As Outasight says, tonight is the night is the night for the New York Rangers. Win, and the Blueshirts move on to the next round, where they would play the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals, just like in 1994. Lose, and it’s back to the Garden for a nerve-wracking Game 7.
The good news is that the Rangers have been playing every game like it’s Game 7, and it’s not as though winning on the road is the hardest thing to do in the NHL. Another advantage, says Joe Fortunato of Blueshirt Banter, is that the Rangers have the all important and mythical momentum.
For the most part, the NHL playoffs is an event dictated by a series of momentum swings. I’ll take you back to HBO 24/7 when John Tortorella talked about hockey and he said something along the lines of: “The team that doesn’t have the momentum is trying to get it as fast as they can, and the team that has it is trying to hold onto it for as long as they can.”
The Rangers will no doubt be doing all they can to hold onto the momentum they gained at the end of Game 5. I hope that for the Capitals, getting the momentum back is as difficult as getting that last Metroid back was for Samus in Super Metroid.
Speaking of things that are difficult, getting attention as a fourth line forward can be difficult, but I found a nice shout-out to John Mitchell today. I’ve noticed Mitchell has been playing very well as of late, and in Game 5, he won the face-off in overtime that resulted in Marc Staal’s game winning goal.
John Tortorella said of Mitchell after the game, “we want Mitch to score some goals. He has been close. Mitch is a good faceoff guy. It was a big play by him.”
Way to go John Mitchell. One of these days, the shot on goal will become a shot IN goal, and we will rejoice because of the rewards of hard work.
If the Rangers bust their butts like they did on Monday night and beat the Caps in shots on goal by such a wide margin, they likely won’t be trailing at the end again. Even though the game nearly didn’t work out for them, the Rangers have to have faith in the process and keep preparing like they have been. Andrew Gross of the Bergen Record has a great quote from Henrik Lundqvist about this.
“That’s why you want to approach these games the same way, you don’t want to look beyond these 60 minutes or whatever it will be tonight,” Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist said. “Just go out there and try to play our game, don’t think about the consequences or the result, whether it’s the next round or another game, we don’t think about that. We just go out there and focus on the things we have to do, for me personally, I have a few things that I think about going into the game and during the game and that will be my mindset as well.”
Like I’ve said before, hockey is a simple game. The Rangers know not to over-think it. Just keep pounding away and the results will hopefully follow. The puck drops sometime around 7:30 tonight. Anticipation!