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Rangers Vs. Penguins: Emotions On Top Of Emotions

Notes from the Rangers' Game 5 victory over the Penguins.

Jamie Sabau

- I did everything in my power to try and remove my emotions about this series. The game wasn't important anymore, the series wasn't important anymore. The only thing that was important was Martin St. Louis, his grieving family and everyone who knew and loved his mother.

- And then St. Louis told Alain Vigneault he was playing. And he did play, and he played so well all things considered. And suddenly he's smiling, hugging Chris Kreider after the Rangers first power play goal. He's forechecking. He's taking shots. More than likely it's all muscle memory stuff, but he was so fluid in this game you almost forgot what he was going through.

- Then the game ended, and this happened. And it broke me. It broke my emotional wall. The guy's mother just died and there he is playing a hockey game that means nothing when you look at the big picture. But then again, it probably means everything when you look at the big picture, too. And for a moment, St. Louis pauses to think about everything, and just in case that moment is too much for him, Derick Brassard puts his arm around him to remind him that he's not alone. That's what hockey is about. That's what this team is about.

- One more not on this before I try to move away from it. Brassard said after the game that if they could, the entire team would have flown with St. Louis after they landed in Pittsburgh to support him. This is a close-knit group. That helps, too. Also give Sidney Crosby a lot of credit for giving St. Louis some kind words before the game. That's a classy move.

- So to the game. The battle level was there, and more importantly it was there from the start. The Rangers did exactly what I asked of them before Game 4. Push the game to the Penguins. Push them back on their heels. Force them to be wary of you as much as you're wary of them. And when they push back (and they will), don't get discouraged. And the Rangers didn't.

- Henrik Lundqvist was superb. It might not look like he needed to do much with a 5-1 scoreline, but believe me this would have been a much, much different game without him.

- Best game of the series for Ryan McDonagh, and boy did they need that from him. Dan Girardi was good, too. So was Marc Staal. The defense, as a whole, did good things for the most part.

- Best game of the series for the power play, too. They went 2-for-3 with the man advantage. The first goal (and obviously the biggest) was all Chris Kreider. He dives to keep the puck in the zone, and then takes a bad angle shot that catches Marc-Andre Fleury leaning and hits the back of the net. If you don't think the Rangers have missed Kreider significantly this year, I hope this game changed your opinion. He was dominant.

Before the game I tweeted the following: "If nothing else, I want the Rangers to win tonight so the fans can give Martin St. Louis the response he deserves in Game 6. Bring him home, boys." And that's exactly what they did.

- The Garden is going to be insane on Sunday, and hopefully the Rangers use that as extra fuel to keep pushing forward. I don't want to think too much into the future, but if you force a Game 7 you've put yourself in a really good position. But if nothing else, go down swinging.