Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Stepan ties it in last minute - wins it in OT - Rangers 4 - Columbus 3

I’m actually sad that this magical regular season is ending soon.  Because it’s been a joy to watch these Rangers compete night after night and use speed, skill, determination, and hard work to beat so many opponents night after night.

Last night it was the Columbus Blue Jackets – who had won 9 straight games and were playing an impressive aggressive brand of hockey – recapturing a large measure of the pride they lost by missing the playoffs this year.  Columbus is littered with ex-Rangers – including Dubinsky and Anisimov.  Of course – if those jerks had kept Gaborik instead of trading him – the Rangers would probably have won the cup a year ago.  And no, I will not get over that.

Anyway – the Rangers took on this 9-in-a-row team playing for nothing other than the opportunity to beat teams like us.  And they almost did.  But the Rangers keep scrapping and fighting and found a way to tie the score in the game’s last minute and then  win in overtime – with boht of those key goals coming from Derek Stepan – with huge assist by Chis Kreider – who is becoming a star right in front of us.

In the first – Kevin Hayes didn’t actually passed to St. Louis.  Hayes was converged on and was separated from the puck on the rush – but Marty swooped in to grab a loose puck and netted his shot for the 1-0 lead.

Columbus found a way to tie and then early in the second the Rangers put on a passing clinic with Kreider and Stepan culminating in a Dan Girardi rocket to make it 2-1.

From there the Blue Jackets poured it on – tying the game in the 2nd and taking a late lead in the third.

 And so – with Lundqvist on the bench for the extra skater in the game’s final regulation minute – it was hero time.

The puck deflected to Chris Kreider in a crowd at the front of the net with his back to Bobrovsky.  As the Blue Jackets swarmed to him – Kreider passed the puck to a wide open Derek Stepan about ten feet out on the left.  Derek had some net to shoot at and he made it count – tying the score with just 28 seconds left in regulation and sending the Garden into a happy frenzy.  And we saw an odd sight – Lundqvist fist bumping from the bench in a game he started and eventually won.

And so – on to overtime as the Rangers refused to lose.  After some thrilling action at both ends – it was Kreider again cutting across in front of Bobrovsky, drawing the Columbus defenders to him – and then getting the puck to Stepan who skated close in on the left side and buried the game winner. 

Another rousing come-from-behind win in a season filled with heroics.  Lundqvist made some great saves and with a .906 save percentage – gave his team a chance to win – which they did in dramatic fashion.  Another great night in a magic season.

What Did We Learn?  That the team is playoff ready.

Assistance:   Two huge assists by Kreider.  Singles by:  Miller, Hayes, Stepan (to go with his 2 goals), and Yandle (who is more of a Ranger every day)

Did Special Teams Determine The Outcome Of This Game?  Sort of.  We were a perfect 3-3 on the kill, but 0-3 on the powerplay.   

Where Do We Stand?  Remember when we were fighting the Caps for 3rd place and forever chasing the Islanders?  Well this morning we have 109 points.  109.  Hard to believe but there it is.  3 points up on Montreal with a game at hand for the best in the East.  And 4 points up on St. Louis with a game at hand for the president’s trophy.  Truly amazing

Oh My - What Will Happen Next?  The Devils tonight in New Jersey.  I wonder if Cam will get a strat on the back-to-back?

Non-Sequitur of the day:  Mets win their opener!  Fatso Colon stops the Nationals!

No comments:

Post a Comment