Special teams will be the key to Game 7April 30, 2014, by
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.