New York Rangers Come Back Again and Force Game 7

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 13: The New York Rangers bench erupts in celebration after a empty net goal is scored to seal the win during the third period in Game Six of the First Round in the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs between the New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins on May 13, 2022, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. The New York Rangers avoid elimination with 5-3 win. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Game six followed the exact same script as game five for the New York Rangers. The Rangers found themselves down early as the Penguins established an early 2-0 lead and then Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider decided to make themselves known. The two Ranger vets led a huge comeback that saw the Blueshirts with another 5-3 win on Penguins ice to force the series back to MSG for game seven.

Positives: After giving up two goals in the first period with some shaky rebound control, Igor Shesterkin settled in and only allowed one the rest of the way on an Evgeni Malkin breakaway. This was far and away Shesterkin’s best performance in Pittsburgh this series by coming up with some incredibly clutch saves and a beauty of an assist in the process. Shesterkin was especially clutch on the Rangers penalty kill helping to swing the momentum from the Penguins back to the Rangers. We have wondered if Shesterkin had lost his confidence a bit after two very non-Shesterkin like performances in games 3 and 4. Since then, Shesterkin has backstopped the Blueshirts to two wins in do or die situations making some clutch saves in the process.

The Rangers special teams were back and looked better than ever killing off multiple Penguins powerplay chances including a 5 on 3 penalty kill late in the second period after the Penguins tied the game. The Rangers powerplay also re-emerged as Mika Zibanejad cashed in on his first goal of the series and was the first time he has shown any sign of life this series. It’s no secret that this year the Rangers special teams especially their powerplay has been their bread and butter and during this series when the Rangers haven’t been able to generate on the man advantage, the Rangers haven’t faired well.

Since Tyler Motte returned in game five the Rangers bottom six has looked leaps and bounds better than earlier in the series. It’s been no secret that the Penguins bottom six has done a great job matching up against the Rangers and have helped the Penguins control the series. Sparked by Motte’s return the Rangers fourth line has looked a lot better forechecking and creating offensive zone time against the Penguins. A healthy Tyler Motte could be a huge key come Sunday night for game seven especially on the penalty kill. One thing we know is that during the playoffs, especially in a game seven, special teams can be a major key.

Another game without Patrik Nemeth playing and another Rangers victory, this isn’t a coincidence. Keep Nemeth in the pressbox.

Negatives: Jacob Trouba and K’Andre Miller looked absolutely horrendous all night in game six. Trouba had the absolutely brutal turnover at the Penguins blueline to Malkin that led to Malkin tying the game on his breakaway goal. Miller showed some of his bad habits again during the middle of a rough game where he tried being too aggressive in the neutral zone leading to odd man rushes against. Miller has shown throughout the year that when he’s having a rough game he can tend to become too aggressive trying to force the issue and that bad habit crept up again in a bad spot. Miller’s had a very good series up to this point and hopefully game six was just a one off showing from Miller.

We went from milk carton Mika to Artemi Panarin finding his way onto the Rangers milk carton. If there’s any chance for the Rangers to win this series and potentially make a deeper playoff run then the Rangers need Panarin to be Panarin. The Penguins best players have been their best players, while the Rangers top guns haven’t truly found their games yet. Zibanejad and Kreider finally made their presence known and Sunday night would be a perfect opportunity for Panarin to control the game like we’re so used to seeing him do.

The Rangers have found a way to bounce back and not let the moment get too big for them. However, they can’t afford to keep playing from behind before they get burned. The Rangers need to find a way to come out Sunday night swinging and snatch momentum from the Penguins and get on them early before they know what hit them. Get the Garden crown into it early and often and reinforce to the Penguins that they’ve yet again choked away a 3-1 series advantage to the Rangers and keep all the pressure on Pittsburgh. If the Pens score early they’ll likely be hard to beat because of this core groups playoff experience they’ll find a way to just manage the game. Rangers fans, it’s time to buckle up and get ready for the first game seven we’ve seen at Madison Square Garden in a very long time.

Author

  • Nick has been an integral member of TheFHN since the founding of the network. A hockey player in various levels since a young age and a lifelong Rangers fan, Nick bleeds blue. As a podcaster for the past 8 years, Nick is 1/2 of the team for the Two 4 Roughing and 30 on Broadway Talking Blueshirts podcasts. In addition to the podcasts, he is a writer for 30 on Broadway OT.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here