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Game 5 loss might be key to boosting Rangers’ confidence

New York Rangers v New Jersey Devils

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 20: Cam Janssen #25 of the New Jersey Devils and Mike Rupp #71 of the New York Rangers fight just three seconds into the first period at the Prudential Center on December 20, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Bruce Bennett

When asked if the New York Rangers could take some positives from a 5-3 Game 5 loss, John Tortorella was emphatic that they could. He seemed to tell the story of many in that locker room, as Andrew Gross reports that the team hopes to take that aggressive mindset into tonight’s elimination contest.

“Not just this series, we’ve been looking for that kind of game all playoffs,” Mike Rupp said. “It was good for the players to know what it looks like. I think we just strayed from it.” “When you play with a certain kind of confidence in your identity and what you do, if you get burned by it you keep going back to it and have the confidence in it. It felt throughout these playoffs, there was just a little hesitation in our game. Our strongest asset to this point is our aggression and our ability to pressure teams.”

Yet for much of this series, the New Jersey Devils’ forecheck and speed have been putting the pressure on the Rangers. Gross points out that New York managed to come back from a 3-2 deficit twice in 18 playoff opportunities in franchise history, yet the Rangers did so against Ottawa already.

So far, the Rangers have played their best hockey with their backs against the wall, but this looks to be the biggest test yet.