With a chance to eliminate the Washington Capitals later tonight, the Rangers took part in a full morning skate Wednesday at the Verizon Center. While one might imagine there might be an air of expectancy about the opportunity to advance into the Eastern Conference Finals with a win this evening within the Rangers dressing room, the vibe instead was one of a typical work day. The Rangers calmly went about their business and emphasized that they are absolutely not looking past this evening.
"We talked about it after last game that we won't change our approach," goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said after the skate. "Personally, I am going into this game the same way I've gone into each game of these playoffs: I am not going to change anything. We know they are going to come hard, and they've been playing hard every game. But I think the last few games we've been playing really well, so we feel confident and know what we have to do."
No lineup changes are expected for the Rangers, as once again Steve Eminger, John Scott, and Jeff Woywitka remained on the ice with rehabbing forward Mats Zuccarello after their teammates finished their morning skate. Zuccarello indicated he might still be about two weeks away from being ready to play in a game as he works his way back from a fractured wrist.
Washington may be missing sparkplug forward Jay Beagle, however, tonight. Beagle, who has one assist in this series and is 1-1-2 while playing 18+ minutes of gritty hockey a night in the post-season, did not take part in the Caps morning skate Wednesday, and is suspected of having a possible lower body injury. Should he not be able to play veteran Jeff Halpern---who has yet to appear in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs---could get the call to action.
"Listen, it's do or die for them," noted Ruslan Fedotenko. "Every team is desperate this time of year."
The Rangers are standing firm in the belief that a kew to tonight's Game 6 is that they meet and match Washington's state of desperation.
"We understand that this is an opportunity and we have to address it that way with the proper approach," stated Mike Rupp. "You have to take advantage of your opportunities this time of the year. We have to make sure we find a way to get it done."