A tough first-round series is one thing, but it certainly wasn’t supposed to go like this.
The No. 1-seed Rangers are down 3-2 in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals to No. 8 Ottawa with a game on the Senators’ home ice standing between them and a shocking elimination.
Even more surprising is how Ottawa is beating the heavy favorite. Craig Anderson, who was 35th in the league in goals against during the regular season, has been untouchable.
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The Rangers and their oft temperamental coach John Tortorella have been playing it exceedingly cool. Tortorella even said he was impressed with his team in the Game 5 loss.
“Whoever’s gonna win has to win four [games], and no one’s done that yet,” Brad Richards said. “For us to win, we’re gonna have to go seven games; that’s the difference.”
Hagelin to return from suspension
The return of rookie Carl Hagelin from a three-game suspension might end up being more of a necessity than an accessory.
Hagelin returns tonight, but does so with Brian Boyle hitting the bench with a concussion he suffered in Game 5.
Hagelin is just happy to have a chance to contribute after sitting out.
“What happened, happened,” Hagelin said of the hit on Daniel Alfredsson which resulted in the suspension. “I’m going to keep playing my game. I’m just gonna go out there and work hard.”
Hagelin won’t slide directly into Boyle’s line, but he will be counted on to make up some of the scoring the Rangers will lose.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.