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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Game 7. Comeback Rangers ready to face the Penguins in

When the New York Rangers came back from Pittsburgh earlier in the week, they were on the verge of being eliminated by the Penguins after two bad defeats on the road.

After two spirited comeback victories, they return home for a decisive Game 7 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night (7 p.m. EDT, TBS), with some momentum on their side.

“Game 7 is huge for us and now we have to make sure we finish it tomorrow and play it right,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said on Saturday. “We worked hard to make a comeback. I think everyone is really excited. …It’s a big game, for sure. It’s a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to it.”

After falling in a 3-1 series hole, Rangers have a pair of 5-3 wins – at home and then back on the road – to even the series. In each of the previous two victories, they went 2–0 up and went ahead with three consecutive goals in the second period to tie the Penguins again. New York then pulled away in the third period.

Gallant said he is not concerned with the team’s slow start as long as they win.

“As long as we finish right, I don’t care. It’s all about winning the hockey game,” he said. “It’s worked for us so far, but I clearly don’t like it. “

Falling back from losses is nothing new for these Rangers. During the regular season, they had 27 comeback victories – just two fewer than the league-leading Florida Panthers.

“We show no defeats – that’s what I love about this team,” Mika Jibenejad said after the latest win. “We have shown it throughout the year, throughout this series. … that’s something special about this group and we’re going to try to keep that going.”

The Penguins have done this before as they go 3-0 in Game 7 under coach Mike Sullivan, including the deciding game on the road against Washington in the second round of the 2017 playoffs.

“We are confident in our game plan,” said Pittsburgh forward Jeff Carter. “If you go in with the right mindset and you leave it there, most of the time you are going to come out on top. That’s what we’ll try to do.”

A potential return could boost the Penguins along with injured players Sidney Crosby, Tristan Jerry and Ricard Raquel. They all rehearsed on Saturday and will travel to New York for the series finale. Jerry has not played since April 14, Raquel was injured in Game 1 of the series, and Crosby was abandoned in the second period of Game 5.

It is the fourth time in franchise history that the Rangers have forced Game 7 after going 3–1 in a series. Forward Chris Creder is the only player to have done so in the last two rounds – the second round against the Penguins in 2014 and the second round against Washington in 2015 – and won each deciding game.

His message to his teammates is simple.

“Just need to settle down and get into our game,” Kreider said. “I think we’ve been doing better than we’ve done in the last two games. … We’ve been treating every game since we’ve come down like it’s Game 7, it’s a do or die for us so nothing changes.”

Stars in Flames, series draw 3-3 (9:30 p.m. EDT, ESPN2)

The Wild-Card Stars won Game 6 at home to force the fifth Game 7 of the first round, the most in a single round of playoffs in NHL history, falling behind the 1992 division semifinals (six).

“The league wants to make it competitive and tough, they got it,” said Dallas coach Rick Bones. “It is a tough league and it shows how competitive the balance is. I know we still shouldn’t play. We should have gone on golf vacation now, but that was not our intention. We didn’t get to the playoffs for someone else’s move to the second round. ,

Although the Flames would be playing their first Game 7 since the first round of the 2008 playoffs against Sun Jose, coach Darryl Sutter is the master of the deciding games. At 7-3, he is the league leader in coaching wins in Game 7 and will go on to become the leader for the most Game 7 appearances. This would be their first lead to the Los Angeles Kings winning three Road Series Finals on the way to the 2014 Stanley Cup title.

On their way to the Stanley Cup Finals, the Stars were last in Game 7 in the second round of the 2020 playoffs against Colorado in a bubble in Edmonton.

Bones is unsure of the status of forward Luke Glendening, who took a tough fight with Calgary’s Nikita Zadorov at the start of the second period of Game 6. There were no penalties on the play, but Glendenning was down on the ice for several minutes and headed to the locker room. He was on the bench for the third time, but did not play.

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Associated Press Sports Writers Will Graves and Stephen Hawkings contributed to this report.

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http://www.twitter.com/VinCherwooAP . Follow Vin Cherwu on

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More Associated Press NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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