Rangers vs. Devils: What New York Must Do to Force Game 7

Jacob BetznerCorrespondent IIMay 25, 2012

The Rangers are a game away from elimination after finishing atop the Eastern Conference standings this regular season.
The Rangers are a game away from elimination after finishing atop the Eastern Conference standings this regular season.Bruce Bennett/Getty Images


The answer to the question posited by the title of this article seems fairly obvious.  However, certain things must work for the Rangers to win Game 6 and force a Game 7.

Henrik Lundqvist

Henrik Lundqvist needs to be the difference in this series.  While the Rangers haven't been too consistent this postseason, staving off elimination at the hands of both the eighth-seeded Ottawa Senators and the seventh-seeded Washington Capitals, New York is now one game away from elimination again.

Henrik Lundqvist has been very good for New York these playoffs, leading the postseason in shutouts and rising to the top of the league leaders list for goals against average and save percentage.

The 30-year-old netminder played outstanding in a Game 4 shutout victory against the Devils.  If he can replicate that performance and the Rangers skaters can chip in a few goals, the series will cross the Hudson River one last time for a Game 7.

The Hagelin-Richards-Gaborik Line

Singers sing, writers write, dreamers dream.  Scorers score.  Or at least need to.  Brad Richards hasn't scored a goal and has managed only three assists in the last five games against the Devils.  Marian Gaborik managed a goal in Game 5, but went scoreless through the first four games of the series.

The Rangers have had good depth scoring throughout the playoffs, but it is imperative the team's big guns step up and give the Rangers the boost they need to force a Game 7.

After an impressive rookie season, Carl Hagelin has failed to score a goal in 16 postseason games and has managed only three assists despite playing on the Rangers' top line.

The Devils defense has done a phenomenal job of shutting down the Rangers' high profile forwards, proving to be the toughest challenge for New York so far this postseason.  However, it might take only one goal for Gaborik and Richards to get it going and prove why the Rangers earned the top seed in the East.

John Tortorella

John Tortorella is an extremely proficient NHL coach.  He commands the respect of his players and peers and knows how to win at an elite level.  At this stage in the season, he must focus more on what his team is doing wrong and less on the other teams' embellishment and "dirty" play.

The Stanley Cup winning coach needs to stop making excuses about the opposition and start motivating his team to win.

He won a Stanley Cup in 2004 as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning and has been a successful coach for the past 12 or so NHL seasons.  However, his whining and finger pointing have started to turn into an embarrassment for the organization.

To kill a snake, you cut off the head.  With a rattled head coach, the Rangers' postseason may be over tonight.  However, if Tortorella can regain control of his team, the Rangers are extremely dangerous.

It seems like it's the Devils' series to lose at this point, but it's no mistake the Rangers won the Eastern Conference. If they can find a way to return to their regular season dominance, then winning Game 6 and a forced Game 7 is within the realm of possibility.

Mark Messier guarantees it.