I know I use a lot of Giants references here, and here is another one: In 2007, the Giants faced the Patriots in the final game of the regular season. It was a meaningless game to the Giants, and I need not remind you what it meant to the Patriots. The Giants put up a hell of a fight, but lost by 3 points. That loss however, helped the Giants prove to themselves that they could play with the best, and it propelled them to a Super Bowl title over those same Patriots.
Now, I'm not saying the Rangers are going to win the Stanley Cup, I'm not even saying they are getting out of the first round. But I think they showed a lot of character coming out last night in a game that meant nothing to them, playing without Chris Drury, and not only played with a lot of emotion and grit, but rallied in the 3rd period with two goals to beat the Flyers 4-3 last night in Philadelphia.
What a night for Brandon Dubinsky. He had 2 goals; including notching the first shorthanded goal the Flyers had given up all season. They were trying to become only the 2nd team in NHL history to go an entire season without giving up a shortie (the 75-76 Canadiens were the first), but with Sean Avery in the box for slashing, Dubi made a beautiful move around Braydon Coburn, and put the puck past Marty Biron.
Meanwhile, all Sean Avery did was agitate the Flyers all night long, score the tying goal on a slap shot, and then fought Ogie Oglethorpe.....I mean Scott Hartnell at the end of the game. All he needed was an assist, and he would have had the Gordie Howe Hat Trick.
Avery gets booed everywhere the Rangers play, I think we're all pretty accustomed to it by now. But I find it ironic that the fans in Philly seem to have the most hatred for him, since trash-talking athletes who frequently cross the lines of sportsmanship have often been fan favorites on Philadelphia teams.
Aaron Voros, nice job last night. You made the most of your rare night in uniform, even though your ice time was limited. You played hard, and got an assist on Bettsy's game-winner. Good job, now back to the healthy scratch list with you.
I was going to give props to Nik Antropov for his continued great defensive play after getting down ice in a hurry in a Flyer odd-man rush in the 1st, but he also committed a bad turnover in front of his own net in the 3rd, so his defense last night is a wash. He was skating much better last night than he did on Thursday night, looks like the knee is on the mend, that's a good sign.
So after last night's game, call me crazy, but I'm believing in this team. They came out Tuesday night against the Canadiens, and won a game they had to win. Then they did it again Thursday night, taking matters into their own hands, and beating Philadelphia to get into the playoffs. Finally, last night, in a game where they had nothing to play for, they put forth a terrific effort and beat the Flyers on the road, which has not been friendly to the Rangers.
A sign of things to come? We'll find out this week.
Blueshirt Banter's playoff coverage officially begins this afternoon, and tomorrow The Manic Ranger will break down the matchups for the Rangers and Capitals.
Finally, from the NHL Network, here is the video of Brandon Dubinsky's shorthanded goal: