We've seen it before:
- The night Eddie Giacomin returned to New York City as a member of the Red Wings, it was there.
- When the Rangers defeated the Islanders in Game 6 of the Semi-Finals to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals, it was there.
- When Mark Messier stepped on the ice for the first time as a Ranger in 1991, it was there.
- On June 14th 1994, for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, it was there.
- When the Rangers took the MSG ice for the first time after September 11th, 2001, it was there.
- On January 12th, 2006, when Messier's Number 11 went to the Garden rafters forever, it was there.
- When Mike Richter, Brian Leetch, and Adam Graves had their numbers retired, it was there.
Monday night, it returns.
It will arrive around 6:45, and the fury inside it will build until the puck drops on Game 3.
I'm talking of course, about the Garden Beast.
The first deafening "Let's Go Rangers" chant will begin when John Amarante takes the ice for the National Anthem. Oh sure, you'll see him mouthing words, but he could be singing "Jenny from the Block" for all you know, because you won't be able to hear him.
It's often been said that the only thing louder than a Ranger fan is a Ranger fan when they're winning. After the two huge wins in the first two games in this series against the 2nd seed Washington Capitals, you can expect the Beast to be in full throat, and whether it's the rookie goalie or the shaky veteran, it won't matter, because to the Beast they will both smell like a bloody lump of raw meat.
The Beast won't dress in matching colors; nobody tells the Beast what to wear and when to wear it. There won't be someone blowing some annoying "Ricola" horn every two minutes, and even if there was, you wouldn't hear it anyway; the Beast will make sure of that.
The Beast will erupt with every Lundqvist save, and unleash its fury with every hit.
The Beast smells blood, and won't be happy until it gets fed tomorrow night.
Here is a pretty good homemade video of The Beast in action: