The New York Rangers returned to Madison Square Garden for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday, with the Tampa Bay Lightning at Sunshine State tying the series 2-2 with two straight wins.
Rangers defender Jacob Troba said: “We are one of only three teams left here. You expect the best from them. You want the best for them. And we want to show that we can do the best we can. ” “We think we are an emerging team. We have come We want to play these games. “
What’s the biggest strength: the Rangers ’home win series, eight playoff games or standing at the speed of Lightning in the series?
Here is our breakdown of Game 5:
Chief non-goalkeeper for each team
Rangers: Adam Fox, Rangers Defense made the most pedestrian appearance in the playoffs in Game 4. He was minus-3 on the scoresheet and did not record a shot attempt at 23:44 on ice time. To put it bluntly: it was the only post-season game in which Fox failed to record a shot and only the third game in which it did not match a single point – the other two are coming to the streets against the Carolina Hurricane.
The good news is that the Rangers’ smart young blueliners have given a feast on home cooking, earning 13 points from nine home games. If their forward group is affected by injuries, they will need to be more aggressive from their back end and Fox can provide that. Of course, a little more power-play time will help: when the Rangers went 1-2-2 in Game 4, they only had 1:15, when Fox was dominant as a quarterback.
Lightning: Nikita KucherovAs Captain Steven Stamkos told me, Lightning knows when Kucherov is on, and he sets the tone for them. The former Heart Trophy winner has become the most influential player in the series. He was on the ice to score eight of Lightning’s last nine goals, one of which was a score on six goals. His goals are huge, bringing down the Tampa Bay Rally 0-2 in Game 3 and adding a crucial second goal in Game 4. His pass to Andrej Platt to establish the winner of Game 3 could be the turning point in the series.
Kucherov is taking this, and the Rangers must find a way to reduce their role.
Goalkeeper confidence rating
Rangers: 8Despite Igor Shesterkin’s best efforts, the series is now 2-2. Like the rest of the Rangers, Game 4 wasn’t their biggest in the playoffs, but it does follow the ridiculous 49-save Game 3 performance. Since Game 6 of the series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, he has been on the positive side of scoring more goals than expected in each game and has been the backbone of this playoff run.
But again: he has played a lot of hockey since this season, including two seven-match series, one game in which he faced 83 shots and the most recent game in which he faced 52. Hopefully his Game 4 performance isn’t the first idea that Grind is catching him. The best news: He won eight games on MSG at a total savings percentage of .948. Oh, and with two aids, of course.
Strength: 8, Game 1 was the worst game of the Big Cats in the playoffs in this series, and Game 2 was negative on the more saved goals than expected. Coach John Cooper’s theory is that Vasilevsky was more impressed with his nine-day run than the Lightning skater. Lockout after defeating Florida Panthers. Depending on how he played at home, it could have something to do with it. Cooper said Vasilyevsky “got his mojo back,” and it’s hard to disagree.
That said, the Rangers are a different offensive team at home: they averaging 4.22 goals per game against MSG and 2.44 goals on the road. Game 5 will be a “mojo test” for residents.
The road to victory
Rangers: The good news is that Ryan Storm, and in particular the team’s kid line engine Philip Chital, are on the verge of injury. Storm skated in practice before Game 4, but could not go. Chital was injured on a Victor Headman check during Game 4; Like Storm, this is a game-time decision for Game 5. Both play an important role in the center for a team that has been scoring goals with equal power since the first period of Game 2. If one or both can’t go, that means a scrambling lineup for Gerard Gallant.
It was established that the next step for the Rangers on that path was to play as if they were playing on the ice of the house: to keep the puck, to deceive the opponents, to make time for their powerful power play. And perhaps most importantly, playing with Swagger helped him win every game at home since he lost to the Penguins in the Triple-OT.
“The best three. The two live in the house. The last two lost on the street. In principle, the series should be like that, shouldn’t it? Should be able to serve,” said forward Chris Krader.
Visa There was a lot of talk at MSG about Lightning “switching flipping” in the middle of Game 2. Only when he simplified his game and played aggressively did he find zone time instead. The results are obvious: they went from 28 giveaways in Game 1 to 22 giveaways in Game 2 to 13 giveaways Joint In games 3 and 4
He will have to continue to limit the Rangers’ counter-punching crowd, limit his power-play time, and expect Anthony Sirelli to go against the newly formed checking line with Brandon Hegel and Alex Kilorn against the Mika Zibnezad line – while Kucherov and Stamkos do their magic. . Aggressively.
Final score estimates: Rangers 3-2
The Rangers are Harvey Dent of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs – often the weirdest, White Knights of Gotham home on the street. I’ve seen them drop the action for two rounds and eight straight home wins.
Injury is a concern. Don’t get tired – if the Rangers get to play their game. Of course, if he’s on the back foot after a couple of minutes and has more to defend than attack, he’ll be seen skating in quicksand. I know Lightning has recalculated, shaken off the rust, and taken over the series. I’ve seen the Rangers rewrite a lot of stories in this playoff run to assume they won’t do it again.