NEW YORK, NY - MAY 07: Marc Staal #18 of the New York Rangers celebrates with his teammates after scoring the winning goal in overtime against Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals as Matt Hendricks #26 of the Washington Capitals slides to the ice after Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 7, 2012 in New York City. The New York Rangers defeated the Washington Capitals in overtime 2-3. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
- Game 5 was a perfect example of why we love sports. It's remarkable to think about the sudden change in emotions from when there was 10 seconds left on the clock, and when there was 6.6 seconds left. Think about it. The Rangers were 10 seconds away from dropping a game they dominated and looking at a 3-2 hold going back to Washington. The Rangers were 10 seconds away from walking out of the Garden as losers, confidence shattered, moral all but gone. Then Brad Richards scores a goal and boom, he may as well have flipped the world upside down. Confidence is pouring from this team, the Garden is rocking, people start believing again. And then Marc Staal lights the lamp in overtime and all hell breaks loose. It's one thing to win a big playoff game, it's another thing to win like that. Just wow.
- After Game 1 I said that the Chris Kreider goal was one of the coolest moments I ever experience at Madison Square Garden. Well, that didn't last very long. The raw emotions that poured out of the Garden when Richards scored the tying goal was insane. There's really no other way to describe it. Everyone is on their feet, the Rangers win the face off, throw the puck deep, Ryan Callahan takes three stabs at it that get denied and things aren't looking too good. Then Richards ties the game. Suddenly I'm watching the referee pointing at the net, the red light is going off, I'm jumping up and down, hugging everyone I can, the Garden is literally shaking. I'm getting chills writing about it. That never happens. Then to win the game in overtime? Again, that never happens. What a special, special memory.
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- Let's give Marc Staal his proper due too. That's a great goal, mainly because Staal saw a shooting land and just let one rip. When it hit twine the Garden exploded again. Just as loud as the tying goal, but a bit of a different feel. The explosion after the Richards goal was the result of basically 40 minutes of pent up frustration. The emotions after the Staal goal was pure jubilation. Again, it's one thing to win a playoff game in overtime, it's another to win a game like that.
- Don't forget about Henrik Lundqvist here either. He made some tremendous saves in this game that kept the Rangers in the thick of it. He was big all game, despite not having to make too many saves.
- John Tortorella had a very interesting idea in Game 5 that I thought worked wonders. On the penalty kill or any defensive zone face off Tortorella used Richards as a FOGO (face off get off -- it's a lacrosse term). On a few occasions, when it worked, Richards would win the draw, the Rangers would clear the puck and he would get off the ice for a change. I like the idea, honestly. It worked too.
- That Dan Girardi hit on Mike Green late in the third was huge. Green had his head down, trying to clear the zone and Girardi crushed him. That's exactly how that's suppose to work. He absolutely lowered the boom. Any Capitalsfans crying for a suspension because Girardi "left his feet" (he didn't) are out of their minds. That hit was worse than Alex Ovechkin'son Girardi? Please. Just to note, not all Capitals fans are saying stuff like this. But to those who are, come on, guys.
- Kreider didn't exactly have a bounce back game now did he? I think some of that had to do with him starting on the fourth line and getting limited minutes, and more of it had to do with him trying not to do too much. Either way, he wasn't bad (aside from the penalty he took in the third), I think he just needs a bit more ice time to boost his confidence.
- I've said before that Anton Stralman is earning a contract extension with his play during these playoffs, and he proved it again last night. Just a big game from a guy who is starting to become a difference maker on the ice for the Rangers. Wouldn't you have signed up for that in a heartbeat when the Rangers signed him in the middle of the season?
- Think about how different the emotions were on both benches with 10 seconds left and then in the locker room after the game. It's why we love sports, it really is.