Resilient Rangers Top Senators in Game 7

by | Apr 28, 2012

Resilient Rangers Top Senators in Game 7

by | Apr 28, 2012

April 28, 2012

NEW YORK – All season long, the Rangers have talked about how they have to play.

In Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal with the Ottawa Senators, the Rangers played how they have to play.

They blocked shots — 23, to be exact, they won wall battles, they dominated the time of possession game for large stretches, they played stifling defense.

And, they got some good bounces. Two of those bounces were all it took to win Game 7, 2-1 at a rollicking Madison Square Garden Thursday night.

“People say when you lose a game you got outworked, or when you win a game you outworked them; that isn’t true,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said. “That didn’t happen this series. The team that made a couple extra big plays in a game wins the game.  That’s how close this series was.”

“We’ve played like that all year long. Especially playoffs, Game 7, you have to make those big blocks, take those big hits; do all you can to win,” said defenseman Marc Staal, whose odd-man rush goal opened the scoring at 4:46 of the second. “That was pretty intense. You’re doing everything you can to keep the puck away from your net. They had some pressure on us. For the most part, we tried to keep them to the outside.”

It wasn’t always pretty. In fact in the later stages of the third period, the Rangers were hemmed in for minutes at a time as the clock ever-slowly inched towards zero. But, they did what they had to do. After losing late leads in Games 2 and 4, they held onto those advantages in the final two games to come back after trailing 3-2 in the series after Game 5.

“The whole series was just a big war,” said goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (26 saves). “It was going back and forth, it was good hockey, it was intense, big battles in front of the nets, it was fun.”

For the Rangers, Game 7 was a chance to build on their identity. After earning the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, their backs were up against a wall after five games. But this resilient group stayed on their game, and won two intense playoff battles to advance into the Eastern Conference Semifinals, where they will face 7th-seeded Washington.

“We were still confident going into Game 6. We knew we had to get that game to get it back here and we’d have a good shot to close it out,” Staal said. “We stayed confident, we stayed with it. I don’t think anybody in this room doubted for a second we were going to come back.”

“We’ve come back all year, we’ve played well,” said captain Ryan Callahan. “This is just another step in building on that. We drew back on our third periods from earlier in the year.”

“It’s a tremendous experience. It’s hard to explain,” Tortorella said of the experience of playing in Game 7. “People want to play in those games. Do you want to win a series 4-0? Sure; you want to win those games and get out of it. When you get into this type of situation, it’s a great opportunity. You just don’t get a lot of these.”

Dan Girardi, another of the Rangers hard-working, blue collar, homegrown talents, scored the game-winning goal in the second when he was the recipient of a loose puck in the slot after Brandon Dubinsky slapped a backhanded feed towards the pinching defenseman at 9:04 of the second. Daniel Alfredsson’s power play tally 2:30 later brought the Senators to within one, but the Rangers defense – and Lundqvist – held firm after that.

“It’s huge to score the game-winner in game 7 of the first round,” Girardi said. “Obviously a big thing for myself. Anyone could have scored the goal and been the hero.”

“The veteran leadership is the reason this team had such a successful regular season and why they’re such a close group,” said rookie Chris Kreider, who skated 18:21 and played his best game of the series. “You don’t get very far if you don’t have leaders on your team – with letters and without; we have some great leaders.”

“That was a hard series against a very good team,” Tortorella said. “Both teams went toe-to-toe in all areas of the game. Sometimes the first round is the hardest round; and that’s all this is, one round. We found a way, we’re fortunate. I’m very happy with the group, and they should be very proud of themselves for about an hour. Really; it’s coming up quickly – the next series starts quickly. [Saturday at 3 p.m.] So, we have some things to get ready and get to the next one.”

NOTES

The last time the Rangers rallied from a 3-2 series hole was the 1994 Eastern Conference Final against the Devils

Tonight is the first time in franchise history the Rangers had multiple goals scored by defensemen in Game 7 of a playoff series. It’s the first time since 1950 a team win a Game 7 without having a forward score a goal.

The Rangers won 52% of faceoffs in the game. The only other game in the series the Rangers had an advantage at the faceoff dot was Game 2 (51%).

Brady-Faced Assassin

Brady-Faced Assassin

If the name Brady Tkachuk catches your ear, it’s for good reason. Call him the Baby-Faced Assassin, because Tkachuk puts it to the other team night after night.

read more
Improved Play Helps UND Get Series Win Against BSU

Improved Play Helps UND Get Series Win Against BSU

What a difference a week makes. A week ago, the University of North Dakota hockey team lost the series finale 4-3 to league rival Miami. The mood in the post-game was subdued. A week later, the mood was very different. After scoring his first goal of the season, Louis...

read more
NHL trends at the quarter mark of 2022-23: Which will continue?

Offense continues to boom, teams continue to use the "power kill" strategy, and there are fewer empty-net goals. We predict which changes will stick. [...]

When will Alex Ovechkin reach 800 goals? Our updated tracker

The Washington Capitals star is projected to reach the 800-goal mark this season. Follow along as he chases down this accomplishment. [...]

Stars F Hintz signs 8-year, $67.6M extension

Dallas Stars forward Roope Hintz, 26, has signed an eight-year, $67.6 million contract extension through the 2030-31 season. [...]

Fired employee files complaint against Canucks

Canucks Sports & Entertainment, the parent company for the NHL team, said in response to Rachel Doerrie's complaint: "We acted in good faith and abided by our contractual obligations, both… [...]

Barkov will miss beginning of Panthers' road trip

Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov, who is dealing with a non-COVID-19 illness, will not join the team for the start of its upcoming road trip, coach Paul Maurice said on… [...]

Bruins win in OT, set NHL record in the process

The Boston Bruins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime Friday, setting the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with the win. [...]

Preds postpone 2 games due to water main break

The Nashville Predators postponed home games scheduled for Friday and Saturday because of a water main break that soaked Bridgestone Arena. [...]

Maple Leafs legend, Hall of Famer Salming dies

Toronto Maple Leafs legend and Hockey Hall of Famer Borje Salming has died. He was 71 and living with Lou Gehrig's disease. [...]

Leafs end Devils' team record-tying 13-game run

The Toronto Maple Leafs snapped New Jersey's 13-game winning streak on Wednesday night, 2-1, leaving the Devils one win shy of a franchise record. [...]

Who passes, who fails? Grading all 32 NHL teams at the quarter mark of 2022-23

The Devils, Bruins and Knights are at the head of the class, while others might be destined for detention. Here's a look at what's gone right and what's gone wrong… [...]

Ever wonder what it would be like if your everyday car was a ZAMBONI?!?!?

Wonder no longer…

Check out The Zambonis' latest hit, "Slow Whip"!