Rangers fighting to stay alive host Devils for Game 6
The New York Rangers entered this season as one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup after making a run to the Eastern Conference Final last year.
Meanwhile, the New Jersey Devils failed to make the playoffs with a 7th place finish in 2021-22. However, this season they exploded on the scene to a second-place finish and have the Rangers on the verge of elimination.
It’s do-or-die time at the Garden for the Blueshirts in Game 6.
Here’s tonight’s game and broadcast info:
New York Rangers (2-3) vs New Jersey Devils (3-2)
Date/Time: April 29, 2023 at 8:00 PM ET
Arena: Madison Square Garden
Radio: ESPN 98.7
Rangers look to force Game 7
In a stunning turn of events, the Rangers have lost the last three games of this series after jumping out to a 2-0 lead on the strength of back-to-back 5-1 victories.
Akira Schmid taking over in goal for Vitek Vanecek has sparked the Devils with his steadiness and ability to play the puck aiding in transition. Combined with New Jersey’s commitment to aggressive defense and relentless puck pursuit, they have the Rangers on the brink.
“Manage the puck,” captain Jacob Trouba warned. “They’re going to get opportunities with their speed. Make smart plays. Sometimes you have to dump and not the cross-ice pass or pretty play. It’s not sexy but that’s what it takes to play against them.”
The Rangers power play has also fizzled out after going 4 for 10 in the first two contests with Chris Kreider scoring four of his five playoff goals on the man advantage. They will need that to come alive if they hope to force a Game 7.
Head coach Gerard Gallant appears to be shaking up the lineup in advance of Game 6 by demoting Artemi Panarin to the third line.
Per multiple reports, here are the projected forward lines:
- Kreider – Zibanejad – Tarasenko
- Lafreniere – Trocheck – Kane
- Panarin – Chytil – Kakko
- Vesey – Goodrow – Motte
Larry Brooks of the NY Post asked if this move was to spark the team or find some new chemistry, Gallant responded that it was “a little of both.”
The Devils are just one win away from winning a first round series for the first time since 2011-12. That season, they defeated the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final but fell to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Final.