Rangers' emotions will run high again in Game 6
NEW YORK — Emotions that will radiate Sunday throughout Madison Square Garden will be genuine.
Right wing Martin St. Louis will have father Normand and sister Isabelle there for Game 6 against the Penguins. The Rangers star's mother, France, died Thursday. Sunday is Mother's Day.
For a building that sells emotion, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault hopes what transpires will be enough to push his team to Game 7.
“It's going to be another emotional night for our group,” Vigneault said Saturday. “Hopefully that will bring us some positive energy.”
Rangers used the sentiment surrounding St. Louis on Friday to author their best effort of the series. They attempted 65 shots and threw 28 hits while using their forecheck to force the Penguins to defend.
The Rangers were unsure whether St. Louis would play in Game 4. After being told of the news of his mother's death, St. Louis flew to Montreal to grieve with his family. Following a discussion with his father, he rejoined the Rangers on Friday.
“Our team rallied around that,” center Brad Richards said.
Among the Rangers who stepped to the fore were Mats Zuccarello, Derick Brassard, Benoit Pouliot and top line left wing Chris Kreider.
The Zuccarello-Brassard-Pouliot line accounted for two goals and five assists for seven points. Kreider, in only his second game back after missing 19 with a broken left hand, had a goal and an assist.
Kreider's sequence on New York's first goal set the tone.
With New York on a power play, he dived to block a clearing pass, then scrambled to his feet and drove to the net before tapping Ryan McDonagh's rebound past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. The Rangers led 1-0 and had their first man-advantage goal in the series.
“He's one of the strongest hockey players I've ever seen in a gym,” Richards said. “He'd probably like to have a little more on his hands, his timing, but when you can skate and are as strong as he is, it makes it a lot easier.”
The Rangers, who trail the Penguins 3-2 in the best-of-seven second-round series, stayed Friday night in Pittsburgh following Game 5 because Westchester (N.Y.) County airport was fogged in, Vigneault said. The team flew home Saturday and did not practice.
St. Louis did not travel with the team, opting to fly to Montreal on Friday night.
Denis Gorman is a freelance writer.