|Ryan Mcdonagh celebrates his 1st NHL goal that gave the Rangers a 3-2 lead over the Devils.|
Last Year, the Rangers lost to the Flyers in overtime on the last day of the season and were eliminated from the playoffs. This year, the Rangers weren't going to allow the same thing to happen. The Rangers were tied with the Carolina Hurricanes going into the last game from each team.
The Rangers played the New Jersey Devils, while the Hurricanes played the Tampa Bay Lightning. Even though the Rangers won, it was up to the Hurricanes whether who would get the final spot, because a win for the 'Canes meant playoffs and a loss meant elimination.
Many of the Rangers players were confident that they would at least win their game against the Devils. Although the Hurricanes game wasn't in their hands, they still went out there to have a chance. Brandon Dubinsky, who leads the team in goals, assists, and points was quoted before the game saying, "We are going to take care of our game and get the win".
That is exactly what the Rangers did on Saturday.
The Rangers' captain, Chris Drury, returned to the ice after missing nearly three months of hockey due to surgery. Drury right away made impact, and on his first shift, tied up the game only a minute after the Devils scored their first goal, which was only two minutes into the game. The Devils would then score a late goal with only 30 seconds remaining in the first period.
The Rangers started off the second period with a bang. Instantly they tied up the game, and by the end of the second it was 4-2 New York. Ryan McDonagh would score his first career NHL goal, to give the rangers a 3-2 lead. They would score two more unanswered goals to give themselves a 4-2 lead.
The beating wouldn't stop though because Vinny Prospal scored the final goal in the third period to give the Rangers the 5-2 win. The Rangers had 14 different skaters record points, and Prospal was the only skater who recorded two. McDonagh said after the game, "It made it sweeter that we got the win.. it was exciting and a lot of fun (to get it)".
The Garden was shaking, the Rangers final game was a win which put them in position to advance to the playoffs. Like most years, the Rangers gave away their game worn jerseys and equipment to lucky fans. It was a good afternoon for most fans.
Then the nerves came back in the night, as the players and fans watched the Lightning take on the Hurricanes, in Carolina. King Henrik said it best, "It was do or die today and we did what we had to do... we played a great game.. we got the points, but don't know if it's enough"
Things got underway at around 7 PM in Raleigh, Carolina. The Lightning quickly scorched the Hurricanes for three straight goals in the first period. By the end of the second period it was 4-1. After a power play goal by the Hurricanes, and two empty net goals by Tampa Bay, the season was over for Carolina.
The New York Rangers could not be happier. All the stress and tension was over, and the Rangers are returning to the playoffs after a short hiatus.
Captain Drury was quoted saying," I never want to be watching a game with Henk again.. He's intense!"
Although the Rangers will be the #8 seed in the East, they like their chances of advancing to the next round because of their success vs the #1 seed Washington Capitals this season. The Rangers are 3-1 against the Caps this season, with big wins like 7-0 and 6-1. Although the Rangers will be without assistant captain Ryan Callahan due to a broken ankle, the Capitals will be without their start defenseman Mike Green.
With the New York Knicks also making the playoffs for the first time in a while, both the Rangers and Knicks will be busy in April. Along with the New York Yankees, the Knicks and Rangers can make New York proud, something they haven't done in a long time. The last time both teams made the playoffs was over ten years ago.