NEWARK — It all comes down to this. The New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils will meet Monday night for Game 7 of their first-round series which has seen plenty of highs and lows from both sides.
New York forced a deciding game thanks to an offensive barrage on home ice in Game 6 that ended up chasing the young phenom Akira Schmid from the contest. The 5-2 victory set the stage for New Jersey to host their first Game 7 since the 4-3 loss to Carolina in the 2009 conference quarterfinals.
Even though the Rangers are still a young team, they have had plenty of experience getting ready for Game 7s in hostile territory. It’s that experience the team will be leaning on as they try to advance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second straight year.
“I’m excited to play a Game 7,” Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant said Monday morning. “I’m looking forward to it. We’ve done it a few times last year so should be fun.”
The Rangers have been one of the most successful teams in Game 7s in NHL history. The team has won seven of their last eight “winner-take-all” contests including two last year against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes.
Of course, before that series though, it had been a few years since the Rangers had battled in that scenario. Now with other aging stars to guide and help them, the Blueshirts believe they are ready to take care of business against an inexperienced Devils roster.
“Not much needs to be said,” Patrick Kane explained. “The guys in here have had a lot of experience, and I think all of us have played our fair share of them in Juniors or here in the NHL. There’s nothing like Game 7 so definitely an exciting game to be a part of.”
Kane’s comments are a far cry from where the Blueshirts were before the weekend began. After New Jersey adjusted their roster by starting the rookie goaltender Akira Schmid, the Devils took three straight games in the series with two wins coming at Madison Square Garden.
But facing elimination has been nothing new for New York. And as long as they have one of the best goaltenders on the planet, the roster will continue to be extremely confident.
“Igor’s the best if not one of the best goalies in the NHL. It’s been great for us and he’s been outstanding for us,” Gallant added. “He’s been our best player.”
New York’s had a lot of success in Game 7s throughout their history, but as the Stanley Cup Playoffs have taught us throughout this current round, anything can happen on any given night.
Game 7 between the Rangers and Devils is scheduled to begin at 8:00 pm – ET at the Prudential Center.