New York Rangers vs. Ottawa Senators, 7:00 PM at Scotiabank Place
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Six (Senators Lead 3-2)
Where To Watch: MSG Network
Where To Listen: 1050 ESPN Radio, and newyorkrangers.com
Live In-Game Chat: 6:45 PM on BlueshirtsUnited.com
The math is simple. Should the Rangers lose tonight in Ottawa, or Thursday at The Garden, the franchise's best season since 1993-94 will come to a sudden, shocking, crashing halt. But relying on what has helped them to so much success this season, the Rangers are focusing solely on tonight's Game 6 against a confident Senators team that has won two games in a row to push the Blueshirts to the edge of first-round playoff elimination. Shutout 2-0 on home ice in Game 5 Saturday, the Rangers have not scored a goal in the last 116:32 against Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson---who made 41 saves on Saturday. Their last goal was a Ryan Callahan power play marker 6:10 into the first period of Game 4 last Wednesday. The Rangers last even-strength goal came 128:57 ago when Brian Boyle scored the lone goal in Game 3 a week ago tonight in Ottawa. Of course Boyle won't be around this evening to score abnother goal---or to continue to be the Rangers best two-way player as he had been so far in this series. Concussed by Chris Neil's unpenalized hit in the third period of Game 5, Boyle---who leads the Rangers with three goals in this series---will not play this evening. Likely that means rookie Chris Kreider---praised by head coach John Tortorella on Saturday---will remain in the lineup for a fourth straight contest even with fellow rookie Carl Hagelin returning from his three-game suspension tonight. Ottawa hopes to have its captain Daniel Alfredsson back in their lineup this evening. Alfredsson---out three games due to a concussion---skated the past two days and reported feeling "hopeful" he could play in Game 6. The Senators likely will remain without forward Jesse Winchester (upper body injury), with impressive 19 year-old rookie Mark Stone remaining in the lineup.
Rangers-Ryan McDonagh: The young Rangers defenseman has done an outstanding job defensively all series long playing on the Blueshirts top pairing with Dan Girardi. In Game 5 he asserted himself much more on the offensive end as the Rangers tried desperately to find ways to create more offense against Ottawa and their hot goalie Craig Anderson. Look for more of the same from McDonagh tonight.
Senators-Craig Anderson: Thought by many to be the weak link of Ottawa heading into this series, Anderson has instead been its best player. After surrendering four goals in the series opener, he has given up just five goals since---only three in the last three games---including his 41-save masterpiece in Game 5. Plain and simple he could hold the key as to whether or not the Rangers can remain alive tonight.
"Whoever is going to win has to win four, and no one has done that yet. For us to win it's going to have to take seven games, that's all. We'll be fine. We understand the reality of it. We have faced big challenges all year and have come out on top. This is no different. We have to win up there (in Game 6) and bring it home for a Game 7."-Brad Richards
17 previous times in franchise history the Rangers have trailed a playoff series 3-2. Only once did they rally to win the series. That was famously against the Devils in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals. Most recently the Rangers trailed the Buffalo Sabres 3 games to 2 in the 2007 Eastern Conference Semifinals before dropping a heartbreaking Game 6 by the score of 5-4.
The Rangers have won seven of their last nine games at Scotiabank Place, including a split of Games 3 and 4 in Ottawa last week. The Rangers have outscored the Sens 23-13 in those nine games.
Will the Rangers stay alive with a victory in Game 6 tonight? Share your predictions below.