After their first day off in ten days on Thursday, the Rangers returned to work on Friday, practicing at Madison Square Garden. All healthy Blueshirts took part in the up-tempo session, including defenseman Steve Eminger, who continues to work his way back from an ankle injury.
Several players described the team as "loose" yet "focused" and "confident" heading into Saturday's crucial Gam5 against the Ottawa Senators at The Garden. The best-of-seven first-round series is now down to a best-of-three after Ottawa's 3-2 overtime victory Wednesday evened things up at two games apiece.
"I think momentum is more in-game, to me," explained defenseman Ryan McDonagh following practice. "Yeah, (the Senators) feel good about themselves after an overtime win, and they should because they played hard in their own building and came out with a win, but I think a day off in-between kind of settles everyone down. I'd say we are really focused, and we remain confident."
Head coach John Tortorella was not in an expansive mood when he met with reporters after practice, though on Thursday he reiterated how good he feels about how the Rangers have played, for the most part, in this series.
Many questions have been asked since Game 4 if the Rangers need more production from their star players in this series. Tortorella did not directly answer the question during a conference call on Thursday, but team captain Ryan Callahan did address the question on Friday.
"Your best players have to be at their best, especially at this time of the year" explained Callahan. "You're going to have other guys step up and score goals---like (Brian) Boyle has and (Anton) Stralman has two now---but for us to win the series we have to have our top guys going."
The Rangers' leading scorer in the regular season, Marian Gaborik, has one goal and three points through four games following his two-assist effort on Wednesday. However he has been limited to just seven shots on goal so far in the series. Brad Richards, second on the team in scoring during the regular season, also has a goal and two assists in the series, though he has fired a team-best 19 shots on goal to date. Callahan is tied for the team lead with two goals and three points, so far.
"We have to get more pucks to the net, get some bodies there, because (Craig Anderson) is seeing the shots," explained Callahan. "If we do that we should be able to bang in some rebounds and be more successful."