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Roenick: Pressure mounting for Rangers

by Dan Rosen

With the Rangers and Devils locked in a 1-1 tie in the Eastern Conference Finals, reached out to NBC Sports analyst Jeremy Roenick to get his take on what each team has to do to get the advantage in Game 3 Saturday at Prudential Center (1 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS).

"This is one of the bigger rivalries in all of hockey," Roenick said, "and the pressure on the Rangers is 10 times more than it was against Ottawa [in the first round] and 20 times more than it was against Washington [in the second round]."

The Rangers lost home-ice advantage by losing Game 2 on Wednesday. To get it back, Roenick said the onus is on the Rangers' star players to step up.

In order for the Devils to take advantage of their home ice, Roenick said they have to duplicate their efforts from Game 2.

Here is his entire breakdown Game 3:

What do the Rangers have to do to win Game 3?

Marian Gaborik
Marian Gaborik
Right Wing - NYR
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 6 | PTS: 10
SOG: 47 | +/-: 2
"First and foremost, 100 percent, they have to get Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards to be the best players on the ice. There is a big problem with scoring depth on this team and for some reason Gaborik seems to fade in and fade out. He is so explosive, so dominant and his speed is so overwhelming that he can cause fits for a good New Jersey defense. He got into some trouble with [coach] John Tortorella in Game 2 and he needs to bounce back and show the pride in himself as a hockey player. They need scoring, and the two best scorers on that team are Gaborik and Richards."

How do they go about accomplishing it?

"I've seen Marian Gaborik be dynamic and be explosive, and I would love to see him have a big game. Character is shown in situations like this. It's built in the playoffs and reputations are built in the playoffs. Some guys have to look in the mirror and decide how they want to be seen as hockey players, not only by their coach but by the fans and media."

What kind of pressure will it put on the Devils if they are successful at it?

"It puts a lot of pressure on the Devils because these two guys can dictate a hockey game. Gaborik's explosive speed coming out of the zone poses a big threat to the Devils defense. That's a good defense, but guys like Marek Zidlicky are not fleet of foot. Gaborik can take advantage of some of their older guys. When he gets out in the open, his speed and his shot could pose problems for the Devils and Martin Brodeur. The book on Marty is to shoot low, and both Richards and Gaborik are great shooters. They need to use their speed to get into the open areas and exploit the Devils' weaknesses."

What do the Devils have to do to win Game 3?

"They need to do exactly what they did in Game 2. They need to use their building to their

David Clarkson
David Clarkson
Right Wing - NJD
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 6 | PTS: 9
SOG: 31 | +/-: 6
advantage and make sure they have the matchups against Gaborik and against Richards."

How do they go about accomplishing it?

"They just have to chip away. They've played a very good playoff system in terms of their system. They get the puck in deep. They have a hard forecheck. They get good support. They put a lot of pucks on the net. They crash the net. [David] Clarkson crashes the net really well. [Zach] Parise crashes the net really well. And they score goals because of it. They have to avoid the run-and-gun type of game. All they have to do is play their hard-checking, intense-style game that has gotten them here and hope that Marty has another stellar night."

What kind of pressure will it put on the Rangers if they are successful at it?

"It puts a tremendous amount of pressure because this is the tunnel series; these teams are separated by what, four miles? Everybody is expecting the Rangers to win and there is a much bigger fan base for the Rangers. There are a lot of people relying on the Rangers to beat the Devils, and the Devils can really put a hurt on the Rangers if they play their game, just like they did in Game 2."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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