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Conspiracies, Injuries and Waiting for Game Seven

Catching some breath before the big night

By Josh Alper
|  Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012  |  Updated 1:30 PM EDT
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Conspiracies, Injuries and Waiting for Game Seven

AP

Plays like this will be the ones that decide the winner of the series.

The Rangers seem to be under the impression that the powers that be in the NHL are rooting for them to lose.

Henrik Lundqvist, who was nominated for the Vezina Trophy on Wednesday, suggested as much after referees upheld the final goal in Game Six when it looked for all the world like Chris Neil kicked the puck into the net.

Neil is at the center of some other controversy thanks to his totally unpenalized pulverizing of Brian Boyle in Game Five and his post-Game Six threat to aim for Michael Del Zotto's head as soon as possible.

Throw in the league's decision not to discipline Milan Michalek for kicking Dan Girardi during that final goal scrum and you've got plenty of ammunition for the notion that the league is favoring the Senators.

That's a fine thing to think about during the dead hours between games or when you want to build up some bile during the game, but it's all pretty much just window-dressing. The final result of this series isn't going to have anything to do with the league's disciplinary decisions.

It is going to come down to the Rangers summoning up the kind of effort they put forth on Monday night in Ottawa and it is going to come down to Lundqvist playing at the very top of his ability. It'll be about John Tortorella pushing the right lineup buttons -- more Chris Kreider, please -- and it will be about Ryan Callahan and Brad Richards leading the team because Game Sevens can't be won if you don't keep your wits about you.

Callahan missed practice on Wednesday because he blocked a shot with his hand late in Monday's game but there's not much chance he's going to miss the game. Boyle's status is much less clear, however, as he didn't practice and the team offered no updates.

Injuries won't decide things any more than conspiracy theories, however. With or without Boyle, the Rangers have enough to win Game Seven and their ability to rise to the moment will be what matters more than anything else.

Can they do it? You've got a little more than 24 hours to chew on that question.

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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