Three reasons why the Rangers will close out the series tonightThe New York Rangers are just one MSG win away from closing out the first round of the playoffs and awaiting the winner of the Ottawa vs. Boston series (currently 3-2 Ottawa). Tonight the Rangers will put together their best game of the playoffs and close out the Canadiens.
Reason 1: Henrik Lundqvist
Lundqvist understands the opportunity presented to him and his team tonight. He relishes the chance to take down his counterpart and all-world goalie, Carey Price. What also should play in his favor is the desperation factor Montreal will feel in beating him on the first shot. If Lundqvist can see it, he is going to stop it.
There is also a lot of rumblings that Montreal is going to try and crash the net tonight. This will inevitably lead to bumping the King, which in turn will fire him up and likely result in a few extra PP chances for the Rangers.
Whether the Rangers score or not, that will at least slow down or disrupt Montreal’s rhythm and flow.
Reason 2: ExperienceThis is a battle tested group. Sure the Rangers have some young players like Jimmy Vesey, and Pavel Buchnevich experiencing their first playoffs, but overall this group knows the situation. They understand the peril of going back to Montreal for a game 7 that could be decided by a raucous crowd and a bad bounce.
No, tonight players like Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh will put forth a stellar performance on defense that will inspire the rest of their teammates. Tonight, players like Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello, and Derek Stepan will lead the charge on offense. Their play in these situations are key in keeping the younger guys calm and elevating the play of others like Kevin Hayes and Chris Kreider.
While an offensive outburst would be nice for the nerves of all Rangers fans, the likelihood of that is very low. The key is for the leadership group up front to play with poise, discipline, and composure.
Reason 3: Special Teams
The Rangers have yet to score a power play goal in this series. Well, I’m calling it…they will get one tonight.
Listen, this isn’t some crystal ball or analytics based prediction…it simply is a bound to happen call. The Canadiens have been playing physical and dirty all series. They also will make attempts to bump Lundqvist which leads me to believe the Rangers may get 4 or 5 chances on the PP tonight.
One is eventually going to produce a goal. It may not be pretty and will likely deflect in off an ankle, leg or butt! Regardless, it will count and that could be the difference in the game tonight. I will say that a pretty pp goal off the stick of Buchnevich would be just what the doctor ordered.
On the PK, the Rangers have been very good and own a shorthanded goal for. That needs to continue tonight. And if you add all these reasons together, the Rangers could be sitting pretty for a few days healing and resting up for their next opponent.