Rangers Vs. Flyers: Marching On

Bruce Bennett

Notes from the Rangers' dramatic Game 7 victory over the Flyers.

- Here is what I love about hockey. All day at work after the Game 6 disaster I was horrified at the thought of a Game 7. I was sick to my stomach over this team and I know you all were too. I was horrified they let it get this far. People were pissed. People were frustrated. People were done. Until the Rangers stepped onto the ice before puck drop. And all those emotions start dissolving away, everyone is getting on their feet, The Garden is getting louder and louder and louder and then suddenly you're in love with them again and everything else is forgotten. Just. Win. The. Game. And that's what they did.

- I tweeted this last night, but I think it's appropriate to reiterate here. The Rangers have had battle level consistency problems all year. But a team shows its true colors in a game like that, and the Rangers passed with flying colors.

- Alain Vigneault continues to hit all the right buttons. Goes to Dan Carcillo in Game 3, and he scored the dagger goal. Goes to Miller and he gets a big assist in Game 5. Goes back to Carcillo (citing his experience) for Game 7 and he scores a huge goal.

- Realization: Carcillo has become a fan favorite. If you were at the game you heard (and probably contributed to) how loud the place got for his goal announcement. I never thought I'd see the day. He's making me put my foot in my mouth big time.

- Huge bounce back game for Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi who were massive all game. Same goes for Marc Staal and Anton Stralman. Staal has quietly been a huge part of this team's defensive success so far this year. It's funny, actually, how a player as good as Staal can get put on the back-burner by two other defenseman's play. That's a good thing, by the way.

- The Derick Brassard (what a friggin' pass on the Benoit Pouliot goal) - Pouliot - Mats Zuccarello line finally woke up. Zuccarello's pass to Carcillo was glorious, but it was more luck than anything else. No way Zuccarello is doing anything other than throwing the puck to the front of the net. But still, at least he threw it to the net. Good things happen when you put the puck at the net.

- Best game of the series for Rick Nash? If it wasn't it was pretty close. And without scoring a goal, too? He had a slew of chances (the puck really isn't bouncing for him), made two or three remarkable defensive plays and was physical. He wasn't playing like that in Games 5 and 6, but there it was when the Rangers needed it most. The goals will come (I hope) but again, I look at chances generated when a player is struggling to score and he's generating them.

- Henrik Lundqvist came up big when the team really needed him to (the third period) but otherwise was well protected and didn't need to do anything crazy the first part of the game. I still maintain I go to war with Lundqvist in a must-win playoff game over anyone. Four Game 7 starts for him, three goals against. He's such a steadying presence back there.

- The focus, of course, now turns to Pittsburgh. The Rangers will play Friday and Sunday in Pittsburgh before playing at MSG Monday and Wednesday. Some of that is NBC and some of it is The Garden's schedule. That's why going to a Game 7 in Round One hurts this team. Less rest. We'll see if that impacts the series.

- The power play needs to have some power if the Rangers are going to keep moving forward, you would think. You can't keep missing opportunities against a team that is better than the Flyers. But that's for later, for now, let's enjoy the win.

- I love the handshake line. Everyone does, of course, but when it's rivals like that it's even better.

- I love you all. I'm glad we get to keep marching forward.

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