New York Rangers star-filled lineup failing under pressure

The New York Rangers are once again in the familiar position of having their backs up against the wall facing elimination.

In last season’s run to the Eastern Conference Final, they were down 3-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first-round before roaring back to win in 7 games. They followed that up with another series comeback victory down 3-2 to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Eventually, they ran out of gas against the Tampa Bay Lightning falling in six games after taking a 2-0 series lead.

Now here they are in the first-round of the 2022-23 playoffs facing elimination against a younger, faster, and hungrier New Jersey Devils team despite winning the first two games by a combined score of 10-2.

So can they win the next two games and take the series because they have the prior experience of doing it?

Anyone who has watched these last two games is seeing a Rangers team that can’t deal with the Devils’ speed and hustle. They are watching a team that has no response or pushback to New Jersey’s aggressive play.

For what it’s worth, the Blueshirts look done. That being said, they still have a pulse and will have to prove to everyone what they’re made of.

New York Rangers need to show up

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils
Apr 20, 2023; Newark, New Jersey, USA; New York Rangers right wing Patrick Kane (88) celebrates his goal with teammates during the third period in game two of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Normally, I would include comments by the players for an article like this because they’re the ones on the ice and in the trenches.

Although today, I’m pretty sure fans don’t want to read the same cliché soundbites about taking it one shift at a time, or we he have to play a full 60 minutes. People are tired of hearing them talk about getting more shots and traffic on the Devils’ net. That’s because they’ve been saying it from the moment Game 3 ended and can’t get it done.

No one who cheers for the Blueshirts wants anything to do with that noise heading into the weekend. Especially not after an even more abysmal performance in Game 5 then the no show effort of Game 4.

It was bad enough that both Artemi Panarin and Vladimir Tarasenko were completely asleep on a draw that allowed Ondrej Palat to open the scoring just 39 seconds into the match. However, to be outshot 20-2 in a third period where you’re the team down 3-0 is shockingly terrible.

Somehow these Rangers in a crucial contest of a series tied at 2 games each could not score a goal on a 22 year-old rookie goalie. For the game, they registered a grand total of only 23 shots. Aside from a solid glove save by Akira Schmid off a Panarin wrister in the slot early on, the Blueshirts collection of superstars were a non-factor.

There’s no point in calling out individual players when you win and lose as group. The whole team needs to show up.

One thing is certain, despite fans being angry after blowing a 2-0 series lead, they will be at the Garden or watching from home tomorrow. They’ll be cheering for every goal and save while holding their breath on every Devils’ chance.

There’s no doubt that Rangers fans are going to show up on Saturday night for Game 6.

Will the Rangers?