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Confidence and resiliency is the locker room message for the Rangers in Game 5

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers celebrate a goal 5-6

The Rangers are going to have to be at their best tonight, with an edge to their game and their offense at their best. The odds are against them, but they’ve done it before. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

With their backs against the wall, facing elimination in Game 5, the Rangers ae in a must win situation at Madison Square Garden tonight Game 5, needing a win if they want to extend their season and keep the Stanley Cup hopes alive.

The Rangers have scored just one goal on 59 shots against Braden Holtby in the two games away from home, suffering two losses despite playing good hockey. Holtby has been playing very well, the defensive effort from the Capitals has been strong, and the Rangers have not gotten consistent production from all over the ice.

All of this sums up to a 3-1 series deficit, and needing to win three straight games against the Capitals in order to advance to the Eastern Conference Final. While that’s obviously not easy to do, the Rangers do not need to search far for inspiration when it comes to overcoming significant deficits.

Just last season, the Rangers found themselves in the exact same situation, trailing three games to one against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal. Inspired by Martin St. Louis’ dedication to the team following the passing of his mother, they were able to rally and win three straight and come back for a series win.

The team reiterated that yesterday in their interviews, talking about how they need to get past the frustration, worry about scoring enough goals, and getting a chance to play in Game 6. Win one shift at a time and one game at a time. “It’s a matter of winning one game,” as veteran Dominic Moore said. “That’s the focus all of the time, whether we’re up or down in a series.”

dominic moore 3-24

Dominic Moore, a seasoned veteran, brings experience to the table, and an understanding of how to overcome deficits in the playoffs, like last year. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 A lot of the players from last year’s comeback are still on the team, providing experience and a sense of understanding when it comes to overcoming adversity. But that doesn’t guarantee anything or make this year any easier. The Capitals have had an answer for everything the Rangers throw at them, and adjustments need to be made in order to get pucks past Holtby and win one game.

One shift at a time. One game at a time. That’s how it needs to be done.

There’s no need to point out key players, because everyone on the team needs to step up and get involved, playing their best game in order to advance. Derick Brassard can’t be the only player scoring goals, and Dan Girardi can’t be the only defenseman continually shutting down the opposition.

It’s a team effort, and that’s what it comes down to. All four lines need to pour shots on net, the defensemen need to get more involved on offense and give no space to guys like Ovechkin and Backstrom. One shift at a time.

On a team struggling to score goals, the goalie will always be extremely important. Henrik Lundqvist has been brilliant, allowing just seven goals in the series, while his team has only mustered five. He’s been the best player on the team throughout the players, and he will be motivated again tonight.

Lundqvist, like the Rangers, seem to play better when facing adversity. Facing elimination, Lundqvist is 11-3 in his last 14 games when his team is on the brink of having their season ended. Included in those wins are the three from the comeback against the Penguins this year. In his last eight elimination games at the Garden, Lundqvist is undefeated, posting a .99 GAA.

henrik lundqvist during anthem 5-2

Henrik Lundqvist will be at his best tonight. Lundqvist is 11-3 in his last 14 playoff wins. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 Lundqvist has allowed two goals or fewer in eight of his nine starts in the 2015 playoffs, with his 1.69 GAA and his .939 save percentage second to only Braden Holtby. He’s angry after last game, wants nothing more than to win, and will probably play out of his mind tonight. It’s time for the Rangers to score some goals and support him.

The Rangers have always responded to adversity well. Since December 1st, whenever the Rangers lost two in a row, they responded by winning three games or more in a row. One shift at a time. One game at a time.

The Rangers and Capitals will faceoff at Madison Square Garden at 7 PM. The Game will be broadcasted on MSG Network.

EXPECTED LINES (Not Confirmed)

Rick Nash-Derick Brassard-Martin St. Louis

Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Jesper Fast

Carl Hagelin-Dominic Moore-Kevin Hayes

Tanner Glass-JT Miller-James Sheppard

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Kevin Klein

Keith Yandle-Dan Boyle

Henrik Lundqvist

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Posted on May 8, 2015, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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