To Win Game 6, Rangers Must Use Plan from Game 5
The result was a 5-1 victory as well as the chance to force a Game 7 with a victory tonight in Game 6 at Madison Square Garden. Sometimes, all a team needs is a second chance to right their wrongs and in Game 5, the team did just that.
With that in mind, it is safe to say that the team must stick with the same game plan tonight. For the Blueshirts, this means following and executing three separate tactics
For starters, the line of Benoit Pouliot-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello must continued to be given a lot of minutes given the fact that they have been the team's best line in this postseason. On Friday night, the trio combined for seven points (two goals and five assists) and were a threat to score every shift they had.
Tonight, the trio must be ready to play the same exact way. For this line, that means throwing plenty of pucks on net (seven shots in Game 6), getting into the open spaces to score, playing disciplined, and more importantly, making an impact every time they are out on the ice.
Secondly, the Blueshirts are once again going to need a big game from their star netminder Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist's play has improved steadily since the first round and his performance between the pipes on Friday night was a good indicator of that.
In Game 6, Lundqvist made his team's goals count as he stopped 31 of 32 Penguins' shots and made the big saves when he needed to. That was especially the case in the second period as Lundqvist stopped 14 of 15 shots and helped keep it a 4-1 game heading into the third period.
Lundqvist will need to provide the same kind of goaltending tonight if he wants to get his team to a Game 7, a situation where the "King" is 4-1 in his postseason career. Considering the fact that Lundqvist is close to being at the top of his game, this a good opportunity for him to help his teammates pull out a big victory tonight in front of their fans.
Lastly, the club's special teams must be able to come through in a big way. Heading into Game 5, the Rangers had not scored a power play goal in their last 36 opportunities and instead of the man advantage helping them, it was hurting them in a big way.
This was not the case on Friday night. In fact, the team found a way to score not one, but two power play goals en route to their victory in Game 5.
On Friday night, the team's power play did not hesitate to shoot the puck, was able to create traffic in front of Marc-Andre Fleury and did a much better job of moving the puck around. The team will need to use those same tactics tonight when they get their chances because there is no doubt that the Penguins will try to tighten up their defense tonight.
The Rangers might still be down a game, but if they can execute the same game plan that was used on Friday night, there is a good chance that the Blueshirts will force a due-or-die Game 7 and if you're the Penguins, you do not want to give them that chance.