Another elimination game. Right where the Rangers want to be. The Blueshirts elevate their urgency in do-or-die showdowns such as Saturday’s Game 5 against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Some of them do because the pressure narrows their focus or they don’t sweat the high stakes at all. Top-six winger Carl Hagelin, 24, for example, was 31 minutes from being swept on Thursday night in Game 4 at the Garden, driving to the net in the second period down 2-0. But the young Swede, who forced in a fluky and momentous goal, was thinking not of the insurmountable odds but that he deserved a reward for his work. “I think I was due for one,” Hagelin said Friday at practice in Greenburgh, voicing an undeterred attitude shared by captain Ryan Callahan and top center Derek Stepan. Meanwhile, center Brian Boyle, 28, told the Daily News the playoff pressure forces him to clear his head and focus only on the play he is making at the moment. Boyle had just two goals and three assists in 38 regular-season games this year, was a healthy scratch four times and has battled injury. But after scoring three goals in the first round last year against Ottawa, he is tied with Hagelin for second on the Rangers with three goals this postseason, including the game-tying power play tally in the third period of Game 4. “I think it is more of a pressure situation, but I look at it as more black and white,” Boyle said. “You’re not worried about ‘What’s the coach think,’ or what happened in the week or what the stats are — which you shouldn’t, really, because you’re trying to go out and play the game. But you do what you can to help your team win the game or you’re going home. That’s just the way I’ve tried to approach it. That helps me with my confidence and that helps me put that other stuff away, out of my head. You get in slumps during the year, obviously this year was tough. “I tried to do it. It took a little longer than I should have I guess. But now it’s just go out and try to help the team win a game.” Then there is the constant among the Rangers’ three wins in three elimination games this postseason: goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. He recorded a 27-save shutout in a 1-0 home win over the Washington Capitals in Game 6 of the first round, a 35-save shutout the next night in a 5-0 Game 7 road romp of the Caps, and a 37-save performance Thursday night in a 4-3 OT victory over the Bruins, allowing just one even-strength goal.
Rangers look to carry momentum against Bruins in Game 5
New York Daily News | May 25