Tonight the NY Rangers are up against the wall of elimination. Again. The Pittsburgh Penguins are looking to close out a series with a road win. Again. This is not unfamiliar territory for either team. At 7pm ET tonight, the puck will drop inside Madison Square Garden and the fate of each team rests on their own shoulders.
After winning game one in over time, the Rangers have looked worse than anemic. Star players didn’t play like stars and the bottom six forwards were tired from carrying the top six for so long. after two straight shut outs the Rangers still were not sparked to fight for their lives. Martin St. Louis lost his mother unexpectedly, and that sparked the Rangers. With today being Mother’s Day, St. Louis is not any less emotional. As they have done all season, Mats Zuccarello and Brad Richards are leading the team in points with eight this post season; they have three goals each. Zuccarello has four points in the last two games while Ryan McDonagh has returned to form with three points in the last two games. Dan Girardi leads the defense with five points in 12 games, yeah that is amazing for a not so offensively minded player like Girardi. Henrik Lundqvist has been the constant for this team. His 2.16 goals against average and his .921 save percentage speak for themselves. Derick Brassard is coming off a three-point game on Friday night, including two goals. While the hockey world waits to see if Rick Nash will ever get a goal in this post season. Chris Kreider has two points in his two games back from injury; that is huge for the Rangers as well. Kevin Klein leads all Rangers with a +6 goal differential.
Marc-Andre Fleury was rattled in game four and visibly cracked in game five. The Rangers are in his brain and need to stay there if they want to win. Fleury is 7-4 this post season with a 2.37 goals against average and a .918 save percentage. Evgeni Malkin leads the Penguins with seven assists for 13 points and has a +6 goal differential. Malkin also has six goals in as many games for the Penguins, that’s a lot. Crosby has been relatively quiet thus far. One goal for nine points makes him only slightly more valuable than the Rangers’ Rick Nash who has five assists. Jussi Jokinen has six goals for nine points in the post season. His eight game point streak was snapped on Friday night. Kris Letang has six points in this post season, after returning from his stroke. His play has gotten progressively better through the series. Fleury remains the Penguins’ only goal tender option while Tomas Vokoun continues to suffer from blood clot complications. Brooks Orpik, Pascal Dupuis, and Chris Connor are all out with injuries as well.
The Entire season hinges on this game. Win or stay home. Let’s Go Rangers! I’m not ready for the season to end.