Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Clinch Is No Cinch

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Clinch Is No Cinch

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- One more win and the Rangers can put the Pittsburgh Penguins behind them and move on to the Metropolitan Division final.

If they get that win in tonight's Game 5 at Madison Square Garden, that would mean at least a few days of rest before the next round begins. That is not something this group is used to, though.

The Rangers haven't won a series in fewer than six games since their five-game triumph over the Devils in the first round of the 2008 playoffs. The only series they've won in fewer than seven games since then was their six-game victory over Montreal in last year's Eastern Conference final.

They had a chance to close out the Canadiens in five, but lost, 7- 4, before advancing with a 1-0 Game 6 victory.

"You can look at it both ways," left wing Rick Nash said Thursday. "Teams that go to seven [games] and then jump into the next series can build on momentum. And on the other hand, you get your rest and you get to practice and you get to heal a bit. So, it's tough to say [which is better].

"Since I've been here, we've been in long series, so we haven't had much taste of a break in between."

After taking a 3-1 series lead with Wednesday night's 2-1 overtime win in Game 4, the Blueshirts say they're focused more on trying to finish off the Penguins than contemplating the time they might have off if they do it tonight.

"All I think about is trying to win the game," goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said. "That's all that matters. Then, whatever happens after that, you deal with it then."

The Rangers and the Penguins know well that a 3-1 series lead is not insurmountable. The Penguins led the Rangers, 3-1, in last year's Metropolitan Division final before the Rangers stormed back with three consecutive victories to take the series.

"Obviously, we know from last year," said center Derick Brassard, who leads the Rangers with three goals in the series. …

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