Eastern Conference, NHL

Eastern Conference Finals: Game 6 Recap

Posted: June 1, 2014 at 12:56 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Scott Abuso
 

 

prince-of-wales
This was it. Any real Rangers fan knew this was the must win game for New York. With a 3-2 series lead, this was the last chance to close out the series before returning to the ever so daunting Bell Center.

 

It was an opportunity fans had become all too used to seeing their boys in blue squander, but that would not be the case tonight. No, something was different about this game. John Amirante sang the anthems, but it was hard to tell when the music stopped because the crowd was going wild. They would not be denied. It was game time.

 

From the first shift it was easy to see that the Rangers were on a mission. They played a tight defensive game, severely limiting Montreal’s scoring chances and peppering the rookie goaltender Tokarski with shots from all angles, pushing him to his breaking point.

 

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Even with tight defending in front of him, Lundqvist was asked to make some key stops, and he more than stepped up to the task. He was solid and stoic between his pipes, but one save stood out above all. Late in the second period, Montreal Forward Thomas Vanek entered the rangers zone and put a bouncing puck on net. It wobbled and floated towards the goal crease, in dangers of crossing the line. In a feat of quick reflexes and athleticism, Lundqvist was there to shut the door with his blocker. The crowd erupted, and the slow-motion replay drew a hearty roar from the Garden Faithful.

 

Canadiens Rangers Hockey
As for Tokarski, the rookie opposite Lundqvist, he would break soon after. The Rangers possessed the puck well all game, but one particular sequence turned out to be the difference maker. The sometimes under-appreciated but always performing fourth line took control of the offensive zone, moving the puck swiftly and with a purpose. Defenseman Ryan McDonagh pushed the puck along to Brian Boyle who found Dom Moore alone in front of the net. It was a bang-bang play that put the Rangers on the board and released a roar from the crowd that nearly had the arena shaking.

 

Never a team to make things easy for their fans, the Rangers could not find the back of the net for quite some time after. In fact, they were held to one goal through the entirety of regulation. Thanks to the stalwart defensive play of the defensmena and forwards and a few pieces of work from Lundqvist, the Rangers were able to shutout the Canadiens and win their way into the Stanley Cup Final for the First time in 20 years. Not a patron was sitting for the final three minutes of the game. As the seconds ticked away, our confidence grew. Even when Montreal pulled their goalie in desperation and spent some quality time in the Rangers’ zone, the crowd and the team was not pashed.
One minute remaining in regulation.

 

We couldn’t believe what we were hearing. Were they about to do it? It seemed inevitable. It had to be.

 

3…2…1…

 

Canadiens Rangers Hockey
The horn had to go off, it does at the end of every period, but I couldn’t hear it. What I heard were the screams and cheers of an arena full of people celebrating a victory. People next to me tried exchanging words, but to no avail. You couldn’t hear what was being said next to you. Why would you want to? The Rangers were headed to the Stanley Cup Finals. The stars had aligned. What a moment it was.

 

The handshake line produced a lull, but the crowd was right back at it come trophy presentation time. There were some tears, all smiles and an equal amount of hollering and clapping. They had done it. It was surreal.

 

I’ve been to my fair share of games in MSG, but nothing comes close to what I experienced in game 6.
There were some slip ups along the way, but the Rangers had finally closed out a series in 6 games, and they took one more step towards the promised land.

 

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