This is what the Rangers have been preparing for all season long.
Every comeback victory, all 27 of them in the regular season and the three in the first round against the Penguins, has laid out the mental foundation for them to handle what will be at stake in Game 6 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Hurricanes on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
Their season is on the line for a fourth time in these playoffs. Each time so far, the Rangers have risen to the challenge and attacked it head on. The competition may be tougher, but this is the same Rangers team that has consistently willed itself into the win column no matter the circumstances.
The Rangers will not only have to tap into the resiliency that has been their defining trait since October, but they will have to show that they deserve to continue playing into June for the Eastern Conference final.
“We got to win one game,” Chris Kreider said. “So that’s our focus … win one game, win one shift, win the first period and go from there.”
To defeat the Hurricanes, the Rangers are going to have to dig deep. Down to the roots of what separates them from every other NHL team, they’ll have to unleash it all at once to pull this off. Relying on goalie Igor Shesterkin’s heroics alone likely won’t cut it. Waiting on a puck bounce to go their way is too risky. Hoping for Carolina to continue its five-game losing streak on the road just won’t do.