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Rangers confident returning home for Game 6 against Senators

New York believes right mindset will come with playing at Madison Square Garden

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- During the Eastern Conference Second Round between the New York Rangers and the Ottawa Senators, the Rangers have dominated at Madison Square Garden, where they won Game 3 and Game 4 by an identical 4-1 margin.

In all, they have led for 179:52 of the 329:22 played in the series, and trailed for 13:10. All three of their losses have been by one goal, including two in overtime.

For a team trailing the best-of-7 series 3-2 entering Game 6 at MSG on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports), that helps make the Rangers more confident than they otherwise might be.

But that doesn't guarantee anything.

"I hope guys understand you can't just show up and it's going to happen like that again," captain Ryan McDonagh said. "It was our process and it was our focus beforehand that helped us go out there and play the way we needed to play. Having that right mindset when we come back here tonight is going to help us."

But it does help that Game 6 is at home, where the Rangers have performed their best in this series.

Video: A preview of Game 6 between the Sens and Rangers

Of course, that can bring with it overconfidence, which the Rangers also do not want.

"Experience can only go so far," McDonagh said. "You've got to have the right mindset, for sure, and that helps with your preparation. But as far as going out and playing and executing, playing sharp with and without the puck, those are actions. You've got to go out and do it and make it happen.

"That's what our group is trying to do here: Make sure we're saying the right things here today, doing the right things yesterday in practice, getting ourselves physically and mentally ready to play this morning."

It's not a situation that the Rangers would prefer to be in, as forward Rick Nash pointed out Tuesday, but it's the situation that they're in.

Still, they're ready to play, and to win.


[RELATED: Complete Rangers vs. Senators series coverage


"I don't think we're frustrated at all," forward Tanner Glass said. "We know where we can be better. Last game we weren't great at all. So we take comfort in knowing that it's a one-goal game, it's a very close game, and we're not playing our game. If we can shore up those areas we looked at yesterday, we'll be fine."

And that's exactly what coach Alain Vigneault is trying to do. To prepare his team, to make sure they know exactly what kind of an opportunity they have here, to focus on the process. They win Game 6 and they move on to a winner-take-all Game 7 in Ottawa on Thursday.

As he said, "It's obviously not just another game. There's a lot more at stake."

His players understand that.

"We know what's at stake if it doesn't go the way you want it to," McDonagh said. "You want to make sure that you do whatever you can to not let that happen. Our group is going to go out there and put our best game out there on the ice."

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