The New York Rangers already did the hardest part. They fought their way through Game 4 to avoid a sweep and now head into Boston down 3-1 in the series. A loss ends their season. A win sends the series back to New York for Game 6. A win makes things really, really interesting.
Easier said than done, of course.
The Rangers had their share of problems against the Bruins Thursday, but fought and clawed their way into an overtime victory. Sometimes those wins are enough to prove to a locker room that they're good enough to come back in a series. Sometimes wins like that boost confidence and trust in one another. But the reality is the Bruins need one more win to advance, the Rangers need three.
Which is what makes Game 5 so important. A loss and the Bruins move on. A win and the Rangers bring this series back to Madison Square Garden where they would be able to force a Game 7 in front of their home fans. We're getting ahead of the game, obviously, but you can see why Game 5 seems like a must win for both sides.
The Rangers made some huge adjustments in Game 4, including a revamped fourth line that helped neutralize the physicality of the Bruins fourth line. The assumption is John Tortorella will stick with his lineup from Thursday -- why change what's working? -- but that will be confirmed at warmups. Yes, that means Brad Richards being scratched for a second straight game.
The power play -- which got its first goal of the series off a Brian Boyle shot -- needs o be better. No more failed opportunities. Maybe the goal Thursday will help spark the man advantage, the Rangers certainly can't afford to have it fil them now.
The margin of error is so small for the Rangers it's nearly zero. They lose and the season ends. A lot of things came together in their Game 4 win. Keeping it going in Game 5 is critical to success and a win would really sock the Bruins in the jaw.
Easier said than dime of course.