Metropolitan Division Semifinals - Game 5
[ NYR lead series 3-1 ]
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After a thrilling overtime victory in Game 4 courtesy of Kevin Hayes, the New York Rangers have an opportunity to oust the Pittsburgh Penguins with another win this evening. The fourth win is always the hardest to get in the playoffs, which means the Rangers will have to be ready for anything tonight. While Wednesday's win certainly seemed like a gut punch for the Penguins, there's no doubt they will come out flying tonight.
The Penguins season is on the line tonight, and the Rangers will need to match their desperation if they plan on closing this one out early. Alain Vigneault mentioned yesterday that there was a "50/50" chance Kevin Klein would be available for tonight's contest, but unfortunately, it was the wrong 50%. Klein is still continuing to recover from his broken arm, and it was noted that it is taking a little longer than usual to heal properly.
Other than Klein missing his fifth straight playoff game, the Rangers aren't expected to make any lineup changes for Game 5.
Bryan's Player to Watch: Kevin Hayes
I mentioned Kevin Hayes as the player to watch last game, and he goes and scores the game winning goal to take a 3-1 series lead. Sure enough, he'll be my player to watch again tonight. As we mentioned last time, it took Hayes a few games to adjust to the grind of playoff hockey, and after last game, it's safe to say he's adjusted quite well. Aside from his game winning goal, Hayes was setting up plays in the offensive zone like crazy, and looked extremely comfortable out there. If he can have another big game tonight, it will definitely help the Rangers chances of closing this series out.