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Rangers head to Carolina for Game 6 and chance to clinch

May 16, 2024, 12:45 PM ET [737 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Rangers get their third chance to close out a series tonight in Carolina. New York has a tall task ahead of them, as the Canes are 16-5 at home the last few years and are riding the momentum of two straight wins. Granted, if you ask anyone, they will likely say momentum really doesn’t carry forward in the playoffs, but hard not to think it exists based on the last two games.

Carolina has been the better team for long stretches of the series. But New York has shown a resiliency all year and did so even when down in Game 4 to come back. The term used is “calm confidence” allowing the Rangers to tap into prior experience and draw upon it to get the job done. If the game is tight and a play has to be made to either win or clinch the contest, that muscle memory hopefully kicks in.

The Hurricanes found their sea legs in Game 4, building on that Monday. They upped their compete level during which their skill also showed through. That skill contributed to the Rangers looking so poor in Game 5 but I also believe that New York’s effort, especially defensively, was lacking. At this point, the mantra of no passengers - which applied all season - takes on even greater import and meaning now.

Carolina is winning the 1:1 battles, which is a hallmark of their club. By doing so, they are creating and taking advantage of the space and chaos resulting from those victories. New York needs to return to how they played earlier in the season, upping their own compete level. That little extra would go a long way to assisting the end goal, which is a series lead. Eliminate the stupid mistakes and lazy back check. Every shift has to be played with a level of desperation, not panic, but desperation, where the effort level is raised and apparent.

Yesterday’s practice saw the D pairs returned to what we saw more of the season. Jacob Trouba was once again opposite K’Andre Miller while Braden Schneider was paired with Erik Gustafsson. I think we all would prefer to see Miller-Schneider but that duo has scuffled as well though not as drastically as Trouba-Gustafsson. The captain has had a rough playoffs, same with Gustafsson, which is why we almost all want Zac Jones in the lineup. Coach Peter Laviolette didn’t commit to using what we see in practice yesterday, meaning it will be a game-time decision.

Up front, Filip Chytil practiced, though not on a regular line. Chytil returned in Game 3 but sat Games 4-5 due to illness, which reportedly is not related to the concussion that sidelined him from November forward. It’s possible Chytil dressing tonight, but betting money is on Jonny Brodzinski as Laviolette uses Matt Rempe more at home, where he has the last change, rather than on the road. If Chytil does not play, the first three lines will remain the same.

The playoffs have shown, like always, what seems to be the case on paper isn’t reflected on the ice. New York had two chances to clinch - on the road and at home - and Carolina spoiled those. Florida, facing a Boston team without Brad Marchand, fell to the Bruins at home in Game 5. Last night, Dallas up 3-1 in games and 2-1 on the scoreboard heading to latter stages of the second period, fell 5-3 at home to Colorado.

New York needs to learn a lesson from their Garden neighbors. The Knicks best player was their best player on Game 5. Their support players stepped up as needed while the effort and heart were apparent throughout the contest. Tonight, the same needs to occur for the Rangers. Their best players - and we all know who that list is - have to be their best players. The support payers need to do their jobs, as does everyone. New York’s coach made the right adjustments, which were followed by the team, leading to victory. Laviolette and the coaching staff need to make the right adjustments, especially on the power play, to help lead to victory. The Rangers’ heart and passion have been on display much of the season. They need to tap into and show that this evening.

Find a way to win. That it. The whole story. Win and advance. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It can be dirty with dump and chase when needed rather than the pretty tape to tape goals. Force the action and put Carolina on their heels. Make them turn the puck over and then capitalize on those chances

Shift by shift. Period by Period. Win a game, win the series. Let’s Go Rangers!!!

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