New York Rangers will focus on getting more net traffic against Devils

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers know what they have to do in order to win Game 5 against the New Jersey Devils with the series even at two games each.

Get more traffic in front of 22 year-old rookie netminder Akira Schmid.

The 6-5′ goalie is an imposing figure in net, who naturally covers a lot of area due to his sheer size. His solid positioning and decent puck handling skills only adds to the difficulty the Rangers have has since he replaced Vitek Vanecek after Game 2.

“We need to do what we did in the first couple of games and get people at the net,” Gerard Gallant said prior to Game 5.

“We need some screen shots and to start playing in their zone a little more. [Akira Schmid] has looked very good in net but we have to get more traffic and compete going to their net. Simple things, just gotta do it.”

Check out tonight’s Game 5 Preview here

New York Rangers will focus on traffic

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

In the first two games, which the Rangers won by identical 5-1 scores, they did an excellent job of getting to the net. That wasn’t the case often enough in their Game 3 OT loss, and was non-existent in a ‘no show’ performance in Game 4.

“I don’t think we did a good job of getting to the inside as we have [in the first two games],” Chris Kreider admitted.

His close friend and the team’s number one center Mika Zibanejad concurred.

“The first two games we were getting more pucks to the net and we just have go back and do that,” Zibanejad noted.

So here we are in a pivotal Game 5 to take control of the series and move one win closer to advancing. Tonight, the Rangers must find ways to get more traffic and secondary chances on Schmid. The youngster has been sharp and extremely economic in his movements with impressive was his poise. That was noticeable after giving up the first goal in Game 3, then shutting it down the rest of the way allowing the Devils to comeback and win it in overtime.

Of course, pressure only builds in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and in Game 4 there were several moments where he was having difficulty controlling his rebounds. Thanks to good luck in the first few minutes of play, it likely changed the course of his night. After letting a shot squirt through his body and into the crease, he was saved by a wild clear that sprung Jack Hughes on a breakaway for the game’s first score.

There were also several other occasions where he didn’t look as comfortable handling some low danger shots. It’s a clear sign that the Rangers need to put a huge emphasis on throwing as many shots Schmid’s way while also getting traffic in front for tips and rebounds.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore