Here we go New York Rangers fans. It’s game seven and it’s gonna be a mad house inside CONSOL Energy Center. The Pittsburgh Penguins posted back to back shut outs against the Rangers only to crack under pressure.
The Rangers are coming into tonight’s game on fire. After winning game one in overtime, the Rangers lost games two, three, and four consecutively. Games two and three were shut outs and game four was a 4-2 loss that seemed to doom the Rangers to another second round elimination in five games. However going into game five in Pittsburgh the Rangers received the news that Martin St. Louis‘ mother had passed away the night before, and when Marty walked into the locker room it seemed to give the team a boost of life. The Rangers went out into game five and rolled over the Penguins 5-1 to force a game 6 on Sunday, Mother’s Day. On a very emotional Mother’s Day, with his father and sister in attendance at Madison Square Garden, St. Louis, and the Rangers skated to a 3-1 victory to force a game seven tonight in Pittsburgh. The key to the Rangers success over the last few games is emotion, they’ve ridden the emotion brought by St. Louis and really turned it into a family like room where they’re all “playing for Marty” to quote center man Derick Brassard. However, there’s been more than a rally around St. Louis, the return of Chris Kreider has without a doubt been a huge boost to the Rangers, his play in game five and game six gave the team an edge over the Penguins. Looking into the game, expect Henrik Lundqvist to have a big game tonight, in his last four game sevens Lundqvist is 4-0 with a 0.75 goals against average and a .973 save percentage in those games. In the pregame associate coach Scott Arniel has stressed it being a “team game”, so look for that tonight.
Looking on the other side of the ice, the most important thing to note is that Evgeni Malkin said this morning that the Penguins WILL win game seven. Not to rain on Malkin’s parade, but he also said that in game six which the Penguins lost. However, Malkin and Sidney Crosby are looking to win tonight and advance to their second straight conference final. They’re going to need better play from their goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury, who in the last two games has allowed seven goals. The Penguins have also been frustrated by the Rangers, and their top guys have been repeatedly engaging in scrums with players like Brian Boyle, Dominic Moore and Derek Dorsett. Proven by the 2012 Philadelphia Flyers, frustration is how you beat the Penguins, and if they want to win tonight they’ll choose not to engage in this activity.
Well, that’s your preview Rangers fans! Enjoy game seven on NBCSN and we’ll see you back here with the post game! Hopefully a happy one!