New York managed to win a game in the Stanley Cup Final last Wednesday, but tonight they face a hungry Kings’ team in LA. Darryl Sutter will have his charges ready to close out this series and win the Cup. Will the Rangers be able to find the intensity level to match what a superior Kings team will bring tonight?
The Rangers will need to play like they did in the first periods of games 1,2 and 4 in order to have a chance. For all the confidence the Kings’ have in themselves, a loss tonight and a flight back to NY will leave them rattled. You’ll never know it from interviews because they will say all the right things, but it will appear in their body language on the ice.
Ryan McDonagh says Rangers looking for “redemption” at Staples Center after holding – and losing – 2-goal leads in OT defeats in Games 1/2
— Andrew Gross (@AGrossRecord) June 13, 2014
So what will it take to win the most impossible game of an improbable comeback? It begins in goal with Henrik Lundqvist who is showing the “Royal Cockroaches” that he may be The King of Roaches in elimination games.
Henrik Lundqvist on Game 5 opportunity: “If we win tomorrow, they’re definitely going to feel the pressure.” — Andrew Gross (@AGrossRecord) June 13, 2014
Henrik Lundqvist must be every bit as good as he was in game 4 for NY to have a chance. From there they will need to play with a “devil may care” attitude and simply take it to L.A. shift after shift. Rick Nash is going to need to bury one of his chances tonight and the rest of the Rangers need to follow suit.
Lundqvist: “You just try to stay in that moment and focus on the next shot. It was pretty intense at times, but you try just to stay calm.”
— Sean Hartnett (@HartnettHockey) June 13, 2014
Still, as we saw in game 4, you need puck luck. Yes, little mountains of snow on the goal line and maybe some old Rangers ghosts on the ice bouncing some pucks NY’s way. In a game of this magnitude, that could be the difference in a win or a loss.
Alain Vigneault can keep on defusing the Rangers situation with his Netflix reference all he wants. If he doesn’t make the right moves to fix this anemic power play by removing Brad Richards and inserting Rick Nash, all could be lost tonight.
Dan Carcillo is also fresh and could give Derek Dorsett a rest on the fourth line. He had some chemistry with Brad Richards earlier in the playoffs and that combo could work again. However, AV can be very stubborn when it comes to making some of those changes in the playoffs. He needs to adapt as much as anyone tonight.
The Kings want this real bad, and they can taste it. The Blueshirts know this could be the end of the line or the continuation os something incredible. Many of the Rangers have said at this point, it’s no longer about skill but will.
So tonight, will the Rangers overcome the met daunting challenge of these playoffs? If they can bring this back to Madison Square Garden on Monday night, a game 7 is almost guaranteed.
LET’S GO RANGERS
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) June 13, 2014