FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- There are no longer any options for the New York Rangers. There is no longer any wiggle room. There is only one game, one win, or their Presidents’ Trophy-winning, 55-victory season will be for naught.

They are facing elimination with a must-win Game 6 of the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Final against the Florida Panthers at Amerant Bank Arena on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN+, SN, TVAS, CBC).

They know it will not be simple, not to defeat a Panthers team that has at times controlled the action against them, especially down in Florida. They know it will not be a gimme, not against a team gunning for its second straight Stanley Cup Final appearance.

But, really, is it supposed to be?

“We’ve said it multiple times: Winning the Stanley Cup is not supposed to be easy,” forward Vincent Trocheck said Friday. “It’s these kind of moments that really form a team into a team that can become a championship team. So I think going into tomorrow, we just have to not take for granted the position that we’re in and not take for granted the opportunity that we have ahead of us.”

Are the Rangers top stars bought in to this series?

It's a situation -- or, rather, opportunity -- that the Rangers are familiar with.

There are 15 players on the Rangers roster, 13 of whom have played in this series, who were on the roster in 2021-22 when they faced elimination in multiple postseason series. They were down 3-1 in the first round against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a series they went on to win in seven games. They were down 3-2 in the second round against the Carolina Hurricanes, a series they went on to win in seven games.

So, they’ve been here before. It’s something forward Barclay Goodrow said the team can draw from, while also acknowledging that this is a different team with a different coaching staff, a different scenario.

“At this point, we’ve all been through playoff series, or through times when you just have to dig deep, you have no other option,” Goodrow said. “It’s about embracing the adversity. We have no other option but to bring our best game tomorrow.”

So, have they shown that “best game” yet in these playoffs? Against the Panthers?

“I think we’ve had that in the playoffs. I think even so far this series, it hasn’t been for a sustained 60 minutes,” Goodrow said. “It’s been two periods in a game or a period or just not a full 60 minutes. I think when we do that, we know how good we are and we know, just from all the success we’ve had throughout the year, what that game looks like.

“I think when your back’s against the wall, I think you have no other option but to leave it all on the ice and be that desperate team that just doesn’t go down without a fight.”

The Rangers and Panthers have played a tight series over the first five games. After Game 1, a 3-0 loss for the Rangers that was a one-goal game until less than four minutes remained in the third period, the next three games went to overtime. The Rangers won 3-2 in Game 2, then took Game 3, 5-4. They lost Game 4, also by a 3-2 score. Game 5 ended in regulation, a 3-2 win for the Panthers that put the Rangers on the brink of elimination.

“We’ve got to win a hockey game,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “There should be a lot of confidence in our team. We won 55 games in the regular season, won 10 games in the playoffs. Our group knows how to win hockey games. We’ve got to wake up tomorrow and win a hockey game.

“You’re right, urgency is high and we’ve got to be ready. We’ve got to fight for something here. Nobody goes through this and gets to the end without having to fight for it. Tomorrow we’ve got to dig in.”

The focus will narrow Saturday. There is one single game ahead of them. One game that matters. One win that’s needed.

If they can do that, if they can win that game, they will have forced Game 7. They will have remained alive.

For now, that’s all that matters.

“I think we look at it as an opportunity,” Trocheck said. “Obviously you have to play with more desperation. Your back’s against the wall. It’s win or go home. I think we look at it and we have to kind of embrace this.”

There is no other choice.

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