The New York Rangers are finding themselves in a familiar situation from last years second round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. They are on the brink of elimination and must solve their scoring struggles quickly if they hope to keep their season and playoff hopes alive.
This Friday night, the Rangers look to extend their second round series against the Washington Capitals by winning Game 5. It has been a hard fought series where the Rangers once again, have found themselves in a bit of a scoring drought. Of course, goals will not come easy in the playoffs, but after setting a record for the most games in the playoffs that were decided by one goal, the Blueshirts will need an extra push for any type of bounce.
All it takes is one greasy goal to get the ball rolling. However, Braden Holtby has shut the door on the Rangers. It can be said that they are making it too easy on him, shooting at his glove side or right at his chest, but in the shooting situations on the ice, there is not much room to shoot. Why? The Capitals have easily out played the Rangers on defense by blocking twice as many shots in each of the first four games. They have kept all four lines to the outside allowing Holtby to track the puck and make easy saves.
The Rangers have five goals in four games, and it is certainly frustrating. It is showing in the players’ games and on their faces.
It takes more than one player to win games and the Rangers’ depth and star players need to relax and go back to simple hockey. Brassard has been outstanding with five goals and six points in nine games, but he cannot do it all alone. Of course, Nash should score, but he is leading the team in points (6) and has done everything else that has been asked of him. He backchecks, plays fantastic defense, and tries to create scoring chances.
As the old saying goes, the toughest game to win in a best of seven series is that final game. The Rangers have the caliber and talent to erase the 3-1 deficit, but they must not overthink their games. Playing smart, simple team hockey will allow them to bring the series back to Washington and then back to New York for a Game 7.