Steve Zipay takes you inside the locker room, home and on the road, with the New York Rangers, and also writes about the NHL, off and on the ice.
Brad Richards: "We have to play best game of the year"
OTTAWA----Center Brian Boyle (concussion) did not make the trip here with the Rangers for a critical Game 6, but it appears that the lineup, except for the return of winger Carl Hagelin, who completed his three-game suspension, will remain the same.
“I’m very confident we can go win a game without him (Boyle),” said Brad Richards, who likely will be reunited with Hagelin and Marian Gaborik. “We’re just concerned about his health.”
After today’s morning skate, Henrik Lundqvist said the Rangers “can’t overthink” tonight’s must-win that would send the series back to New York for a Game 7 on Thursday. “We just have to get it done.”
Captain Ryan Callahan said the team has “an us-against-the-world mentality…We’ve got to win this game. We don’t want the season to end. If we play desperate hockey, we’ll be okay.”
Not having Boyle, who has scored three goals in the series, “is a big loss for us,” Callahan said. “Everybody knows how he’s been in the playoffs. At the same time, somebody else has got to step up.”
Regardless of how the team feels about the Chris Neil hit on Boyle, “we’ve got to stay smart, stay disciplined,” said Brandon Dubinsky.
Callahan expects the Senators, who will have captain Daniel Alfredsson back in the lineup, will come out on an emotional high. “I think the first 10 minutes are going to be key. We've got to get pucks deep. They're going to have a good start; we have to be ready."
"No matter who's in the lineup, we have to play our best game of the year," said Richards.
To begin, Derek Stepan will likely center a second line with Artem Anisimov and Ryan Callahan. Brandon Dubinsky will be between Ruslan Fedotenko and Brandon Prust. John Mitchell will center Chris Kreider and Mike Rupp. The defense should be Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi; Marc Staal-Anton Stralman; Stu Bickel-Michael Del Zotto.