(Photo: Kathy Willens/AP Photo)
With Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final nearly upon us, C Dominic Moore and C Brian Boyle talk briefly about what the New York Rangers expect for tonight and what the team is doing to prepare for the LA Kings:
“Yeah, we had a meeting, just went through our normal routine. Obviously it’s an afternoon game, but it’s good to get up and get moving a little bit, go for a walk, just try and stick to the regular routine as if it were a normal time,” says Moore. Tonight’s game is relatively early, starting at 5pm (8pm ET) due to its West Coast location.
Boyle adds that the Rangers, who have not played in six days (their series against Montreal ended on May 29) have taken advantage of their off-days to “rest, and we got our work in on the days that we needed to. Had some good practices…Shortened practices up, games every other day.” The Kings last played on June 1 in the series clincher against the Chicago Blackhawks.
And what is the team’s strategy for tonight?
“We need to limit [Drew Doughty’s] time and space as best we can,” says Moore. “When you’re down a man, we have a system that we have had success with. We need to stick to that.” Doughty is one of five players in contention for the Conn Smythe trophy for these playoffs.
Other areas of focus for the Rangers include their penalty kill and winning faceoffs. This postseason, the Rangers have killed just under 86% of their opponents’ power plays (9 goals allowed in 64 PKs). The Rangers have also had success in the faceoff circle. “Faceoffs are a big part of any series…There’s always a lot of 50/50 pucks which we can try and focus on getting back as best we can,” says Moore.
Boyle is confident that his team is ready: “We had some time off. We came back to practice, I think the mindset was there.” And as the puck drop draws closer and closer, the Rangers just need to stay in that can-win mindset and keep their eyes on the prize.
Here’s to ending a 20-year Stanley Cup drought.