If the Rangers’ season ends tonight there will be plenty of time to reconstruct how they reached this point.  For now, let’s focus on getting to a Game 7.  Obviously, the odds are stacked against them, but if they win tonight, you have to feel pretty good about their chances Thursday.  The thing is, how can they win tonight?

One thing in their favor will be the return of Hagelin.  Since he got suspended, the Rangers haven’t really clicked on offense and Gaborik and Richards have been put on a myriad of line combinations in an attempt to get them going. While you can’t blame all of the offensive woes on this, it is worth noting that the Rangers scored six goals in the first two games of this series and have only three in the last three. And, two of those three goals came on the power play. 

But, they will be without Brian Boyle.  Torts is quoted as simply saying “he is not here” when asked about Boyle, which I take to mean Ottawa.  If he has a concussion as has been reported, they probably didn’t let him fly up there.  So with Boyle gone, who gets his ice time?  My hope is Mike Rupp.  Rupp knows how to do the dirty work in the corners and he is a smart veteran. The Rangers signed him for games like this, but he has been buried on the bench, averaging five minutes per game.  Boyle’s injury should change that.

But ultimately, the Rangers will have to solve a very hot goaltender. Anderson has been amazing.  He singlehandedly held the Senators together in Game 4 and he made 41 saves in Game 5.  The Rangers out-hit and out-shot the Senators in Game 5, they will need to do so again and hope the puck bounces their way for really the first time this series.  

Will the Rangers succeed and avoid flushing a great season down the drain?  We will find out tonight. 

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  • blmeanie  On April 24, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    game 7’s are awesome.

    Playoff hockey is awesome, better than anything else in sports, period.

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