The New York Rangers are used to playing a seventh game.
“Looks like we’re playing a lot, unfortunately,” forward Chris Kreider said.
This time they are happy to take part and they are in a known position against an opponent who does not have the same experience. After winning at home to avoid elimination, the Rangers visit the New Jersey Devils on Monday night to determine which team will face the Carolina Hurricanes in the next round.
“It’s a lot of stress and a lot of pressure, but it’s also only one game,” said Rangers winger Vladimir Tarasenko, who won the Stanley Cup in 2019. “Either you win and you move on, or you are eliminated. »
The Rangers find themselves in Game 7 for the third time in four series. The Devils have 12 players on their roster who have never played in a seventh NHL game.
“Where would you rather meet? When you’re younger, that’s something you’d like to experience,” said Devils head coach Lindy Ruff, who is 0-4 in Game 7 of the NHL. We’ve worked hard all year to get here. »
Game 7 will take place across the Hudson River in Newark because the Devils finished the season five points ahead of the Rangers. But that doesn’t mean much, as Rangers have won the first two away games.
This will be the third game number 7 of this series, after those of Sunday evening between the Florida Panthers and the Boston Bruins as well as the Colorado Avalanche and the Seattle Kraken.
The Rangers and Devils are facing Game 7 for the third time in franchise history, but the first two came in 1992 and 1994. Only eight of the 40 players expected to be in uniform were born.
So it’s a completely different chapter. Devils forward Tomas Tatar, one of the players with Game 7 experience, thinks he and his teammates will pull themselves together after missing an early opportunity to advance to the second round.
“If we keep our game plan and play our style of play, everything will be fine,” Tatar said. It will be a difficult game. We knew before this series started that it would be difficult. We need to stay calm and take a deep breath. »
When they expire, they will see in net their number one goalkeeper Vitek Vanecek or the surprising Akira Schmid. Vanecek lost the first two games of the series and Schmid stopped 80 of 82 shots before being sent off Saturday.
“We will have a discussion as is usually the case with coaches,” expressed Ruff.
There will be no doubt for the Rangers, who will have Vezina Trophy winner Igor Shesterkin in net.
“We have been in this position before. We have played number 7 games abroad, insisted captain Jacob Trouba. We need to bring that same style of play.”