No easy road for Rangers facing elimination against Panthers in Game 6

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at Florida Panthers
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers dream season could officially end in a nightmare as they return to Florida facing elimination against the Panthers. Down 3-2 heading in Game 6 on Saturday, it will take their absolute best to stay alive and force a Game 7 at the Garden on Monday.

“We’ve said it multiple times: Winning the Stanley Cup is not supposed to be easy,” Vincent Trocheck said via NHL.com. “It’s these kind of moments that really form a team into a team that can become a championship team. So I think going into tomorrow, we just have to not take for granted the position that we’re in and not take for granted the opportunity that we have ahead of us.”

The Blueshirts are in this position after dropping both Game’s 4 and 5 by 3-2 scores. Despite Igor Shesterkin continuously giving them elite goaltending and a chance to win, the Rangers are struggling to penetrate the tough Panthers’ defense to reach those key high-danger scoring areas.

In New York’s three losses during this Eastern Conference Final, they’ve scored a grand total of four goals. It’s simply not good enough against a battle-tested Florida squad that is content to grind games out and win it by one goal.

If the team hopes to continue on, they will need more from their top players, as well as depth guys. There were signs of an offensive spark in Thursday’s loss with Chris Kreider finally writing his name on the scoresheet in this series with a shorthanded goal. Mika Zibanejad also picked up his first points against the Panthers with two assists, and Artemi Panarin had double-digit shot attempts.

“Win a game,” Kreider stated, “Go down there and win one game. Play our best game, and give ourselves a chance.”

Easier said than done, but the Rangers have no other choices.

Here’s today’s game and broadcast info:

New York Rangers vs Florida Panthers (GAME 6)
Date/Time: June 1, 2024 @ 8:00 PM ET
Arena: Amerant Bank Arena
TV: ABC
Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM
Series: 3-2 (FL)

Note: Subject to change, updated for each game

Related: 3 reasons for optimism against Panthers

New York Rangers projected lineup

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at Florida Panthers
Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s the expected lineup:

Kreider – Zibanejad – Chytil
Panarin – Trocheck – Lafreniere
Roslovic– Wennberg – Kakko
Cuylle – Goodrow – Rempe

Lindgren – Fox
Miller – Scheider
Gustafsson – Trouba

Shesterkin
Quick

Note: The Rangers will hold a morning skate at 11:30 A.M. ET. Head coach Peter Laviolette will address the media around that time. Check back here for updates.

New York Rangers vs Florida Panthers (Round 3)

GAMEDATETIME/RESULTLOCATIONTV
1May 22L, 3-0MSGESPN
2May 24W, 2-1 (OT)MSGESPN
3May 26W, 5-4 (OT)FLABC
4May 28L, 3-2 (OT)FLESPN
5May 30L, 3-2MSGESPN
6Jun 18 PM ETFLABC
7Jun 38 PM ETMSGESPN (If needed)
Rangers vs Panthers schedule

Rangers leading playoff scorers:

Goals – Kreider (8), Lafreniere (8), Trocheck (8)
Assists – Zibanejad (13)
Points – Trocheck (19)

Rangers playoff goalie stats:

Igor Shesterkin: 10-5, 2.36 GAA, .924 SV%

Notes:

This is the second time the Rangers have played the Panthers in the playoffs. They won the 1997 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal in five games. Wayne Gretzky led the team in scoring with six points (four goals, two assists), including a memorable natural hat trick in the second period of Game 4. New York was 1-2-0 during the regular-season against Florida, but are 6-1-1 in their last eight at home against them.

The Rangers are just the sixth Presidents’ Trophy winner to reach the Conference Final since 2004.

Matt Rempe became the first Rangers’ player to score a goal in his NHL Playoffs debut since defenseman Matt Gilroy scored in Game 1 of the 2011 Conference Quarterfinals against the Capitals.

Including the regular season and playoffs, when the Rangers score four or more goals in a game, they are 41-0-1.

Including the regular season and playoffs, the Rangers have 34 comeback wins setting an NHL single-season record.

New York tied a franchise record set in 1994 winning seven straight games to open the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Rangers have four overtime wins in the playoffs, tying the franchise record set by the 2014-15 squad.

The Rangers are 25-22 all-time in Game 6s.

Upcoming Milestones

  • The next Rangers playoff shutout will be the first since Henrik Lundqvist beat the Montreal Canadiens 2-0 on 4/12/17 (R1, G1).
  • Chris Kreider is 1 goal away for most franchise goals when facing elimination. He’s tied with Mark Messier at 16 goals.

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

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