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Faith, Prayer and Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals

Pulling out all the stops with the Rangers and Devils

By Josh Alper
|  Wednesday, May 23, 2012  |  Updated 1:47 PM EDT
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Is divine intervention necessary for the Rangers?

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For a guy who was nearly universally maligned as a horrible human being earlier this series because of a succinct press conference, John Tortorella flashed a pretty decent sense of humor on Tuesday when he was asked about what he'll do to start getting the team some goals.

"Pray," Tortorella said. "I don't know what else to tell you. We're going to have to keep on trying to play, pray, and, hopefully, something good happens tomorrow."

Tied at two games in the Eastern Conference Finals seems like as good a time as any to turn to prayer, especially if your forwards have given the team a grand total of six goals to this point in the series. Prayer's also not a bad place to turn when the mountains of empirical evidence pile up against you.

That's pretty much where the Rangers and Tortorella find themselves at this point. The Devils have clearly been the better team for the majority of the series and the depth of their talent has increasingly meant the Rangers are relying on a Henrik Lundqvist or bust strategy.

It's not an awful strategy. It's been good enough to win them two games so far and it worked well enough for them through the regular season.

But there's still that troubling little fact that the Rangers have been thoroughly outplayed by the Devils even with the team putting their faith in Lundqvist. Without something changing, it is hard to see how the results are going to be markedly different in the final two or three games.

And it's hard to see something changing unless you rely on your faith in this Rangers team. It isn't quite the same thing as prayer since the faith is based in what we've seen from the team over the first 100 games of this season.

It's faith in them figuring out a way to win even though they aren't the most talented team on the ice, faith in them showing up with their best performance when they need to bounce back and faith in each other. Should they win, it will be a victory for that faith.

A loss? Well, that'll be good for the prayer business.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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