NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: Anton Stralman #32 of the New York Rangers leads his bench onto the ice as they celebrate their 2 to 1 win over the Ottawa Senators in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 26, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
- First of all, give a big hand to the Ottawa Senators. What a fantastic series. Also give major props to Peter and his gang over at Silver Seven Sens. That entire community was respectful and enjoyable all series. You guys have nothing to hang your heads about.
- I really wish I could describe the atmosphere at Madison Square Garden last night. It was incredible. I've been to around 15 playoff games in my lifetime, that Game 7 was like all of them combined. There's no other way to describe it. You've either gone through it or you haven't. There's simply nothing like it anywhere. I honestly couldn't even hear myself think in the final minutes. Just standing there cheering the hell out of this team with the time ticking down, Chris Kreider holding the puck in the corner, Henrik Lundqvist putting his hands in the air, the bench starting to lose it's mind, the house continuing to get louder and louder. Incredible. Just incredible.
- Speaking of Chris Kreider, oh my word. He was, without a doubt, the New York Rangers best forward last night. Read that sentence again. The Rangers five-game old rookie was the team's best forward in the biggest game of the season. He goes into the tough areas of the ice, uses his big frame and somehow walks out with the puck. His puck control is exceptional, his passes are crisp, his shot is astounding and he sure knows how to make space for himself. I've completely fallen in love with this kid. To preform like that, in those circumstances, at that game. My word. He's going to be special.
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- Let's give Dan Girardi, Marc Staal and Derek Stepancredit too. The pass from Stepan to Staal (and the finish by the defenseman) was perfect. Also, he won't get an assist on that play, but Kreider caused the turnover at the blue line to create that goal. Girardi's goal was fantastic too. And he acted like a boss after he scored. Didn't even throw his arms up, just stood there. Not like it was a big goal or anything. Just the game-winner in a Game 7.
- Again, Henrik Lundqvist was spectacular. He was jaw-dropping in the third period, but don't overlook the saves he made in the first period when the game was still scoreless. In the end, he was the Rangers best player in this series -- which shouldn't surprise anyone.
- Ryan McDonagh had a hell of a game as well. What a player he has turned into. It's so easy to forget how young he is because of the way he plays. But he was physical Thursday night, made a few great plays and took care of business. He also has a set of hands on him. He makes some moves that make you simply shake your head. He's a special player too.
- Back to Kreider for a moment. He played over 18 minutes Thursday. In a Game 7. Wow. He was also on the ice with a minute left to protect the lead.
- Anyone questioning John Tortorella now? You shouldn't have been from the get-go.
- Say what you will about Chris Neil, he showed a lot of class on that handshake line.
- Short turnaround for the Rangers and Washington Capitals. The second round starts Saturday.