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New York Rangers Ride Tidal Wave of Emotion to Force a Deciding Game 7

May 12th, 2014 at 12:09 AM
By Ricky Cibrano

With Martin St. Louis' family in attendance just days after his mother's passing — and on Mothers Day, no less — the Rangers forced a deciding game 7 with a 3-1 triumph over the Penguins inside a loud and emotional Madison Square Garden. From the opening faceoff, chants of "Marty, Marty" rained down in support of the diminutive star, who did not disappoint. St. Louis provided the singular thing all in attendance desired — a goal – 3:34 into the contest, and three minutes later, Carl Hagelin added another to make it 2-0 Rangers before the dust had even settled. Brandon Sutter's pinball shot would cut it to 2-1 before the period was over, but Derick Brassard's persistence in front got the lead back to two late in the second, and Pittsburgh could draw no closer.

  • Martin St. Louis has scored many goals much prettier than the one that glanced off his shin and in early in the first, but judging from his reaction, none have felt better.
  • The one constant in the three games the Rangers have won in this series? Fast starts. In their three wins, the Blueshirts scored the first two goals of the game each time, with both goals always coming in the opening frame. Not coincidentally, those three games saw Pittsburgh appear visibly frustrated early and often.
  • Much has been made of how quiet the Garden has been, not just in this series, but all season. It was plenty loud tonight, and played a major factor in the home team pulling out a win. Pittsburgh simply couldn't match the Rangers' surge of energy early in the game, and had Dan Bylsma not burned a timeout to settle his club down, this one could've been ticketed for a blowout. 
  • The bad news is, after the early surge, Pittsburgh did have the better of the play. But, the Rangers bent but did not break. Henrik Lundqvist had a role in that, making 36 saves in his best performance of the series, including two breakaway stops in the second on Brian Gibbons and Marcel Goc. All season long, the talk has been The King no longer needs to win games by himself, but must make timely saves when called upon — tonight he did.
  • There still hasn't been a "Fleury game" — a contest Marc-Andre Fleury has given away — in this series. Hagelin's goal was regrettable on the part of the Pittsburgh tender, but he was otherwise solid and even made a few nice saves.
  • Something to watch: Early in the third, on the play where Mats Zuccarello took a penalty to negate a Kris Letang scoring chance, Ryan McDonagh took an ill-advised run at Gibbons, which led to the scoring chance and the penalty. McDonagh grabbed his shoulder after contacting Gibbons, but didn't miss a shift. Pierre McGuire has stated time after time after time after time he doesn't think McDonagh is fully healthy, and whatever contact the defenseman made with Gibbons didn't appear to be major.
  • Sidney Crosby was putrid. The Rangers again limited his space, and hockey's golden boy wasted no time in showing his frustration, seemingly expending more energy in post whistle scrums than he did when the clock was running. Sid's highlights included spearing Dominic Moore to setoff a donnybrook at the end of the second, and slewfooting Dan Girardi — both transgressions went undetected. When Crosby comes unglued, so do the rest of the Penguins, so the strategy will remain the same in game 7.
  • Now the question becomes: what will the Rangers have left in the tank for game 7? With Martin St. Louis' mother passing away, the last two games were incredibly emotionally draining, which coupled with the physical exhaustion of what will be the teams' 9th game in 15 nights, could spell trouble. Remember, the Blueshirts appeared to be a tired team early in the series, and playing every other day, they haven't had much time to rest. If they are to take game 7 and advance, it would certainly be helpful if the big-time players played big, i.e. Rick Nash.
Tags: Carl Hagelin, Dan Bylsma, Dan Girardi, Henrik Lundqvist, Hockey, Marc Andre-Fleury, Martin St. Louis, Mats Zuccarello, New York, New York Rangers, NHL, Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh, Sidney Crosby

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