Rangers Game 4: the Mustache Gang Can Take Control - NBC New York

Rangers Game 4: the Mustache Gang Can Take Control

The Rangers can build on momentum with a strong Game Four



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    And the mustache shall lead them to glory.

    It says a lot for the Rangers-Capitals series that the last two days off from games have been almost as entertaining as the first three on-ice contests.

    You had the Times doing their motto proud by digging up every last bit of news there was to print on the Rangers' decision to turn tradition on its head and grow playoff mustaches instead of beards. The move toward making Ned Flanders the team's icon fits right into the spirit of camaraderie that's carried the Rangers to this point.

    Caps coach Bruce Boudreau wasn't in quite such a humorous mood.

    His radio interview slamming the Garden and Rangers fans garnered a ton of publicity and helped raise the level of animosity in the series to a fever pitch in advance of Wednesday night.

    Boudreau did a lot more than bait the fans, however. He also spent a good portion of the interview bellyaching about the referees allowing dirty play during Sunday's Rangers win.

    His complaints fell on deaf ears at the NHL offices, but they did reveal a little something about the mindset of the Caps as they prepare for Game Four.

    Coaches always work the refs over the course of a playoff series, rightly believing that one call can swing a game their direction, but Boudreau's lashing out at everything and anything speaks to a deeper fear.

    The Capitals have had a hard time playing as favorites in the playoffs in recent years and the fact that they haven't been able to show much separation from the Rangers through the first three games.

    That has very little do with the quality of the locker rooms at MSG or the officiating, but Boudreau can't really stand up and tell his team that they are underachieving yet again.

    He won't have to do that if the Rangers can come out and give the same kind of effort that they gave on Sunday. It will be written all over their faces as they slink back to Washington to prepare for Game Five.

    All it takes is a win tonight to start the mustache ride to the second round and, thanks to Boudreau, the Rangers are going to have a full-throated crowd helping them get one.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.