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Special teams will be the key to Game 7

Brad Richards led the Rangers with 19 power play points during the regular season

So here we are yet again. Game 7.

With the exception of last night’s game, the Rangers have dominated most of the series. They’ve outshot the Flyers in four of six games and have held Philadelphia to just nine goals at even strength, including an empty-netter.

Nearly every #fancystat indicates that the Blueshirts have outplayed Philadelphia at even strength by a wide margin. The series should probably be over by now. But it’s not, and now the season comes down to one final game tonight.

You can forget everything that’s happened previously. Even though New York has home-ice advantage, Philadelphia now has the momentum and the hot goalie. This game is a complete toss-up, as Game 7s always are.

What the Rangers really need is a little bit of luck – by PDO standards, they’ve been snakebitten all postseason. Unfortunately, they can’t count on that in tonight’s do-or-die match.

The key to the game will very likely be special teams. To this point, that’s the one major advantage the Flyers have had in the series. So far they’ve netted six power play goals – including two last night – while holding the Rangers to just three, including an ugly current 0-20 streak. The team that has won the special teams battle is 4-1 in the series. (Overall, the special teams victor is 18-8 in the postseason).

New York must find a way to cash in at least one of its opportunities and the team (looking at you, Pouliot) must stay out of the box to avoid giving Philadelphia’s power play any extra chances to change the game.

It’s really that simple. The Rangers have been the superior team at even strength the whole way, but special teams have killed them. If they’re to extend their season tonight, that will have to change.

16 Responses to “Special teams will be the key to Game 7”

  1. Dave says:

    The fact that this has gone to seven games really irritates me.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      ^^he’s nervous, there’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti
      but on the surface he looks calm and ready to drop bombs, but he keeps on forgetting…..

      how to win a series in any game other than game 7. Ugh.

      Let’s do it (again) Rangers!

  2. Chris F says:

    Going 7 in this series, which should have been over in 5, is going to handicap the Rangers moving forward, if they move forward.

    Pittsburgh will be another long series, unless NY completely folds and is outed in 4 or 5 games. Beyond that, they have Boston or Montreal to get through. This isn’t going anywhere this year, I’m sorry to say.

    • Bort says:

      Hate to say I agree, but I hope I’m proven wrong. Going up against a now rested Pittsburgh following back to back games is going to be a big uphill battle. I don’t see us beating Pittsburgh in less than six, and we are the underdog against Boston (who I expect to win) even if things weren’t stacked against the Rangers.

      But maybe they all remember how to play this game, Kreider comes back strong, and we steamroll our way straight to the Cup!

  3. joe719 says:

    I see the comments are already coming from the Rangers lockeroom. ‘Embrace the moment,’ ‘we’re ready to play the game right now,’ ‘its something we’ll think about for the rest of our lives.’ ENOUGH!!!! Stop trying to convince yourselves. Just play the game!!! Enough with the talk.

    • Chris F says:

      What do you want them to say, Joe? If you had a microphone shoved in your face hundreds of times every year, I’m sure you’d have every word perfectly crafted to the fan base’s liking, yea?

      • joe719 says:

        After stinking up the joint so many times after spewing out the usual pre-game pep crap; I think I might just smile and say no comment.

        • Spozo says:

          Tortz tried that and was ripped apart for it. I agree with Chris. You hear these same cliches by every player on every other teams as well. It’s the nature of the beast when it comes to talking to reporters.

  4. Dan S says:

    Honestly, I believe there’s no point in rueing that the series has gone 7 and wondering what its implications for NY would be for the rest of the playoffs if they manage to win tonight. The past is the past, and, as for the future, who knows? Several teams have had to endure more than one or even two grueling playoff series to make it to the final round. If the Rangers win tonight and fizzle in one of the next rounds, it will not be because of fatigue as a result of this series against PHI. What frustrates me about last night’s game is less the difficulty scoring–all teams, even juggernauts like the Bruins, have nights like that in the playoffs. It’s the defensive lapses by the guys we depend on to be our stalwarts. McDonough’s mediocre-to-bad play–whatever may be driving it–has really, really hurt NY in this series. They’ve endured that, but couldn’t survive a terrible night by Girardi as well. Shoring things up defensively–and doing a better job of clearing traffic in front of Lundqvist (easier said than done)–has to be the first priority tonight and (if we win) going forward. This is more important than Nash putting the puck in the net, the Brassard of last year’s series against the Caps returning and bringing the Pouliot of the second half of this season with him. It’s more important even than the PP getting off the schneid. We can survive those things. We can’t survive McD and Girardi letting us down. And we need Henrik to have a “wow” game, finally. He’s been solid, most of the goals he’s given up have been understandable. But he gets paid to be more than steady and reliable. He gets paid to be a difference-maker. He hasn’t been, IMO, in this series.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      I’m not sure where you hail from, Dan S, as I do not recall seeing your commentary prior. What a shame, as I started a slow clap while reading the paragraph of truth which you transcribed above. To clear up any confusion, I work in an office with multiple other people, none of whom seemed to understand, appreciate or enjoy the random and somewhat pathetic slow clap which I attempted. They, unlike yawns, are not universally contagious.

    • Gary says:

      They’ll get it shored up Dan. No worries about MacD unless he’s injured. Same with Girardi.

      Pouliot needs to play the way he’s been playing minus the penalties. They all have to focus and play to their strengths and they’ll win with no problem. As long as the goalie plays as good as the other team’s goalie. Not a given with the Rangers anymore.

      That said, Hank needs to step it up and I think tonight he’s gonna be really dialed in. Nearly unbeatable. They need a ‘not on my watch’ attitude against this just north of mediocre team tonight.

  5. SalMerc says:

    If special teams are the key to this game, I won’t even watch tonight. NYRs have had 24 hrs to re-create their PP. I am guessing the 8 hrs they slept were the most influential.

    Definition of Insanity – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

  6. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    Where’s that attitude been this whole series? Why would it just show up now? And if it does, what does that say about them that they can’t bring that certain level of determination to each playoff game?

  7. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    This was meant as a reply to Gary’s post.

    • Gary says:

      They’ve played well enough and had enough attitude to have won in 6 at most. The Rangers goalie has been out played to this point.

  8. Mike says:

    Want powerplay goals? Put the 4th line out there a couple times. I’m not kidding.