The New York Rangers are one win away from reaching the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1994.
After Martin St. Louis’ overtime goal gave them a 3-2 victory in Game 4, the Rangers seized a 3-1 series lead.
While the excitement of being that close to booking a trip to the Final is certainly there, Rangers alternate captain Brad Richards knows the job isn’t done yet as Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants shared.
“This is far from over,” Richards said. “I remember sitting in here down 3-1 against Pittsburgh. They will feel bad tonight, but tomorrow they will wake up in front of their home crowd and once that game starts, 3-1, you throw that out the window and it is back in the battle again.
“We have to realize the longer it goes the more life and more belief they get, so it’s going to be a very important start to the next game.”
That last line fits in well with what St. Louis told NBCSN’s Pierre McGuire after the game saying the Rangers had to “finish it” in Game 5.
The last thing the Rangers want to do is give the Canadiens any inspiration the same way the Penguins did for them in the previous round. New York came back from being down 3-1 to the Penguins buoyed by Henrik Lundqvist’s stellar play in goal.
If Montreal is going to turn the tables on New York the same way, it’ll be on Dustin Tokarski to make it happen.
Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.
It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.
“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”
Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.
Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.
Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.
“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”
Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.
The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.
“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”
Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.
The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.
If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.