The bad news is if the Rangers lose tomorrow, they go home.
The good news is that they have been here before.
The Blueshirts are used to staring defeat in the face and laughing about it. They have won 14 of 17 elimination games, dating back to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in 2012 against Ottawa. New York has also won eight of nine playoff games when facing elimination since the start of the 2014 Playoffs.
“I think this is, obviously, a little different stage than the one we were on before, but a lot of the same things need to be done in order to get ourselves back into it,” said center Derek Stepan. “We knew how much work it took to get back in the Washington series. It’s going to take just as much work in this series.
“I just think our group, we just go out and play. We find a way to get it done, even though we don’t really panic. We don’t really find anything to get down on ourselves. We play confident, we stick to the keys that let us be successful during the year.”
Look it’s their own fault. Unable to come through at all last night puts the Blueshirts on the brink of elimination. They didn’t execute last night. They were unable to capitalize on their chances and frankly, Tampa Bay did.
“We had those two games, one scored a lot of goals, and then we had three games that haven’t scored enough,” said left wing Carl Hagelin. “I think yesterday we had some good momentum there in the second period. We had some good looks. We didn’t find a way to score, and they obviously got two quick ones.
“I think it’s just a matter of tomorrow, when we have the momentum, we have to make sure we get the puck in.”
They also will need Henrik Lundqvist on his game. The Rangers netminder is at his best in these situations and he has to be the best player on the ice tomorrow.
“When we need him to close the door, he does that,” said defenseman Marc Staal. “There have been a lot of games where it’s one shot or one chance that can be the difference in the game, and he’s come up big for us in those moments when we need him. I expect nothing less tomorrow night.”
There’s not much more to say. The Rangers know what they have to do to keep on playing and get this series back to a Game 7 at the Garden on Friday.
“If we don’t win, we’re done,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “It’s just a matter of reading your team and the energy level and the execution. A lot of it sometimes has to do with exactly that, and how some guys are performing and the pace out there. And right now the pace, whether it be offensively or defensively, it’s quick. When you’re at ice level and you’re seeing the execution and the intensity that’s there, that’s as quick as I’ve seen in a long time.”