Game 5 is Do or Die for the New York Rangersby Liz Pendergraft May 11, 2022 0 comments
The New York Rangers are facing elimination from the playoffs at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Pittsburgh has a 3-1 lead in the series, and the Rangers will have to win the next three in a row if they want to move on to the next round. The Rangers have done it before. However, this group has yet to prove they are worthy of continuing the fight. Pittsburgh needs one more win; the Rangers have themselves backed in a corner. So what will New York have to do to win Game 5?
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The Rangers have been taking unnecessary penalties, and the penguins are profiting. It is killing their momentum and the fans in the crowd. The Rangers have had 14 penalties in the first four games, and Pittsburgh capitalized on 4, turning them into goals. New York should know better, yet they still keep taking the penalties. The Penguins only have 11 penalties; however, do not let the number fool you. Six of those penalties came in Game 2, so they are not as evenly distributed as the number might have you believe. Interestingly enough, the Rangers won Game 2.
Igor Shesterkin is Not God
At least he is not yet. So, until that happens, the players in front of him need to do a better job of helping him. Despite being a Vezina Trophy finalist, he cannot do it all by himself. He tried, though, but it will lead to fatigue and burnout. Shesterkin was outstanding in the first two matchups, but he was pulled for both the games in Pittsburgh. Also, if they want to help their goalie out, the Rangers need to do a better job of getting the puck out of their own end. We have seen it many times during the regular season, and it is still an issue now. There are too many chances for the Penguins to put the puck on net to see if it goes in.
Shoot the Puck for Richter’s Sake
Another issue that has plagued the Rangers all season is not shooting the puck. They’ve spent many a time passing…and passing…and passing. Unfortunately, they are making pretty little fancy passes. If you miss 100% of the shots you do not take, then the Rangers are golden. Throughout the series, the Penguins have been able to get control of the puck and keep it. If the Rangers are not going to do anything to counter that, then they need to start shooting the puck whenever they have it. Players such as Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, and Chris Kreider need to be more selfish with the puck and keep putting it on net instead of passing.
There is No “I” in Team, But There is in Win
The Rangers need to work together despite the players needing to be selfish when attempting to put the puck on net. In the first period of Game 1, they looked incredible. The Rangers were in control, and Pittsburgh appeared as if they did not know what was going on. However, since period 2 of Game 1, it has been all Pittsburgh all the time. It was what fans were hoping to see more of, but sadly it has not happened again. The boys in blue have gotten some good looks now and then, but their play and demeanor scream chaos and confusion.
Pick a Plan, Any Plan
Gerard Gallant seems not to have a plan to combat what has occurred on the ice. Everyone knows the coach wants the team to play a certain way, but in the end, modifications always need to be made if your plan is not working. Perhaps it is a case of the players simply not executing the coach’s plan. It is always a possibility. Since multiple reports indicated that Gallant made the team perform sprints after yesterday’s practice, it is the more likely scenario.
If the players are not doing what they are supposed to do, it would make it difficult for the coach to develop a new plan. So what would be the point? Gallant needs to adopt a new strategy to overcome not only the onslaught by Pittsburgh but the way his players are responding.
What Can the Rangers Do?
- Shoot the puck more
- Stop taking penalties
- Listen to their coach
- Keep the puck out of their end
- Veterans need to step up
- Understand Pittsburgh’s game plan and adjust accordingly
- Bench Patrik Nemeth
- Tell your goalie you love him and appreciate everything he has done
The Rangers need a miracle to make it past the Penguins. So who will be the hero and give it to them?
Follow Liz Pendergraft on Twitter @lizzibear824
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images