New York Rangers control ECF with 2 out of 3 at home
The New York Rangers might have dropped the last two games to the Tampa Bay Lightning, but they control the series holding home-ice advantage in what is now a best of three contest.
If you told me back in September that come June the New York Rangers would be tied in the Eastern Conference Finals, I would’ve asked you to whatever it is you were smoking!
Tonight, at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers have a chance to put the Lightning on the brink of elimination and put themselves on the cusp of their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Final since 2014. All they need to do is play to the potential fans have witnessed throughout this incredible journey.
Oh! They may have to do it without two stars in Ryan Strome and Filip Chytil as both are considered game-time decisions. Other key players are banged up as well, including Barclay Goodrow, who is giving it all he has despite what appears to be an ankle injury.
New York Rangers must be hungrier
The Rangers are no strangers to doing things the hard way. Including Game 4, Gerard Gallant’s squad have played 17 games in 35 days. That’s Playoff games, not regular-season games where at times the competition can be soft.
Struggling Rangers forward Artemi Panarin feels the team will be hungrier after they missed an opportunity to build on their 2-0 lead heading into Tampa Bay last weekend.
“I think that’s going to make us more hungry and angrier,” Artemi Panarin said via NHL.com. “Sometimes that’s good. It’s how we react. I don’t think we lost our confidence, just be more hungry next game.”
The 30-year-old has 16 points in 18 playoff games but hasn’t looked comfortable in many of the games. The Rangers will be looking for him to find his game if the team has any shot to win Thursday night.
Rangers great at home in the playoffs
The Rangers haven’t lost a home game since Game 1 of the first round against the Pittsburgh Penguins in triple overtime.
They are 8-0 since that game and are 3-0 in home games after a road loss this postseason.
Yet statistics are not how you win playoff hockey games. The Rangers need to perform better at even-strength where they’ve not scored a goal in the last two games.
Despite the team’s inability to put the pick in the net with any consistency, defensemen Jacob Trouba relays the feelings are very positive in the room.
“I think we’re confident,” Trouba said. “We expected to get their best. We’re one of three teams left here so it’s competitive hockey. Yeah, you expect their best, you want their best and we want to show we can beat the best. We’re an up-and-coming team, we’ve arrived and we want to play these games.”
The Rangers will need to post a top-notch performance if they believe they can knock off the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champs.
The lights will shine bright on Broadway when all of the Rangers stars step foot into The Jungle as Chris Kreider dubbed Madison Square Garden. They must do so bringing their absolute best if the hope to continue playing hockey through the end of June.
New York Rangers Playoff Schedule: ECF vs Tampa Bay Lightning
|GM 1: Rangers 6-2||8PM ET||(ESPN, CBC, SN, TVAS)|
|GM 2: Rangers 3-2||8PM ET||(ESPN, CBC, SN, TVAS)|
|GM 3: Lightning 3-2||3PM ET||(ESPN, CBC, SN, TVAS)|
|GM 4: Lightning 4-1||8PM ET||(ESPN, CBC, SN, TVAS)|
|GM 5: Thursday, 6/9 @NYR||8PM ET||(ESPN, CBC, SN, TVAS)|
|GM 6: Saturday, 6/11 @TB||8PM ET||(ESPN, CBC, SN, TVAS)|
|GM 7: Tuesday, 6/14 @NYR*||8PM ET||(ESPN, CBC, SN, TVAS)|
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