Just a word of warning….this recap is coming from the grave. That game literally gave me a heart attack!!! Then again, the Rangers don’t know any other way to win games, do they?
The biggest knock against the Rangers is that they don’t have enough offense. Everyone said if we didn’t make it to the second round, it would be because our forwards weren’t doing what they needed to do. Well tonight, our forwards got a couple of assists but nothing else. All the scoring came from our defense. And yet we’re headed to the second round.
So how did it go down?
First period both teams came out flying leading to numerous chances at both ends as the teams played wide open hockey. Not a game that usually favors the Rangers, but the King was on his game and we got out of the period tied.
Second period started much of the same. About four and a half minutes in, the Senators attempted to break out of their zone. Rookie Chris Kreider, who had the best game of his short NHL career, had other plans as he stopped the breakout and pushed the puck up to Derek Stepan who slid a beautiful pass to Marc Staal who buried it past Craig Anderson to bring the Garden to their feet.
Five minutes later, an almost similar cross ice feed, this time Brandon Prust dropped it to Brandon Dubinsky who found a pinching Dan Girardi who buried it top shelf. After the game, Girardi called it a “goal scorers’ goal”. Not sure I would go that far but it was a beautiful goal. (Side note for those who are not familiar Girardi – pretty sure he didn’t believe that either. He has an extremely sarcastic sense of humor and is always the first person to pat himself on the back. But he has been our rock all season so if he wants to call it a goal scorers’ goal, then it’s a goal scorers’ goal.)
A minute later, the refs decided to enter the game and call Del Zotto for what I thought was a light cross-checking call. That said, it was a retaliation hit and that’s always called. Of course the Rangers couldn’t kill it as Daniel Alfredsson riffled one from the slot to get his first point in a Game Seven game in five tries.
From there on out it was all defense. The Rangers did get a couple of power play chances but after the second one, I decided no more were needed. (Honestly just thinking about that second power “kill” makes my blood boil it was so bad.) We spent most of the third period in our zone but as is always the case, the Rangers blocked shot after shot and managed to get the 2-1 win.
And so the Rangers finally make it to the second round for the first time since 2007. And who will they be playing? A team we are quite familiar with in the Caps. But this isn’t the same Capitals team that knocked the Rangers out the past two out of three seasons (Rangers missed the playoffs in-between the two series). Yes Holtby has been playing out of his mind, but I believe we can beat him and third time will be the charm. Watching this game tonight, you can’t help but believe this team is something special and that this is just the first stop in a nice long ride. Hopefully my heart will be able to make it through. Not a lot of time to recuperate as Game One is less than 48 hours away (Saturday, 3pm ET).
Finally, I do want to congratulate the Sens on a great series. They said it takes a playoff series to truly hate a team and I know I will not look at them the same ever again. They gave us everything we could handle and then some. One bounce in the opposite direction and they were celebrating rather than the Rangers. So most of the Senators can hold their heads high….especially Daniel Alfredsson. I’m glad he was able to come back and try to help his team. Classy captain all the way and if this it, I’m sorry it had to end that way. Chris Neil, on the other hand….hope you have a great time on the golf course.