This past Friday night, New York City let out a sigh of relief as the New York Rangers live to play another day. The crowd was anxious and with time running out it almost seemed like the Blueshirts were not going to get anything past the Washington Capitals’ goaltender Braden Holtby. Yet, with less than two minutes left in the third period and their season hopes seeming dim, Chris Kreider came through for the Rangers.
The President Trophy winning team looked as if they were done for and the whole “Change the Ending” motivation was all for nothing. Then Derek Stepan showed why he is the playmaker that he is. After bringing the puck into the zone, he stopped, turned around and saw a wide open Kreider. He passed the puck right on his stick and Kreider let go a one-timer. The whole time the play was going on, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist sprinted to the bench for an extra attacker for one last glimpse of hope.
As soon as he shot, the whole crowd held their breath. Then the red light came on, and the Garden erupted. After spoiling a 3 on 1 breakaway in the first period by passing the puck instead of shooting it, Chris Kreider saved the Rangers’ season with his fourteenth overtime goal in his career.
It ended a long drought of frustration for New York. For what seemed like an eternity, nothing was getting past Holtby. He was a brick wall in his net and the Rangers just could not figure him out. However, no matter how frustrated the Rangers may have been, they did not let it rattle them and they did not give up. They have found ways to win all season, and they were not going down without a fight.
Then overtime came. The time were any fan’s anxiety is through the roof and the player’s try their best not to make that one costly mistake. The Rangers outshot the Capitals 6-2 in overtime and seemed to be back and forth.
Almost half way through the first overtime period, Jesper Fast brought the puck into the offensive zone. He made a great cross-ice pass to Derek Stepan, who faked the shot and dropped the puck back for the Rangers’ captain, Ryan McDonagh. He skated into the puck, shot and once again, the entire Garden went silent. Then, the red light comes on and you hear the goal horn.
The Captain, who after the Game 4 loss said, “This season, and series isn’t over,” certainly did deliver when they needed him the most.
Both teams head back to Washington D.C. where Game 6 will be played on Sunday, May 10 with puck drop at 7:00 p.m. The Rangers know they can get the job done and will look to force a Game 7. The season definitely is not over yet and the Blueshirts know that.