Every team will say that they think playing at home is an advantage. But none quite have the numbers to back them up like the Rangers do going into Tuesday night’s Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Bruins at...
Every team will say that they think playing at home is an advantage. But none quite have the numbers to back them up like the Rangers do going into Tuesday night’s Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Bruins at the Garden.
It’s a game they desperately need, being down in this best-of-seven contest, 2-0.
Good news for the Blueshirts is that they haven’t lost at home since March 24, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Capitals. That streak of nine games spanned the end of the regular season and the first three games of the playoffs, when they beat the Capitals in Games 3, 4, and 6 en route to winning that series in seven games.
On top of that, the league has trended this season heavily in favor of the home teams, with a 10-1 record for them in the second round and a 40-18 record throughout the playoffs.
“We’ve been good at home all year long,” said coach John Tortorella, whose team finished the regular season with a 16-6-2 record at the Garden, having lost just once in regulation over the final 15 at home. “It confuses me why I think some pucks go in at home or they don’t go in in certain situations on the road. Who knows why.”
Strangely enough, go further into history and the good records for the home teams in the playoffs doesn’t exactly hold up. According to the NHL, the last time home teams had a winning percentage of .600 or higher during the postseason was in 1993, when they went 52-33 (.612).
“I think today’s game, it’s a lot different from back in the 70s where there was really a distinct advantage playing at home,” Tortorella said. “I don’t think there is [an advantage anymore], but there must be. The records show it.”
Rangers forward Darroll Powe is not quite ready to reenter the lineup, but he is certainly getting closer.
“I feel good, it’s good to be back on the ice and skating with the guys,” Powe said after Tuesday’s optional morning skate, the fourth day in a row he’s skated with teammates as he recovers from a concussion. “After a few days of skating I feel pretty good, so I’m just trying to keep skating and working out and get back in the lineup.”
Powe has been out of the lineup since Game 3 of the first round, when early in the first period he took an elbow from Joel Ward to the head and didn’t return.
“It’s all part of the process, just getting back on the ice and get to playing hockey again,” Powe said. “That’s where I’m at now.”
Defenseman Marc Staal skated in the morning, as well, but was not made available to reporters and is likely to sit out his seventh straight game with his right-eye injury. After the injury on March 5, Staal made a one-game cameo appearance in Game 3 of the first round, but suffered a set back and hasn’t been comfortable since.
It’s looking unlikely the Bruins are going to change their lineup from Games 1 and 2. Coach Claude Julien said that former Rangers’ defenseman Wade Redden might take warmups with the team and could be a possibility, but blue-line stalwarts Dennis Seidenberg and Andrew Ference were both ruled out.