New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils, 8:00 PM at The Prudential Center
Game 6, Eastern Conference Finals (Devils Lead 3-2)
Where To Watch: NBC Sports Network
90-Minute Postgame Show: MSG Network
Where To Listen: 98.7 FM ESPN New York; and newyorkrangers.com
Live In-Game Chat: 7:45 PM on BlueshirtsUnited.com
As the Rangers have said repeatedly since their fairly devastating 5-3 loss in Game 5 Wednesday night that left them on the brink of playoff elimination, they have been here before. And by before, the Rangers are not dialing back to 1994 when the Blueshirts trailed the Devils three games to two in the Eastern Conference Finals only to beat New Jersey 4-2 in Game 6 and 2-1 in double overtime in Game 7. No, instead this current Rangers group only needs to look back a month to when they erased a 3-2 series deficit against the Ottawa Senators by winning Game 6 on the road and then a heart-stopping 2-1 victory at The Garden in Game 7 to show that what needs to be done now can indeed be done. But it won't be easy, as the Rangers arer fully aware how well and how confident the Devils are playing at present, though head coach John Tortorella did point out that the Rangers "found their game" amidst the madness of Wednesday's Game 5 defeat. Controlling the puck much more often, playing more physically, and creating more offesnive chances, the Rangers more closely resembled their first-place selves in Game 5 then they had previously in the series. And helping in a big way to get the team's mojo back in gear was the reunited line of Brandon Dubinsky-Artem Anisimov-Ryan Callahan, with Callahan, in particular, providing a monster all-around effort, and Dubinsky playing a solid game in his first action in a month. Now with the season on the line the Rangers need all four lines going against a New Jersey squad that received two clutch goals in Game 5 from its fourth line, and whose top-tier players like Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, and Travis Zajac are playing at a high level. The Rangers are 3-0 so far this spring in games in which they face elimination. The Devils are 2-0 in games in which they have the chance to eliminate their opponent. Something will give tonight in Newark.
Rangers-Henrik Lundqvist: After posting shutouts in two of the first three games of the series, Lundqvist has surrendered seven goals combined in the past two (not including two empty-netters). In Game 5, a myriad of things happened en-route to Lundqvist allowing three goals on the first six shots he faced. Simply put, that can not happen again or else the Rangers will have all summer to think things over. Lundqvist is the most valuable Ranger heading into Game 6, and his coach John Tortorella said he is confident Hank will "play his best game" tonight. He must for the team to force another Game 7 on Sunday.
Devils-Martin Brodeur: Lost in the Devils huge win in Game 5 is the fact that Brodeur and his team let a 3-0 stranglehold slip into a 3-3 tie early in the third period. Brodeur has been very good in this series---allowing just ten goals through five games---but poor decisions on his part led directly to two of New York's three goals in Game 5. To his credit, though, Brodeur is fairly unflappable and he bounced back down the stretch of Game 5 to hold the Rangers at bay. Brodeur knows how to close an opponent out---witness 3 Stanley Cup championships---and even at age 40 he is the key for New Jersey tonight in Game 6.
"We know the opportunity we have here. We are one series away from the ultimate prize, a chance at it, so obviously the expectations are higher within this room, and we don't want to let this opportunity slip away. All we can do now is play the way he have all year, and just focus on the next game. It's not about winning two (games). It's about winning the next one."-Ryan McDonagh
Marian Gaborik's goal in the third period on Wednesday was not only his first goal of this series, but his first point. Gaborik had one goal and three points in the Ottawa series and three goals and seven points in the series against Washington, both of which lasted seven games. He is tied for second on the team in playoff scoring at 4-7-11 in 19 games.
Brandon Prust returned from his one-game NHL suspension to score his first career playoff goal on Wednesday night. Prust made his post-season debut last spring, playing in all five games against the Capitals and registering one assist. In his career he has one goal, two assists, and three points in 23 post-season matches.
Do the Rangers force a Game 7 with a road win tonight? Share your predictions below.
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