May 25, 2012

Boyle, Rangers confident they can stave off elimination

By Jesse Connolly

It’s do-or-die time for the Rangers, as New York enters Game 6 on Friday night trailing the Devils three games to two in the Eastern Conference finals. 

Devils d-man Mark Fayne (Sagamore Beach, Mass.) and Rangers center Brian Boyle (Hingham, Mass.) battle in front of the net. (Getty Images)

By the time the first period was halfway through in Game 5, the Blueshirts found themselves trailing by three goals, as Stephen Gionta, Patrik Elias and Travis Zajac each tallied for New Jersey to give the Devils a commanding lead. But from there, the Rangers took over.

Brandon Prust made it a 3-1 game heading into the first intermission, captain Ryan Callahan cut the lead to one in the second period and Marian Gaborik knotted things up 17 seconds into the third. But New Jersey reclaimed the lead with 4:24 to go on a goal by Ryan Carter and Devils captain Zach Parise buried an empty-netter in the final minute to seal the deal.  

John Tortorella’s (Melrose, Mass.) squad out-shot the Devils 28-17 in the setback and was admittedly happy with the way the Rangers played and fought back to give themselves a chance.

"I thought we probably played our best game of the series tonight," Tortorella said after the game.

While the Devils have been the more aggressive team in the series, it was a bit of a role reversal that got New York back in the game, as the Rangers began taking the play to their opponent.

"We know we can do those things. That's what we've done all year," Rangers center Brian Boyle (Hingham, Mass.) said. "We have confidence as a group. We don't need to say, 'Oh, we did some good things,' a moral victory to give ourselves confidence. We know we can do some things with the puck. We can forecheck and create offense that way. As the game wore on, we did a better job of that."

For Boyle, neither the number of big plays nor the valiant effort the Rangers made are much consolation.

"It doesn't really matter that we came back," said Boyle. "We didn't finish it off."

If they don’t find a way to earn a win in New Jersey on Friday night, finished is exactly what the Rangers’ playoff run will be. Tortorella believes his squad should be able to build off of their performance in Game 5.

"I have a tremendous amount of confidence in how we'll react to this," Tortorella said.

The puck is set to drop at 8 o’clock at Prudential Center.

Jesse Connolly can be reached at jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseNEHJ.