by Patrick Hoffman on 05/12/12 at 12:00 PM ET
When it comes to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, there is nothing like the excitement, nervousness and other emotions that come to life in a Game 7.
Tonight, the New York Rangers and their passionate fans will be experiencing all kinds of feelings when they take on the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden.
For both the Rangers and Capitals, this game marks the second seventh game of the postseason that they will be participating in. The first time around, the Rangers were able to beat the No. 8 seed Ottawa Senators by a score of 2-1 while the Capitals, the No. 7 seed, were able to beat the No. 2 seed Boston Bruins in overtime by the same score of 2-1.
While the Capitals’ have had success against the Rangers in Game 7’s before, this year will be different and for the first time since the 1996-97 season, the Blueshirts will be headed to the Eastern Conference Finals. Here are the reasons why:
There is no doubt that come Game 7, Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist will be one extremely focused netminder.
A Vezina Trophy finals for the fourth time in his career, Lundqvist will be out to prove that he can be a playoff goaltender and one that can win hockey games when it matters most. He was able to do so in Game 7 of the first round against the Senators by turning in a terrific 26-save performance.
The “King” should be ready to do the same thing tonight against the Capitals.
Clutch Players Raring to Go
When looking at the Rangers’ rosters, you do not see too many superstars.
With that said, they do have someone that has won a Conn Smythe Trophy as the league’s most valuable player in the postseason and a Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004. That man is Brad Richards.
While Richards has not always been present in this series, he did score the clutch game-tying power play goal with 7.6 seconds left to go in Game 5. The goal got the Rangers into overtime where defenseman Marc Staal scored just over a minute into the first extra period.
Another player that has the ability to put pucks in the net in key moments is Marian Gaborik. As you will remember, it was Gaborik that scored the triple overtime winning goal in Game 3 that at the time, gave the Rangers a 2-1 series lead.
Like Richards, Gaborik needs to start producing more and putting the puck in the net. There will be no better time to do so than a Game 7 at the World’s Most Famous Arena.
No Place Like the Garden
If you have ever watched a Rangers’ postseason game at MSG, you will know that it is quite the memorable event.
With fans waving their white towels consistently, the loudness of the building, and the crowd on their side, the Rangers tend to become a dangerous team to play against. In fact, in their Cup run in 1994, the team was able to win two Game 7’s on home ice.
The team and their crowd will be more than amped up for tonight’s Game 7 and it should be something that will help the Rangers tonight.
In the end, it should be another terrific Game 7 between these two clubs but this time, it will be one that has a happy ending for the Rangers and their fans.
Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, boston+bruins, brad+richards, henrik+lundqvist, marc+staal, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, tampa+bay+lightning, washington+capitals
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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 email@example.com.