AT A GLANCE: After dropping the first two games of an Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Bruins, the Rangers return home to Madison Square Garden looking to hold serve and even the series. Home ice has been good to the Rangers, with the Blueshirts posting a 16-6-2 record at MSG in the regular season and a 3-0 record in the playoffs. That seems to be a playoff trend across the league. According to the NHL, home teams are 40-18 in the 2013 playoffs, including a 10-1 record in the second round.
AGAINST THE ODDS: History is not on the Rangers' side, however. Yes, they erased a 2-0 series deficit in the first round, defeating the Capitals in seven games. But according to Elias Sports Bureau, no NHL team has overcome a 2-0 series deficit to win consecutive best-of-seven series in one playoff year.
KILLER INSTINCT: The Bruins held a two-game series lead in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, too, versus the Toronto Maple Leafs. Down 3-1 heading into Game 5, the Leafs rattled off two straight wins to even the series and force a Game 7. The Bruins don’t want to make the same mistake twice. “We try to learn from every situation,” said Boston’s Brad Marchand. “We realize we let [Toronto] back in it. We didn’t have that killer instinct. We want to make sure to try and step up and do the job.”
DEFENDING DAN: Rangers coach John Tortorella expects top-pair defenseman Dan Girardi to bounce back after an abysmal Game 2 in which he was on the ice for all five Bruins goals and finished the 5-2 loss with a minus-4 rating. Tortorella said he expects Girardi’s “best game” Tuesday. “I don’t have to say a word to Danny Girardi,” Tortorella said. “He’s one of the best defensemen in the NHL. He had a tough night. He knows it.”
RARE COMPLIMENT: Tortorella, who often refuses to discuss an opposing team or player, deviated from the norm in his pregame press conference Tuesday morning. Tortorella praised the play of Marchand and called him “the best player in the series so far.” The Bruins’ leading man notched the game winner in Game 1 and Boston's critical fourth goal in Game 2.
BANGED-UP BLUE LINE: Veteran defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and ex-Ranger Wade Redden both practiced with the Bruins in the team’s morning skate at MSG, though it appears unlikely that either will return to the lineup for Game 3. In the absence of Seidenberg, Redden and alternate captain Andrew Ference (who did not skate Tuesday), the Bruins have rounded out their back end with three rookies: Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug. The 22-year-old Krug has two goals and three points in his first two NHL playoff games.