Game 3 Rangers must win and Glass is in for Buchnevich

Game 3 will start in 10 minutes. For the Rangers, it’s do or die. Not literally. But if they don’t win on home ice at MSG tonight, then they may as well book tee times for the rest of the month.

Here they are trailing the Senators 2-0 with both losses in excruciating fashion. Game 1 on Erik Karlsson’s sharp angle goal that stunned Henrik Lundqvist. Game 2 on Jean-Gabriel Druce Pageau scoring twice in the final 3:19 and then bombing one past Lundqvist in double overtime for a four goal night in an improbable Ottawa 6-5 win in sudden death. One in which Nick Holden got caught pinching on the winner leaving Marc Staal to defend a two-on-one. He gave Pageau the shot and he hit the top corner with a bullet.

So, now the Blueshirts must dig deep at MSG. Win tonight and they’re back in it. So, what is Alain Vigneault’s response? Naturally, to bench Pavel Buchnevich for Tanner Glass. Nothing against Glass, who’ll work hard on a fourth line with Oscar Lindberg and whipping boy J.T. Miller. But how can Vigneault justify rolling four lines? It’s gonna be hard against Ottawa, who can play four and have proven fully capable unlike Montreal.

Miller looked better in the last game and what’s his reward. On a mismatched fourth line that probably will get on the score sheet. Isn’t that how it always works? Miller should be on one of the top two lines. Enough of this crap. Sure. His postseason has been miserable. But he was one of the most dangerous Rangers in the third period and the overtimes after Vigneault cut down to 10 forwards and moved him up.

With AV, he is stubborn to a fault. Loyal to the mismatched Staal/Holden pair that has been a nightmare. Unwilling to play Brady Skjei and Brendan Smith enough. If he doesn’t tonight, it’s his funeral.

For the 18 skaters including Lundqvist, who better deliver after an awful Game 2, they know what’s at stake. I’m guaranteeing a Rangers victory. I believe in this experienced group and their character. Now, it’s time for them to show it!

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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