Who, Where, When: New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, Madison Square Garden, New York, New York; Sunday, May 11, 7 pm, and, if necessary, Tuesday May 13, Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA time TBA.
Tonight the New York Rangers will have their backs against the wall for the second consecutive game as they square off for game six of their Eastern Conference second round match up with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pens took a 3-1 series lead but the Rangers showed that they will not go away quietly in game five in Pittsburgh, playing their most complete game of the series thus far, even being so bold as to score on the power play, snapping a 0-36 stretch, one that matched the NHL’s record for playoff futility on the man advantage.
It will take two more efforts like they displayed on Friday night to secure a come from behind series victory, but with the team coming off of a win and with the power play clicking for two goals on Friday night I assume the home crowd will be raucous at Madison Square Garden tonight to start the game, and a bit more lenient towards their own players if the Rangers start slow, which was not the case, for Rick Nash especially, during their game four defeat.
The Rangers do have a distinct goaltending advantage in this series, and the further this series goes the more that should play a factor. Marc-Andre Fluery has not been solid in big spots in recent years and Henrik Lundqvist is 8-2 in his last 10 playoff games in which his team either faces elimination or can clinch a series (i.e. big games), so the bigger the situation, the bigger the edge to the Rangers.
The other edge for the Rangers is that they have no pressure on them in this series anymore. There was essentially a moratorium for the end of the season after game four’s loss, I might add with good reason, the Rangers looked like a defeated team; with many assuming that the series would be wrapped up in game five. If the Rangers take care of business on home ice tonight there will be a tremendous amount of pressure on Pittsburgh for game seven in the ‘Burgh, where the Rangers have already won two games during this series.