OTTAWA, CANADA - APRIL 23: Derek Stepan #21 of the New York Rangers celebrates his second period goal with teammates in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Ottawa Senators during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scotiabank Place on April 23, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
I love this Rangers team, and I'm pretty sure everyone can agree with me on this one. Even though they haven't played their strongest hockey over the last two games, they come to play when it's crunch time. They came away with a 3-2 victory tonight, and it was just the game that the Rangers needed at this point in the series.
Things started off pretty solid for the Rangers, and they were able to get some good puck possession. It wasn't until a very, very weak call on Mike Rupp, that sent the Senators to an early power play. Sergei Gonchar cashed in with a blast from just above the circles to give the Senators the 1-0 lead.
Both Chris Neil and Zak Smith were stationed right in front on Henrik Lundqvist, and neither of them were being guarded. The goal would eventually be credited to Chris Neil (ugh), after it was deemed the puck redirected off of his leg and in.
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The Rangers amped up their pressure even further in the second period, and were rewarded with a huge power play about midway through the period. Derek Stepan finished off a gorgeous pass from Brad Richards to tie up the game, and the Rangers were right back in it.
Just a few minutes later, the Rangers had a huge 5-on-3 chance to take the lead and swing the momentum back in their favor. Brad Richards rifled a laser under the glove of Anderson, and the Rangers were on top for the first time of the night. It didn't end there. Just two minutes after the goal, Derek Stepan fed Chris Kreider for his first NHL goal, and it wound up being the game winner in this one.
Speaking of Kreider, I really liked his game tonight. He was getting into the dirty areas of the ice, and was using his speed correctly. What more can you ask from the kid, when he goes out and scores a huge, huge goal like that? Nothing.
The Rangers continued their strong play throughout the third period, and were able to hold of some of the late spurts from Ottawa. With about thirty second remaining in the game, there was a pile up in front of Lundqvist, and the puck slowly found it's way into the crease and across the line. Henrik Lundqvist immediately raced over to the ref and demanded that it be reviewed.
Ask and you shall receive Hank. After MSG showed numerous angles of the questionable goal, everyone including myself were expecting a no-goal goal. To everyone's surprise the war room in Toronto somehow deemed it a good goal, which I still don't agree with. Anyways, the Rangers were then put into a tight position in the closing seconds, but they were able to fight it off.
The Rangers overcame adversity once again, and have forced a game seven, back on home ice at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night. This wonderful season lives to fight another day. LET'S GO RANGERS!