Penguins vs. Rangers Game 7: Keys for New York to Win
The New York Rangers have won the last two games in a row, and they have a date with the Pittsburgh Penguins for a winner-take-all Game 7 on May 13 at the Consol Energy Center. The Rangers have looked very inspired over the last two games, and momentum appears to be on their side entering Game 7.
The Penguins are looking to avoid yet another 3-1 series collapse, and a loss against the Blueshirts could bring wholesale change to the franchise. The Rangers will look to reach their second conference final in the last three seasons, and here are the keys they should follow to record a W in Game 7.
Let Henrik Lundqvist Do His Thing
Henrik Lundqvist has been great the last two games, and the Rangers are in a situation where he is a money goaltender. Lifetime in Game 7, Lundqvist is 4-1 with a 1.00 goals-against average, a .963 percentage and one shutout.
That stat line is impressive, but what is even more impressive is his record over the last 11 games in which the Blueshirts have faced elimination. In those aforementioned games, Lundqvist is 9-2 with a 1.35 goals-against average, a .955 save percentage and two shutouts.
Certainly this is something that gives the Rangers an edge, and as long as Henrik is Henrik, the Blueshirts will advance to the conference final.
Score the First Goal
Lifetime in Game 7s at home, the Penguins have a record of 2-6. Scoring the first goal is very important, because if the Rangers take a lead early, they can take the crowd out of the game and the morale out of the Penguins.
Over the last two games, the Penguins have looked uninspired, and they have resorted to spearing and slew-footing players. What that says is that the Penguins are coming apart at the seams, and a goal early in Game 7 could take the team out of the game.
In the last slide it was mentioned that the Penguins have been frustrated lately, and they have taken some dumb penalties. In Game 7, the Rangers need to avoid taking dumb penalties, because the Penguins could make them pay on the power play.
The last thing the Rangers need in Game 7 is catch-up hockey, and playing a buttoned-down and penalty-free game is something that the Blueshirts need to concentrate on in the final game of the series.
Keep Things Simple
The Rangers have had success over the last few games because they have played simple hockey. They have stopped telegraphing passes, they are putting more shots on net and they have played fluid hockey throughout.
The Rangers are at their best when they are letting their skill players do their thing, and that is what has happened over the last few games. If they keep things simple and avoid trying to get too cute with the puck, they will have success in Game 7.
The Blueshirts are riding high right now, and keeping things simple is exactly what they need to do in Game 7.