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5 Keys: Senators at Rangers, Game 6

Ottawa looking to reach Eastern Conference Final; New York hoping goaltender Henrik Lundqvist continues to thrive in elimination games

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor


7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports

Ottawa leads best-of-7 series 3-2

NEW YORK -- The Ottawa Senators have a chance to close the Eastern Conference Second Round against the New York Rangers in Game 6 at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.

The Senators were less than two minutes away from going down 3-2 in the series Saturday, but Derick Brassard tied Game 5 with 1:26 remaining in the third period and Kyle Turris scored 6:28 into overtime.

Here are 5 keys to Game 6:


1. Henrik Lundqvist thrives in elimination games

Lundqvist usually plays his best when the season is on the line. He is 15-5 with a 1.74 goals-against average and .945 save percentage when the Rangers have faced elimination, dating to Game 6 against the Senators in the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The Rangers won that series in seven games.

Lundqvist is 10-1 with a 1.05 GAA, a .965 save percentage and two shutouts in his past 11 home games when the Rangers have faced elimination since Game 4 of the 2008 conference semifinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"I think it helps a lot of guys to know what type of mindset you need," Lundqvist said. "It's not so much about game plan. It's going to come down to how you focus, how you manage your thoughts, and from there you're going to execute better."

Video: NYR@OTT, Gm5: Lundqvist shuts down Ryan's rush


2. Senators need better start

The Senators trailed after 20 minutes in Game 3 and in Game 4 in New York, a trend they realize needs to change if they hope to avoid having to play a Game 7 at home Thursday.

The Rangers took a 2-0 lead on 15 shots in the first period of Game 3, and a 1-0 lead on 11 shots in the first period of Game 4.

"We need to be better than the last time we were here," Senators coach Guy Boucher said. "We've got to have a good 10-minute start because we know they'll come out surging. We want a good start and having a good start doesn't necessarily mean we have to have the lead, but we just don't want to give up freebies and want to have a pushback right away because we know they're going to be surging. Whatever happens in the first period, we have to manage it like we did the last game and give ourselves a chance."


3. Keep being resilient

Each time it has appeared as though the Senators were going to fold, they have bounced back. The most recent evidence was Game 5, when they fell behind 2-0 in the first period but rallied and won in overtime.

"We're a resilient group," forward Alexandre Burrows said. "We show a lot of character. I've only been here for 20 games plus playoffs, but looking at it from the outside and knowing everything this team went through in the year with [forward Clarke MacArthur] in training camp [with his concussion] and what [goaltender Craig Anderson] has been going through [with his wife having cancer], those are really emotional stories bigger than the hockey game, and that builds character."

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


4. Don't get frustrated

The Rangers have been the better team for much of this series, yet their backs are against the wall in Game 6. Coach Alain Vigneault certainly will be stressing the importance of not allowing his players to become frustrated.

The Senators have led for a total of 13:10 during the series.

"We're controlling the elements we can control," Vigneault said. "Our intentions are to continue to play. Obviously Ottawa's intentions are to end this series. It should make for a great hockey game, but we're going to be ready come puck drop and we're going to compete real hard."


5. Realize the situation but play your game

The Rangers obviously understand the scenario: win or go home. But they also know they must not allow nerves to get in the way, that they must play the way that has allowed them to get this far in the first place.

"The season is on the line but you can't be holding the stick too tight or really getting nervous about it and thinking too much," defenseman Dan Girardi said. "You've just got to go out there and play hard. Every little play counts. It starts with a good start, carry some momentum and work off you do of that."


[RELATED: Complete Senators-Rangers series coverage]


Senators projected lineup

Viktor Stalberg -- Derick Brassard -- Mark Stone

Ryan Dzingel -- Kyle Turris -- Bobby Ryan

Mike Hoffman -- Jean-Gabriel Pageau -- Tom Pyatt

Clarke MacArthur -- Zack Smith -- Alexandre Burrows

Marc Methot -- Erik Karlsson

Dion Phaneuf -- Cody Ceci

Ben Harpur -- Chris Wideman

Craig Anderson

Mike Condon

Scratched: Tommy Wingels, Chris Kelly, Fredrik Claesson, Chris Neil, Colin White, Jyrki Jokipakka, Christopher DiDomenico

Injured: Mark Borowiecki (lower body)


Rangers projected lineup

Jimmy Vesey -- Derek Stepan -- Rick Nash

Chris Kreider -- Mika Zibanejad -- Mats Zuccarello

Michael Grabner -- Kevin Hayes -- Jesper Fast

Tanner Glass -- Oscar Lindberg -- J.T. Miller

Ryan McDonagh -- Dan Girardi

Marc Staal -- Nick Holden

Brady Skjei -- Brendan Smith

Henrik Lundqvist

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Pavel Buchnevich, Matt Puempel, Brandon Pirri, Adam Clendening, Kevin Klein, Steven Kampfer

Injured: None


Status report

Boucher did not speak with the media Tuesday morning, so it's unknown if Neil will play again. He had 2:26 of ice time in Game 5. … The Rangers aren't expected to make any changes.


Who's hot

Turris has goals in two straight games. … Holden has goals in back-to-back games. ... McDonagh has five points (two goals, three assists) in the series.

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