Game 7: Previewing Senators vs. Rangers

April 3, 2012; Philadelphia, PA USA; New York Rangers right wing Ryan Callahan (24) during the second period against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

It has come down to an elimination game.

For the first time since June of 1994, the New York Rangers are hosting a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden against the Ottawa Senators. In what has been a surprisingly chippy, intense series comes to its conclusion in front of the 18,200 Garden faithful.

On the line for the Blueshirts is a date with the Washington Capitals—who stunned the defending champion Boston Bruins in OT in their own Game 7 last night—in the semifinal round of the playoffs.

The last Game 7 the Rangers did play in was against those same Capitals, losing 2-1 at the Verizon Center. However, the Rangers are 3-0 all-time at MSG in Game 7s, including defeating the New Jersey Devils in the Conference Finals in 94 as well as the Stanley Cup-clinching game against the Vancouver Canucks.

Make sure to check out SenShot and their thoughts heading into Game 7 tonight.

Probable Lines:

Hagelin-Richards-Gaborik
Kreider-Stepan-Callahan
Dubinsky-Anisimov-Fedotenko
Prust-Mitchell-Rupp

McDonagh-Girardi
Staal-Stralman
Del Zotto-Bickel

 

Player to Watch:

While Marian Gaborik will certainly need to play a huge factor for the Rangers if they want to win, the player to focus on will be Brad Richards.

A former Conn Smythe winner, Richards has the big-game experience necessary for this part of the game and the numbers back it up. In the last nine games his teams have faced elimination, Richards has recorded a point in every contest, including scoring the go-ahead goal in Game 6 on the power play.

Don’t think Richards is up to the task? Check out this nugget Larry Brooks of the NY Post got from the Rangers alternate captain:

“I’d rather be here than anywhere else,” Richards said in looking ahead to Thursday night’s first-round Game 7 against the Senators that will be played on Broadway. “There’s pressure on both teams, both want to go on.

“You want to channel the energy in a positive way, treat it as an opportunity, have fun and enjoy it.”

Sounds like a man confident in himself and his team’s ability to get a crucial win when the stakes are high.

 

**Prediction: Rangers end up victorious, eliminating the Senators by a 3-1 score.

Topics: 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators

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