The New York Rangers won Game 6, showing their skills, but there is still a lot of hockey to be played. Here is what the Rangers must do to win Game 7.
In general, the Rangers got better in many ways as the game went on. Being physical was one of those ways and they need to continue doing this.
Hits are big part of being aggressive, but using the body to block shots helps as well. They had 21 blocked shots and 20 hits. Hits can create plays, where blocking shots can stop the opposing team from scoring. As obvious as this is, these basics can change the course of a game. The less shots on goal, the less chance of scoring. Simple.
Another factor for staying aggressive is going hard after the puck after it is shot either in the offensive zone or defensive zone. The Rangers are a really good team behind the net when they battle for the puck. Better plays are made when they enter either zone with speed. The Devils do this as well and they did a much better job at stopping them at their speed game.
When I say take risks I don’t mean force plays that aren’t there. When the Rangers do less of this, they play better. Forcing something to happen that isn’t there in the first place leads to giving up the puck, creating breakaways from the opposing team, and lots of angry fans.
Risks would include having players near the net in the offensive zone. If the Rangers keep two guys back and bring three in, always keep at least one right on the net. The Rangers did that a lot in Game 6 and it allowed for them to have a ton of scoring chances.
Everyone talks about having home ice advantage and for good reason. The fans get the home team pumped up and that can give the players more adrenaline and confidence. For some teams, it just doesn’t seem to matter where they play.
The Rangers are an incredible team when they play away games. They won their first two games in Jersey. They had one of the best regular season records away at 24-9-8 and they need to remember this. Keeping this in mind can lead to a Game 7 victory to where they would face the Carolina Hurricanes in Round 2.
Game 6 was a great game for the Rangers. Before the game, I was thinking of Mark Messier in the ’94 playoffs when he said they were going to win Game 6 in their series against the Devils. Ironically, the Rangers were also down 3-2 in the best of 7. Not only did they win, but Messier got a hat trick. Not just any hat trick either. He scored a natural hat trick, scoring three consecutive goals, which occurred in the third period.
Although nobody got a hat trick this time, they did win and are now heading to Jersey. Will the Rangers do a repeat and take Game 7? Does their excellent road record continue? Monday night we will all find out.