Found April 26, 2012 on The Rangers Tribune:

RichieSensNot many anticipated a Game 7 to be required to decide this Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series between the first seed New York Rangers and eighth seed Ottawa Senators, but here we are, just several hours away from what promises to be a thrilling and memorable night at Madison Square Garden. Neither team was able to collect a commanding lead in the series at any point, as it’s been a closely-fought grind ever since the puck dropped on Game 1 exactly two weeks ago. Therefore, maybe it shouldn’t come as such a surprise that this match-up went the full length after all. And with how this series has been played by each side, both clubs certainly deserve to be in the position they are entering tonight’s contest. 

The swaying of emotions and momentum has been what’s made this series so appealing from the early beginning. Whether it was Matt Carkner’s pounding on Brian Boyle, Carl Hagelin’s controversial hit to the head of Daniel Alfredsson, Henrik Lundqvist unbelievable performance in Game 3, or even Jason Spezza’s goal being allowed late in Game 6, there’s been some sort of major storyline coming out of this series each night the two teams have met. The emotions to this point, however, will not even begin to compare to what will go down tonight at MSG. 

This is where the New York Rangers hold an advantage over the opponent, as that top spot they worked so hard to earn during the regular season finally comes in handy with home ice tonight. Just think of how heavy the odds would be against New York if they were headed to Scotiabank Place for tonight’s Game 7 – it would be ridiculous. But now, instead, they will be coming home to a fan base that has not hosted a Game 7 since 1994, the last year they won the Stanley Cup. As a member of this Ranger squad, there’s no other place you’d rather be than the World’s Most Famous Arena in a series-deciding game, and that works the complete opposite way for the opposition. 

That being said, having home ice advantage will now win this game for the Rangers on its own.  There are still 60 minutes of hockey to be played and 60 minutes of hockey in which the Blueshirts must be at the top of their game at all times. The Senators will not roll over just because the odds are against them. Hell, if they felt that way this series would’ve been over three games ago. Ottawa worked hard to get here and they aren’t about to give up on what’s been an impressive season for them considering the expectations going in. This will be no breeze of a game for the Rangers, as they will need to earn what they achieve. 

An effort like what we saw in the second and third periods in Game 6 should absolutely get New York to the semifinals where they will face the Washington Capitals. Their offensive forecheck mixed with defensive responsibility in that game were stellar to say the least, and then of course Henrik Lundqvist was marvelous in net to bail his teammates out when need be. When playing at that level, the Rangers are by far the better of the two teams, no question. 

In order to play at that level, though, they need everyone contributing. Sure, players like Brad Richards and Ryan McDonagh stepped up as the top guys in Monday’s win, but the Rangers also received key contributions from secondary players such as Chris Kredier, Derek Stepan and even Brandon Prust. That sort of ‘spread out’ system of scoring is a proven success in the postseason, and can make any team, whether they finished first or eighth, very dangerous. 

What it will all come down to tonight is the management of emotions. As previously mentioned, MSG will be in rare form when hosting its first Game 7 since 1994 this evening. The noise level in there will be deafening, so it is vital that the Rangers do not let that electricity get the best of them. Obviously they will want to feed off of the crowd, but they also must remain focused on the task at hand, because as we’ve seen, the Sens can and will catch their opponents taking their foot off the gas pedal. 

The Rangers will roll with the same lineup they did in Game 6, which means Ryan Callahan (finger) is good to go while Brian Boyle (concussion) will be out. 

New York Rangers Lineup

SensGM7

THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Emergence of Derek Stepan Could Be Key for Rangers

Prior to Monday's Game 6 in Ottawa, Rangers forward Derek Stepan had zero points in five playoff games this season. His decision making was off, he struggled when passing the puck and he had very little confidence to shoot, especially on the powerplay. Quickly he saw a decrease in ice time from head coach John Tortorella, which is obviously going to be the consequence when you...

Surprise, Henrik Lundqvist Named Vezina Finalist

To the surprise of no one (hence the sarcastic title), the National Hockey League has announced that New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has been named a finalist for the 2011-12 Vezina Trophy, which is awarded to the League's best goaltender during the regular season. This is the fourth time in Lundqvist's seven-year career that he has been named a finalist for...

Postgame: Rangers Eliminate Senators, Advance to Semis to Face Caps

And the magical season lives on. As stated in the pregame, it was only proper that this blow-for-blow Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series between the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators was decided by a Game 7. As John Tortorella said in his postgame presser, the first round can sometimes be the most difficult. The Senators, although seeded eighth, surely gave the Rangers a...

