The Rangers and Devils head back to Newark for Game 6. Will the Rangers stave off elimination, just as they did in 1994? Here's the key: Michael Del Zotto (above, punching Alexei Ponikarovsky in the beak). The offensive defenceman is a minus-5 in this series, going even in 3 of them, and minus-2 and minus-3 in the Game 2 and Game 5 losses, respectively. The Rangers' top pairing looks to be slowing down -- totally natural considering the minutes they've played all year -- and if Del Zotto can't eat up some quality minutes behind them, the Rangers could be done tonight.
• Alain Vigneault went on a French-language radio show earlier this week and confirmed that Roberto Luongo had requested a trade. Friday, Mike Gillis established that "he didn't mean what he said." Right. Got it. [Vancouver Sun]
• The definitive guide to playoff facial hair. [Five Minutes for Fighting]
• As it turns out, Hal Gill played the entire postseason on a broken tibia, which is sort of badass. But what blows me away is that I'm not entirely blown away by it -- this sort of things happens fairly often in hockey, reason a billion why hockey is awesome. [SB Nation]
• What sort of impact has Martin Brodeur's puckhandling had on the Rangers/Devils series? [Edmonton Journal]
• Sean McIndoe on why Maple Leafs fans still can't get over that missed call from the 1993 Western Conference finals. [Grantland]
• And finally, Mark Messier guarantees a Game 6 win after all:
Puck Buddy Comment of the Day: Frank Grimes, on John Tortorella's origin story, which included ground balls to the face:
This article has been up for an hour and I haven't read one good "balls to the face joke" yet. Make my Friday Puck Daddy!
No kidding. I expected more from all of you.
Bold prediction: Wysh has four heart attacks during the course of Friday night's game.
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- New York Rangers
- New Jersey Devils
- Michael Del Zotto