Tonight Ranger fans got to see something that hasn't happened in the Garden in ages...a playoff sweep and a date in the second round of the playoffs. It was our first playoff series win in 10 years....and boy did it feel good. The atmosphere at the Garden the past 2 games was sensational and the Rangers fed off of it and played near perfect hockey both games.
What can you say about Henrik Lundqvist these days...the guy just seems to be getting stronger and stronger as the games pass. Nylander, Shanahan, Callahan and Jagr led the way on offense and this team seemed to click in all aspects of the game during this sweep. Atlanta just seemed like they were at the wrong place at the wrong time. They are a very solid team, but they just ran into a team that is playing its best hockey of the season, plain and simple. The Lehtonen/Hedberg situation also made it difficult for the Thrashers as that was not executed well at all. But that team will be back in the playoffs next season with a little more experience under the belt and they should be much more competitive next time around.
All in all every Ranger fan has to be going to bed tonight thinking that this team has the ability and drive to make a serious push in the playoffs, as long as Tom Renney keeps the boys in line. I will certainly not get overconfident, knowing we could be facing Buffalo or Ottawa in the next round, two very tough teams who have a ton of talent and just as much drive as we have to win it all...but you definitely have be very, very encouraged by what you saw in Round 1.