Morning Skate Notes: Cally In; Boyle Out; Kreider Not Intimidated; Konopka Out?

Pat Leonard at the Daily News reports that Ryan Callahan (finger) participated in this morning's skate, however, Brian Boyle (concussion) did not.Arthur Staple at Newsday says Boyle was seen riding a stationary bike this morning, but is not close to returning....figured Callahan would be ready to go. Don't like hearing that Boyle isn't even close to returning. Hopefully...

Video: Torts, Rangers Ready for Game 7 vs. Senators

John Tortorella looks forward to having home ice advantage in Game 7... To watch at MSG.com, click here.For the players thoughts on Game 7 against the Senators, click the "Read More" tab below. Henrik Lundqvist talks to the media after practice about how the Rangers stepped up to win Game 6, carrying the momentum into a home Game 7 and being named a finalist for...

Lundqvist Was Focused Last Night

TheNYRBlog reader Zach R. sends me this amazing pic he took of Henrik Lundqvist getting focused during warm-ups before Game 7 last night...Here's Lundqvist's teammates on his play last night (via Newsday)...Marian Gaborik..."Hank stood on his head. He made unbelievable saves there."Dan Girardi..."He is one of the best goalies in the league, if not the best...

Things Starting to Come Second Nature for Kreider

In the hours before his fourth NHL game and first Game 7, Chris Kreider discusses his comfort level in the professional game (NHL.com)..."I'm more and more comfortable and things start coming second nature. It's being in the defensive zone and being a little bit more aware of what you're supposed to be doing and where you're supposed to be."If you can get...

Kreider Not Easily Fazed

During his conference call yesterday, John Tortorella gave this comment on his impressions of Chris Kreider's performance up until this point (via Bergen Record)..."The thing that impressed me the most about him right now in just a couple of days being with him is forget what's on the ice, it's how he's handled the situation. I'm sure there's a letdown...

Bourque Takes it to a New Level

By Bob Crawford That the Connecticut Whale swept division-champion Bridgeport, a team that had played better than .700 hockey since the turn of the New Year, was surprising enough.  That they did it without their regular-season scoring leader, Kris Newbury, registering a point, and with second-leading scorer Jonathan Audy-Marchessault being held to one goal, borders on amazing...

Breaking Down Rangers vs. Capitals Semifinal Series

Unfortunately with the Eastern Conference Semifinals beginning just two days after the New York Rangers eliminated the Ottawa Senators in Game 7 of the quarterfinals, time is limited on what I can bring you as far as preview material goes. But thankfully there are not many secrets to be unveiled in this Rangers – Capitals second round match-up, because these two clubs have become...

US Broadcast Schedule For Thursday

PROGRAMMING ALERT – April 25, 2012—The NBC Sports Network will air a Conference Quarterfinal Game 7 double-header on Thursday night with support coverage provided by the NHL Network. The NHL announced the schedule for the final two games of the Conference Quarterfinals earlier today. Coverage of the Ottawa Senators-New York Rangers Game 7 from Madison Square Garden in New York...

Breaking Down Round Two: Capitals vs. Rangers

As we learned late Thursday night with the result of the Rangers’ game seven, the Washington Capitals will face off against the Blueshirts in the Eastern Conference semifinals.  It will be the third time in the last four seasons that the Caps have played the boys from Broadway in the postseason.  Read on for my breakdown of the series, broken down piece by piece. Forwards: The...

New Wrinkle Added to the Senators vs Rangers Rivalry

For their next installment in their popular gaming franchise, EA Sports has opted to let fans ultimately decide which NHL player they want to adorn the cover of NHL 13. By creating a 60-player tournament bracket in which every organization was represented by two players, EA Sports has encouraged fans to get out and vote for their favorite player(s). I'm assuming that EA created...

Erik Karlsson A Finalist For the Norris Trophy

Although the NHL has not officially released the finalists for the league's Norris Trophy, TSN's Brent Wallace has sources that have told him that Erik Karlsson is indeed one of the three finalists. Erik Karlsson, Shea Weber and Zdeno Chara are the Norris Trophy Finalists. #NHLAwards #Sens — Brent Wallace (@tsn_wally) April 26, 2012 Having led NHL defencemen in points...

The Fans Have Spoken!

Yesterday, we asked you, the fans, who you did or did not want the Flyers to play in Round 2 of the 2012 NHL Playoffs. We promised that we would post our favorite comments onto the site in an article just like this one. We were originally going to post one unique comment per team, but we figured we would put as many as we could. These comments were mainly from yesterday before...
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.