3 New York Rangers who have to step up their play going into game 6

May 31, 2024  (3:07 PM)

Fox, Kreids, and Bread
Photo credit: New York Post

The New York Rangers have Stanley Cup hopes and the parallel to the 1994 team is uncanny, as like the 1994-era Rangers, they're down 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Mark Messier would come in clutch during Game 6 and force Game 7 with a hat-trick against the New Jersey Devils.
Mike Richter played his part saving 59 of 62 against the Devils as well.
Like the Rangers of past, their top performers will need to find their game to keep the team in the hunt, literally.

Adam Fox

There's been plenty of rumors that Adam Fox is playing through an injury and his performance lately, makes it hard to dispute.
He's been skating slower than usual, been caught flat-footed in key moments, and has made questionable passes lately. His judgment in playmaking hasn't been sound as a result.
Other than his pass to Lafreniere in Game 4, which led to a significant play, he's been inconsistent in performance, with only 7 assists in 15 games.
Maybe, Laviolette could scale back Fox's utilization and place Zac Jones in the lineup in order to rest Fox more, if he is injured truly.

Artemi Panarin

Panarin has come in clutch with four game-winning goals during the playoffs. The Rangers 2023-2024 MVP has made contributions to the struggle.
However, he himself as of late is struggling, despite Panarin's 67.36% xgf, if we're referring to Natural Stat Trick. Along with the line leading 49-26 in scoring chances, and 105-83 in edge shot attempts.
But the majority of that credit belongs to linemates Vinnie Troecheck, and Alexis Lafreniere. The MVP has been a ghost since the series against Carolina and has not looked like the 120-point winger of the regular season.
He's been on a scoreless drought for 8 games, with only 3 assists in 5 ECF games. It's getting harder to dispute that the 6", 175-pound winger is built for the regular season, but is getting squeezed out during the playoffs.
Panarin is best with the puck on his stick, leading the team in transition play and looking for passing lanes, many can't identify. But that hasn't been the case for Breadman this post-season.
The Panthers have effectively shut him out and he is a ghost, how can the Rangers move forward if their most gifted offensive forward is shut down?

Mika Zibanejad

Mika Zibanejad is a forward who the Blueshirts use in all scenarios, including the power-play and penalty kill. A two-way forward which the Rangers' lifeblood depends upon.
However he hasn't found a way to shut down the Panthers, as they're being outshot on ice, in 5v5 (55-17), decimated in attempts (128-57) and high-danger chances aren't better(22-8).
The 1st and 2nd lines of the Rangers have caved in when it comes to defending against Aleksander Barkov and Matthew Tkachuk, something that shouldn't be allowed to continue in such a tight series.
Zibanejad's line has also struggled to generate offensive pressure against the same 2 lines.
He may be New York's #1 Center, but he has to improve his game this series and in the future to attain elite status, compared to someone like Barkov. Undoubtedly, there are signs of life in Game 5 with two assists, but he has to generate 5v5 offensive zone pressure to keep the series alive.
Zibanejad, like Panarin have to overcome obstacles to become the players, the Rangers need them to be.
MAY 31   |   263 ANSWERS
3 New York Rangers who have to step up their play going into game 6

Who should step up their game in Game 6?

Adam Fox2810.6 %
Artemi Panarin12647.9 %
Mika Zibanejad10941.4 %
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