NEW YORK -- Much has been made of the New York Rangers' record in Game 7s, especially at Madison Square Garden, where they are 7-0, including a 4-0 record in the past four seasons.
But with a trip to the Stanley Cup Final on the line Friday against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports), the Rangers are going to need to play better than they have at home during the series, where they've lost two of three games and have scored a total of four goals.
Following a 2-1 win in Game 1, the Rangers lost Game 2 and Game 5 at MSG by a combined score of 8-2.
"It doesn't matter what happened in the first games here," Rangers forward Carl Hagelin said Friday. "We know we didn't play the way we wanted and we know we have another level. So the plan is to reach that higher level tonight and do everything we can to win."
In three home games during the series New York is 2-for-11 on the power play and has killed eight of 13 penalties. But that's in the past now.
"I think we know how good you have to play in a game like this to be able to win," Hagelin said. "I think a lot of guys have been through it before and that gives us some confidence. But at the same time that was last year or earlier this year. It doesn't matter now. We have to go out and play the best hockey we have all playoffs."
The Rangers have won five of their past six Game 7s by a 2-1 score. They expect another close, low-scoring game Friday.
"I've got a lot of trust and faith in our team's preparation," coach Alain Vigneault said. "The individual part is obviously their responsibility to get in their mental zone so they can go out on the ice and execute."
Forward Dominic Moore said the Rangers' experience in Game 7s is important, but anything can happen.
"We're trying to prepare the same way every game. There is no rhyme or reason to this," Moore said. "Experience counts for a lot but every game is a new game. So it doesn't really help you."
Here are the projected lineups:
Alex Killorn - Valtteri Filppula - Steven Stamkos
Nikita Kucherov - Tyler Johnson - Ondrej Palat
Brian Boyle - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan
J.T. Brown - Brenden Morrow
Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman
Braydon Coburn - Jason Garrison
Matt Carle- Andrej Sustr
Scratched: Jonathan Drouin, Jonathan Marchessault, Vladislav Namestnikov, Mark Barberio
Rick Nash - Derick Brassard - J.T. Miller
Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Jesper Fast
Carl Hagelin - Kevin Hayes - Martin St. Louis
Tanner Glass - Dominic Moore - James Sheppard
Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Dan Boyle
Keith Yandle - Kevin Klein
Scratched: Ryan Bourque, Matt Hunwick, Chris Summers
Injured: Mats Zuccarello (upper body)
Status report: Zuccarello skated in a non-contact jersey with the Rangers' extras and will not play.
Who's hot: Nash and Brassard each have three goals and four assists in their past three games.