hostile territory.

"If you look at our road record, we have that because we continue to play the same high-tempo, north-south type of game and rolling the lines quickly," Vigneault said. "There are certain matchups that we are looking for. There are certain we don't want. Once we're in the flow and the guys are playing well and executing well, sometimes you're not as concerned about matchups as you are pace and tempo."

Forward Brian Boyle acknowledged his team just needs to match that intensity from the outset.

"We'll see what happens; we've played them at home and the road, and they are an energetic bunch in front of their fans," Boyle said. "They'll come out hard and we need to match it. If you're not ready for that type of intensity you could be in for a long night. The bottom line is we need to win puck battles and get those second and third opportunities [on goal]."

In a bit of a surprise, the Rangers have held Flyers captain Claude Giroux without a shot and to one assist in the opening two games of the series. Philadelphia was 21-2-1 during the regular season when Giroux scored, and 33-15-4 when he recorded at least one point.

"I never thought going into this series that we'd be able to shut that line down [with Giroux centering Scott Hartnell and Jakub Voracek]," Vigneault said. "That line has elite players who have been racking up points here on a regular basis against other teams. They are one of the best lines in the League, and so far we've done a fair job against them but we need to be better.

"We didn't win [Sunday in Game 2] and we had an OK game, but at this time in the year we can't play OK. We need to play better."

Vigneault, for the most part, has had the defense pair of Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi on the ice against Giroux's top line.

"I always feel like I could do better and I feel our team is the same way," McDonagh said. "You're never satisfied and always want to improve. They got a goal [by Voracek in Game 2], but we looked at some things. We have to maintain our aggressiveness and discipline and trust each other out there."

Vigneault wouldn't reveal his lineup for Game 3 against the Flyers other than to say, "I haven't decided on a full lineup yet so we'll see what happens [Tuesday morning]."

It's possible left wing Daniel Carcillo, who had a goal and team-leading 27 penalty minutes in two games against the Flyers in 2013-14, could earn a start against his former team, but that decision won't be made before Tuesday.

Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic