All that's at stake is playoff survival and keeping alive the chance to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup. Technically the Rangers could lose here today and win game seven in DC, but logic dictates that this final home game is their last best hope of holding off the East's number 2 seed.
Questions abound: Will Avery be back? Can the Rangers win with their coach John Tortorella suspended by the NHL for threatening a fan and throwing a water bottle into the crowd? Will Hank snap back to his usual incredible self (he'll need to if we are to have any chance). Will the Rangers ever score on the Power Play again (the Caps have one shorthanded goal so we are minus 1 on the PP in the last 17 tries)? Will the Rangers ever score again, period? Can our heroes pull one last miracle out of their bag of tricks. Do we still have the Guts and Goaltending to take this series?
And what exactly will Torts say to Avery today about keeping emotions in check for the good of the team? I would love to hear that conversation.
Avery, for his part, has been contrite and apologetic in his one allowed chat with Larry Brooks. He went so far as to say that Torts suspending him was a good thing. And as I said I'm okay with it provided Seanny gets back on the garden ice today.
Look - if we can't win 2 of 3 at home - we can't expect to win a playoff series against anyone. We've got to do this now. It's this one game - and then the rest of our hockey lives.
And we need to invoke the Hockey Gods. I'm bringing back the Magic Rat for luck. And all of you out there - remember whatever it is you did in game 4 and do it again today. Same socks. Same t-shirt. Every wacky ritual that has ever worked for you and the Rangers.
We are out-gunned out-skated and over matched. But we're not dead yet. Our Ranger hearts are still beating. And we will not go down without a fight.
I was in the building for game 4 and it was one of the most thrilling - beat the odds - never say die - leave it all on the ice - victories I have ever witnessed. It was a win for the ages. A little miracle. A ugly-beautiful masterpiece.
Now we just have to rise up and do the same thing one more time.
Say it with me boys: Let's Go Rangers!