Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Rangers Win One for the Ages - Richards Nets Tying Goal with 6.6 Seconds Remaining!

59 minutes and 53 seconds had elapsed with the Rangers trailing the Capitals 2-1.

Brad Richards skated to the left side of a big pile-up at the Capital's net. He shot the puck. It started an improbable journey toward the Capital's goal.

Braden Holtby, the Caps goaltender had been nothing short of brilliant all night - out dueling Hank and letting up a single goal despite a barrage of Ranger chances. And now - in 7 seconds the Caps would be headed home with a 3-2 series lead.

Holtby reached for the puck with his glove - but just missed it. And the black rubber disc rocketed under the goaltender's body - he was on his hands and knees sideways - (what is that - the six hole?) - and the puck continued on it's way past the Caps goalie and on toward the net.

But it still had a long way to go.

A second Capital player, defenseman John Carlson, had slid into the crease behind Holtby - backing him up and serving as a second barrier between Richards and the Capital's net.

Richard's shot was rising - and along with it the Ranger's fragile hopes and dreams of a hockey season. There was a small space between Carlson's arm and his body - the defenseman's 4-hole to use goalie-terminology.

The puck hit the material of Carlson's jersey - we can see it ripple from impact - but the puck - slowed but not stopped - continues it's once-in-a-lifetime journey toward glory.

Go puck, go!

It is now headed directly at the Capital's goal post. It hits the post with an audible "tink" that you can clearly hear on the television broadcast.

And it bounces.....

....IN the NET!!!!!!

Goal! Ranger Goal! Tie game! An unlikely - miraculous playoff goal. 6.6 seconds and the Rangers have tied it.

In my life as a Ranger fan I have never - ever - seen a bigger goal. 6.6 seconds.

And the same double Minor penalty - Joel Ward's high stick that nearly took Hagelin's head off - had given the Rangers a man advantage during the final scramble - and would provide a powerplay at the start of overtime.

For 12 minutes between periods the Garden would not quiet down - and then - Overtime. On the powerplay.

And 1:35 into the extra period - Marc Staal - who had an assist earlier - launched a 55 foot slapshot that Holtby never saw - until he looked behind him into the Caps net.

And the Rangers had the most thrilling, improbably playoff victory of a lifetime.

It has to be devastating for Washington - they had a 2-1 win in their pockets - they were headed home with a 3-2 playoff lead. They had the series won in their heads, But no - the Rangers yanked back the game from the brink - struck back - and won.

Game winning goal and assist for Staal. Goals for Richards and Stralman. And assists for Callhan, Del Zotto, Stepan and Mitchell - who also won the face off before the game winner.

Rangers outshot the Caps 38-18 and outhit them 29-14. Holtby's save percentage was .921 (and much higher after the first 59:53). Hanks was only .889. But with all the games Lundqvist has won for us - we owe him this one - and many more. Hank made many tough saves to keep us in this one.

And so - we head to DC - with a chance to finally get past the Washington Capitals.

We can think about game six - tomorrow. Not today. Today we're just going to feel really good that this team we love won an amazing game - and that all the hard work and blocked shots paid off. The good guys won. Let's be happy about it. Let's go Rangers.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

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