by Patrick Hoffman on 04/23/12 at 12:33 PM ET
That is the position the New York Rangers have put themselves in after losing Games 4 and 5 to the Ottawa Senators, giving the opposition a 3-2 series lead.
Based on the way the 2012 postseason has gone so far, nothing should come as a surprise. Heck, the Vancouver Canucks, Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins, three of the league’s best teams, have already been eliminated.
Another top team in the NHL has a chance to be eliminated tonight. If the Rangers lose tonight at Scotiabank Place, their terrific regular season will have meant nothing.
Throughout the regular season, the Blueshirts were a team that never gave up. They were able to protect leads, make comebacks late in third periods and played with a never say die attitude.
The Rangers will be playing for their playoff lives tonight and will need to have that same mentality that made them so successful in the postseason. If they don’t, it’s off to the golf course for a way too early offseason for the Blueshirts.
The good news is that the Rangers will be getting forward Carl Hagelin back tonight after serving his three game suspension. Hagelin will no doubt forecheck hard, put pucks on net and use his speed to generate scoring chances.
On the other hand, the Senators may get back their heat & soul tonight in team captain Daniel Alfredsson. Being that this could be his last time playing in the postseason for his career, everyone knows how badly Alfredsson wants his team to move on and have a shot to win hockey’s Holy Grail, something that “Alfie” does not have on his hockey resume.
Speaking of scoring chances, the Rangers had a plethora of them on Saturday night in Game 5 but were not able to put a puck past Senators’ netminder Craig Anderson. Anderson was terrific in making 41 saves on the night and has easily been his team’s most valuable players in this series.
The Rangers need to step up their game and take it one game at a time. Should they win tonight, a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden might seem enticing for a Blueshirt team that feeds off its fans.
The team’s lives are on the line tonight so hopefully, the Rangers will do everything they can to win the most important game of their season tonight.
Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, carl+hagelin, craig+anderson, daniel+alfredsson, detroit+red+wings, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, pittsburgh+penguins, vancouver+canucks
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.