New York Rangers vs. Washington Capitals, 7:30 PM at the Verizon Center
Game Six, Eastern Conference Semifinals (Rangers Lead 3-2)
Where To Watch: NBC Sports Network
Where To Listen: 1130-AM, Bloomberg Radio, and newyorkrangers.com
Live In-Game Chat: 7:15 Pm on BlueshirtsUnited.com
Coming off one of the most dramatic victories in franchise history Monday night in Game 5, the Rangers now look to close out their second-round series with the Washington Capitals on the road Wednesday in Game 6. A win on Wednesday would send the Rangers to their first Eastern Conference Finals in 15 years. Having let the resilient Caps off the mat once already in this series---Washington won Game 4 after a devastating triple-overtime loss to the Rangers in Game 3---the Rangers will look to drop the hammer in Game 6 after stunning the Capitals Monday at The Garden with a Brad Richards game-tying goal with 6.6 seconds to play and a Marc Staal overtime winner just 1:35 into the extra period. But the Rangers are well aware of how resilient Washington is. The Capitals have not lost back-to-back games at all during the post-season, and have not done so at all since March 22-23 in the regular season. In addition the Rangers know full well how a team can stare down the adversity of a 3-2 series deficit and still advance by winning Games 6 and 7 because they did it themselves in the opening round against Ottawa.
Rangers-Anton Stralman: While Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal and Michael Del Zotto receive the most attention of the Rangers defensemen, Stralman has quietly had himself an excellent playoff run, so far. Playing strong in both ends---and handling the physical rigors of post-season hockey---Stralman was praised by head coach John Tortorella Tuesday for his vastly improved consistency ane willingness to compete. Stralman scored his third post-season goal and logged more than 17 minutes of ice-time in Game 5. More of the same will go a long way in helping the Rangers advance to the third round.
Capitals-Braden Holtby: The rookie allows the tying goal in the final seconds of regulation and the winner just 1:35 into overtime, and puts his team on the brink of playoff elimination just two days ago. How will he respond now in Game 6? Holtby's brief history suggests he will rally just fine. In his last 28 career NHL starts---including 12 in the 2012 post-season---Holtby has not lost back-to-back games. However, he is just 22 years old, and Monday was as devastating a defeat as any goalie could deal with. Much will be learned about Braden Holtby on Wednesday night.
"We want to close it out. We want to get this over with. It's a lot easier said than done, but we want to have the mindset we are as desperate as they are. We have to bring that right into the first shift, and try to get this over with right away. We have to have that mentality."-Brad Richards
The Rangers are 15-17 all-time in Game Sixes. They beat Ottawa 3-2 on the road this spring in the first round after having lost their only two other Game Sixes since the lockout (5-3 to the Caps in 2009, and 5-4 to the Sabres in 2007).
The Rangers have four of the top eight top scoring defensemen in the playoffs, so far. Dan Girardi and Michael Del Zotto, who both are 1-5-6, are tied for third, while Anton Stralman (3-2-5) and Marc Staal (2-3-5) are tied for eighth.
Will the Rangers finish off the Capitals tonight and advance for a date in the Eastern Conference Finals with the Devils? Share your prediction below.