Can The Rangers Find The Spirit of ’42?

Can the Rangers pick themselves up and find the winning spirit? (Getty Images)

Can the Rangers pick themselves up and find the winning spirit? (Getty Images)

In 1942, the Toronto Maple Leafs overcame a 3-0 hole to win the Stanley Cup. It also marked the 1st time a Stanley Cup Final went a full 7 games. 72 years later, the NY Rangers find themselves in the same hole. 

The Toronto club had a reputation for not having the ‘killer instinct’ after several trips to the finals without bringing home the ultimate prize. Coach Day, desperate at this point, used two different strategies to try to turn his team’s fortunes around.

Syl Apps helped bring The Cup to Toronto in 1942

First, he benched his leading scorer Gordie Drillon and also curtailed the ice time for his big defenceman, Bucko McDonald. He then inserted younger, faster forwards Don Metz and Hank Goldup as well as rookie defenceman Ernie Dickens. Secondly, he read a letter to the team from a fan, a young girl who was pleading for her beloved Leafs to make a seemingly impossible comeback in the series. The players took this appeal to heart and together with the line-up changes, the Leafs were able to come back from a two-goal deficit in game four. They went on to not only win that game, but the next three contests and became the only team to lose the first three games in a final series and come back with four-straight wins. The Leafs finally proved that they could handle the pressure and go all the way.*

*Taken from the Toronto Maple Leafs site

If you look hard enough at the 2014 Rangers, you can find some parallels to the 1942 Leafs. NY has often been accused of not having a “killer instinct”. Proof positive would be how many 2 goal leads they blew between games 1 and 2.

Now, Alain Vigneault will not be scratching Brad Richards (far from his best player) but he may take him off the power play. It’s also possible that he could read a fan’s letter, but isn’t that what blogs are for? Whatever the case, the Rangers need to take it one shift, one period and one game at a time.

So how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. That is what the Rangers will look to do against a team who did just that in round 1 this year. The L.A. Kings took out the San Jose Sharks in similar fashion and that was their approach.

The Blueshirts will need to get game 4, often considered the most likely to win for the team that’s down. Then the hardest victory, if you are on the road like NY will be is game 5. The Kings will throw it all at them, if they can survive, then their is reason to hope. The momentum the Rangers could take back to NY for a game 6 will be hard to overcome and would almost guarantee a game 7 in L.A.

Still, one bite at a time. It’s all the NY can do. Who knows, a game 4 win could help them find the Spirit of ’42. Wouldn’t that be a story.

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We leave you with the story of the 1942 Leafs.

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