For a third consecutive series, the New York Rangers find themselves in a 3-2 hole. The comeback kids have been resilient in these playoffs winning 5 elimination games. With two of those coming on the road. It might be their toughest test yet. Tampa Bay has 6 straight wins at home and is 6-1 at home in these playoffs. To help break down Game 5 and preview how the Rangers can get back into the series I had 18-year pro and Barstool Sports/Spittin’ Chiclets personality Matt Murley on The Broadway Hat Podcast. Matt has been eating at Mika Zibanejad’s restaurant Brödernas and ordering the #93 burger on gamedays to bring him and the Rangers good luck.

Vasilevskiy is a Close Out Beast

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 09: Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning makes the save on Filip Chytil #72 of the New York Rangers in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on June 09, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

When it comes to closing out a team no goalie in the world is better than Andrei Vasilevskiy. He has allowed two or fewer goals in his team’s past 9 close-out games. He has 6 shutouts during that streak, which is an NHL record. If those numbers weren’t intimidating enough Vasilevskiy has been fantastic in the last 3 games of the series. He has allowed just 4 goals in the last 3 games, all Lightning wins, and has a .956 save percentage. Only 1 of those 4 goals came 5 on 5. The Rangers need to get going at even strength if they want to beat him.

Elimination Sniper

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 03: Chris Kreider #20 of the New York Rangers reacts before Game Two of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Madison Square Garden on June 03, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

While the Lightning have the close-out king in Vasilevskiy, the New York Rangers have the elimination sniper in Chris Kreider. Kreider has 15 career goals in elimination games, which is second all-time in NHL history, only behind the Captain Mark Messier. In the Rangers 5 elimination games these playoffs, Kreider has scored 5 goals. In the series, Kreider has 2 goals and 3 assists, but he and Mika Zibanejad need to set up 5 on 5 and generate some offense. If their line gets shut out tonight it will be tough for the Rangers to pull out a win.

Prediction

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 09: Andrew Copp #18 of the New York Rangers and Erik Cernak #81 of the Tampa Bay Lightning exchange words in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on June 9, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

This Rangers team has been resilient all year. Whenever they are counted out that is when they play their best. Now once again with their backs against the wall, I think the Rangers will come out and play a game like we saw in Game 7 against Carolina. They have five elimination wins and two have come on the road, so this isn’t new for them. They need to draw some penalties and they need the Panarin line to start producing. Give me the New York Rangers tonight to force a Game 7 back at MSG.

Be sure to bookmark our hockey page for hockey coverage and follow Belly Up Hockey on Twitter: @BellyUpHockey. Follow me on Twitter for more takes on the New York Rangers and USA Hockey: @KHallNYYou can also listen to my New York Rangers podcast The Broadway Hat Podcast on Apple Podcast and Spotify for Rangers news and interviews with past and current players.

About Author

Kyle Hall

Kyle is a lifelong diehard New York Rangers fan and in 2020 took over as the teams beat writer for Belly Up Sports. Kyle hosts a NY Rangers podcast on the Belly Up Podcast Network called The Broadway Hat Podcast. Kyle also covers USA Hockey and is a credentialed media member of the International Ice Hockey Federation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.