ShareThis Page

Rangers no strangers to playing Game 7s

| Monday, May 12, 2014, 9:48 p.m.

NEW YORK — A sly grin creased Alain Vigneault's face.

A few minutes after the New York Rangers forced Game 7 of the Stanley Cup playoffs second-round series with a 3-1 win over the Penguins, it was suggested to Vigneault that his team felt its collective anger at its unaccountably poor Game 4 performance was both a positive and a rallying point.

“Yeah, well, that's one way to look at it,” the Rangers' coach said as reporters in the news conference room on Madison Square Garden's fifth floor convulsed in laughter.

Vigneault could afford to be lighthearted. In the span of four days, the Rangers went from being a group that appeared to be outclassed by the Penguins to one that may author a bit of franchise history.

The Rangers have never won a best-of-seven series in which they trailed 3-1. A win in Game 7 on Tuesday at Consol Energy Center, and the Rangers will be headed to the Eastern Conference Final for the second time in three years. A win Tuesday would also mark New York's first playoff series win against the Penguins.

“We don't focus on them,” Derick Brassard said following the Game 6 win Sunday night. His goal with 4:30 remaining in the second period allowed the Rangers to regain a two-goal advantage after Brandon Sutter's marker at 16:56 of the first cut the New York lead to 2-1.

“We try to play them hard, obviously. Some players on their team can change the game at any time but in the past two games we've focused on us. We don't really pay attention to what they do. We try to bring our game to them. If we get them frustrated it's a big plus for us, but we just try to play hard.”

The NHL's fourth-best defensive team in the regular season — the Rangers allowed 190 goals, an average of 2.32 per game — New York has begun to use its speed and forecheck to force the Penguins to defend in the past two games. As a result, the Rangers have outscored the Penguins, 8-2, and appear to have frustrated Sidney Crosby, who has one goal on 17 shots in the series.

This is a Rangers squad that is familiar with Game 7s. It played in five win-or-go-home-for-the-summer games since 2009. New York has won their past four Game 7s, including a 2-1 win over the Flyers in the first round this season.

“It is what it is,” Derek Stepan said of playing in another Game 7. “They're fun, exciting games. It's certainly going to be a big challenge going into (Pittsburgh) and trying to get a game.”

Denis Gorman is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.