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NHL Playoffs 2012: The Pressure Is On New York Rangers in Must-Win Game 5

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 05: Mike Green #52 of the Washington Capitals celebrates with Alex Ovechkin #8 and Dennis Wideman #6 after scoring the game winning goal in the third period against the New York Rangers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Verizon Center on May 5, 2012 in Washington, DC. Washington won the game 3-2. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images
Isaac SmithAnalyst IMay 5, 2012

The New York Rangers find themselves in a familiar spot after dropping Game 4 to the Washington Capitals by a 3-2 score.

The loss ties the series at 2-2.

When a series becomes a three-game series, there is hardly talk of Game 5 being a "must-win game" for either team.

But the top-seeded Rangers, lost to the Ottawa Senators in game 5 of the series after Ottawa came back to tie the series at 2-2.

Ottawa would go on to drop the series in seven games, but the point stands.

If it happened once, it can happen again; and for all intents and purposes, the Washington Capitals are a more fundamentally sound team than the Senators.

They have a rising star goaltender in Braden Holtby and they have the offensive firepower in Ovechkin, Backstrom and Semin amongst others.

The Capitals have only given up nine goals in four games, and if the Rangers go down in Game 5, the Capitals will not lose back-to-back games.

For all intents and purposes, Game 5 remains a must-win game for the Rangers.

The pressure is on the "Broadway Blueshirts," and despite having to win only two of the remaining three games in the series, the Rangers know that a loss in Game 5 will make it very difficult—if not impossible—to win back-to-back games against the Capitals with one of those games on the road at the Verizon Center.

I'd ask John Tortorella what he thinks of his team's chances are of winning Game 5 at home, but apparently he doesn't stick around very long to address the media after a loss.

The Rangers know what they have to do. They've done it twice already this series. Will the home ice advantage be enough for them in Game 5 and beyond?

 

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