Now that everyone’s heart rates are close to normal, lets soak in the glory that the New York Rangers live to fight another day. After being down 3-1 in the series against the Washington Capitals, the President’s Trophy winning team has pushed and fought back to force a Game 7 on Wednesday night back at the Garden.
The Washington Capitals were hoping this past Sunday’s game would end in handshakes, however, New York had different plans. Chris Kreider set the tone early, scoring 40 seconds in on a partial breakaway against Braden Holtby. After dominating most of the first period, the Rangers were given a very late power play. Derek Stepan won the puck back to Derick Brassard, who ripped the puck on net, and with .3 seconds left, Chris Kreider netted his second of the game, giving the Rangers a 2-0 lead.
The second period saw the Capitals pushing, and they scored to cut the Rangers lead in half twenty seconds into the period. That was the only goal of the period, but you could sense the Capitals were not going down without a fight.
Fast forward to the third period, fifty four seconds in, Rick Nash scores his first goal of this series and second of the playoffs. Then, four minutes later, Dan Boyle scores off a beautiful no look pass from James Sheppard, giving the Blueshirts a 4-1 lead. Then, the flood gates opened.
Washington was relentless as the Rangers seemed to sit back and try to protect the lead instead of pushing the pace. They scored two unanswered goals from Evgeny Kuznetsov and Joel Ward. This once again, had the Rangers clinging onto a one goal lead. After these two goals, head coach Alain Vigneault called a time out to settle down his team. Which somewhat worked until Alexander Ovechkin laid a punishing hit on Captain Ryan McDonagh who needed to be helped off the ice.
The Capitals kept pushing with McDonagh in the locker room, but Henrik Lundqvist had an answer for every opportunity, even a late power play to the Washington Capitals where they threw everything on the net. Then, McDonagh came back out onto the ice, which lifted his team as they held on until the final buzzer.
Henrik Lundqvist finished the night with 42 saves, despite being under siege the entire third period. He certainly proved why his numbers are fantastic in elimination games and why he is one of the best goaltenders in the entire world.
This game marks the second year in a row where the Rangers trailed 3-1 in a playoff series and have come back to force a Game 7 (last year against the Pittsburgh Penguins). Game 7 will be played Wednesday, May 13 with puck drop at 7:30 pm. The Rangers will need all hands on deck in the biggest game of their entire season. Lets keep the Garden rocking on Wednesday.