The New York Rangers face a familiar task of winning an elimination game when facing the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight
- Time: 8:00 pm EST
- Location: Amalie Arena- Tampa Bay, FL
- Where to watch/listen: NBCSN/WEPN 98.7
It’s deja vu for the New York Rangers, as they face a “win or go home” contest tonight down in Florida.
Game Six has the Lightning up in the series 3-2 and on the verge of upsetting the President’s Trophy winners to advance to the Stanley Cup final, their first since 2004.
New York Rangers
However, their series with the Tampa Bay Lightning may prove to be their biggest test to date. In the Lightning, they are not just facing superstar Steven Stamkos, but the “Triplet Line” of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, and Ondrej Palat. All of whom have become menaces for the Rangers this series, combining for 8 goals, 10 assists for 18 points.
Not to be left out is Stamkos who has four goals and three assists for seven points against the Rangers these playoffs, including four straight games with a goal. Also, he has scored two points in three of his last four games.
Perhaps, the Rangers biggest obstacle (literally) is Ben Bishop. Standing at 6’7, Bishop has been the bane of the Rangers’ existence. Before the series started, he was undefeated when facing the Blueshirts. After giving up 10 goals in Games Three and Four, he responded with a 26-save performance en route to 2-0 shutout in Game Five.
History Is On Rangers Side
However, the Rangers have been in this situation before and are no strangers to having their backs against the wall.
Since the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the team has faced elimination 17 times. They have won 14 of through their resiliency and determination. Most recently have come at two of their biggest rivals: Pittsburgh Penguins (2014) and the Washington Capitals (2015). Both series, the Rangers overcame 3-1 to win and keep their hopes alive in the postseason.
It’s All About the King
The face of the Rangers franchise for over a decade has been Henrik Lundqvist. That will be put to the test tonight.
However, when facing elimination, Lundqvist has been front and center. Entering tonight, the Rangers goalie is undefeated in his last six starts when playing a Game Six or Game Seven with a 1.13 goals against average and a .965 save percentage.
To further add, the King has a 1.39 GAA and a .956 save percentage, including two shutouts in his last 17 games facing elimination.
A win tonight will add to his brilliancy when facing elimination and mystique.
A Little Help From My Friends
The Rangers offense will need to step up their game. After showing that they can score five or more goals this series, the offense was shutout in Game Five. If they are to win tonight and see Game Seven back in Madison Square Garden, they need to get back to what made them successful in Game Four.
Shots, looking for rebounds, and quicker decision-making with the puck on both even-strength and power play kept the Lightning on their heels. Also, it didn’t hurt that Rick Nash and Marty St. Louis each pitched in the goal column, combining for three of the five goals scored.
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