Madison Square Garden and New York City are preparing for the biggest game of the entire season. Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The New York Rangers are the defending Eastern Conference Champions and are looking to take home the title in back to back seasons. They are just one win away from returning to play for what has eluded the team since 1994, the Stanley Cup.
Of course, everyone knows the numbers when it comes to the Rangers and elimination games/Game 7’s. Since 2012, they are 15-3 in their last 18 elimination postseason games. This includes being 10-0 at Madison Square Garden and 4-0 this season. On home ice in Game 7’s, the Rangers are 7-0, while goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is 6-1 lifetime in Game 7’s (not including at home). In elimination games, Lundqvist now has a 1.47 goals-against average and .954 save percentage with two shutouts. There is a reason why people call him “The King.”
However, as hockey is a team game, they cannot solely rely on Lundqvist and his numbers in elimination games. The Blueshirts will need contributions up and down the lineup and must do the little things that it takes to win a hockey game. The players know their roles and have the experience to know how to win these types of games. As Derick Brassard puts it, “At the end of the day we have to compete harder than they do. Our will has to be greater.”
The hero of Game 6 could not have said it any better. Tampa Bay will be looking to spoil the fun as MSG on Friday night and skate away with their first Stanley Cup Finals berth since 2004. Both teams have the talent to win, but when all is said and done, it is all about the will to win. Actions must speak louder than words. The Rangers must focus on their game plan and rely on teamwork to get the job done.
Clearly the stage is set for what should be a fantastic finish to advance to play for what some hockey players only dream about: the Stanley Cup. The Garden Faithful must loud and proud and make sure Tampa Bay knows what building they are playing in. The Rangers must play smart and stay composed against a lethal Lightning team.
The Rangers have now made it to the Conference Finals for 3 of the past 4 seasons. They have not made it to consecutive Stanley Cup Finals since 1929. Can they change history on Friday night? Lets change the ending.
Game time: Friday May 29, 2015 with puck drop at 8:00 p.m.