NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 04: Brandon Dubinsky #17 of the New York Rangers ties the score at 3-3 at 16:12 of the third period against the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden on April 4, 2011 in New York City. The New York Rangers defeated the Boston Bruins 5-3. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
I don't think there is any doubting that tonight's magical 5-3 comeback win over the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden was the greatest of the season and probably even ranks up there in best wins since the lockout. To me, this game was the Rangers' season encapsulated into sixty minutes. There were ups, there were downs, but in the end heart and effort prevailed in securing the Blueshirts their 90th and 91st points to take over seventh place in the Eastern Conference. Every single one of you should be proud to be a fan right now, because this win is something I guarantee you will never forget for as long as you live.
The Rangers got off to a rocky start with Daniel Paille and Nathan Horton scoring back-to-back goals to give the Bruins an early 2-0 lead. They were also outshot by Boston, 19-5, through the first twenty minutes of play, which put them in a big hole that many were doubtful they would be able to climb out of.
That hole got deeper when Chris Kelly beat Henrik Lundqvist short side with a low wrister midway through the second period. Vinny Prospal came to the rescue with two tremendous answering goals before the second stanza came to an end, and from that point on the Rangers buckled down and put on their rally caps.
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At 16:12 of the third period, Brandon Dubinsky took a Ryan Callahan pass, outwaited Tim Thomas and buried the tying goal. Just a minute later Michael Sauer's third of the season, which just barely trickled over the goal line, gave the Rangers a 4-3 lead. Then, to seal the deal, Derek Stepan buried the empty-netter from center ice.
After that goal a sequence of events took place that were very special to see. First, Stepan leaped into the open arms of his teammates after the puck went in, sort of how Team USA did in last year's World Junior Championship (Stepan was also on that team). Henrik Lundqvist, for the first time ever in regulation, skated out of his crease screaming, slapped Stepan on the back at the bench and gave another yell and fist pump. And when the final buzzer rang to signify the end of the game, Brandon Dubinsky looked up at the crowd and flapped his arms up and down as if to say "stand up New York".
And that's really what the Rangers did this evening at a sold out Madison Square Garden. They rose an entire city in amazing fashion. Seeing Dubi do that sent chills through my spine and reminded me how magical this hockey club is.
To wrap this up, just a few bullet points to touch on:
- Tortorella found a new productive line in Prospal-Stepan-Wolski. It was something he threw together towards the end of the second period and they ended up producing three of the five unanswered goals tonight.
- Duballahan, for the millionth time, helped lead the comeback in the third period. They were out on the ice every other shift and made the most of those minutes. Great to see the two of them leap on each other after creating the tying goal.
- Michael Sauer had a career game this evening. He was sound defensively and then ended up recording both a goal and an assist. Michael was named the game's second star of the game and rightly so.
- Lastly, how could I not mention Mr. Prospal? His intensity carried the club tonight with those consecutive goals. He hasn't scored much since his return, but when he has, they've been pretty important tallies. Prospal was the game's first star.
The Rangers' next game will be on Thursday when they host the Thrashers at MSG. After the past two wins, I almost wish that game was tomorrow.
BELIEVE IN THE BLUESHIRTS!