Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Blue Heaven in Game Seven

The New York Rangers have been pushed to the limit in both series this postseason, and both times they have answered with a victory.

The Rangers were coming off a bad loss in Game 6 to the Washington Capitals, where they were beaten in every phase of the game. The pressure was all on the blueshirts to win on home ice,  while the Caps were playing with house money. There is no doubt there was a nervous feel in the crowd hidden by the chants of Let's Go Rangers, but the Garden faithful gave the Rangers all they had.

Brad Richards opened the scoring less than two minutes into the game, when he blasted a pass from Carl Hagelin by the glove of goaltender Braden Holtby.

The Rangers and Capitals played a scoreless second period, with both teams getting chances, but the defense was stellar.

In the third period, Michael Del Zotto followed Marian Gaborik's blocked shot, and snapped a shot by the  stick of Holtby, and the Rangers grabbed a crucial two goal lead.

Less than one minute later, Roman Hamerlik threw a floater towards Henrik Lundqvist, and the puck found the back of the net. Lundqvist was screened, and did not see the puck until it was too late, and the Rangers lead was cut to one. The fans immediately supported Lundqvist after he gave up the fluke goal by chanting "Henrik!".

Later in the third period, Brian Boyle drove to the net with the puck, and was taken down by a Caps defenseman. The puck looked to have crossed the line before the referee blew the whistle, but the ref called the goal off with no review.

The Caps desperately tried to put the pressure on the Rangers defense, but Lundqvist and the Rangers did not break, and held on for 2-1 win.

Henrik Lundqvist made 22 saves, and will play in his first Conference Finals is his career. Carl Hagelin assisted on both Ranger goals, and played his best game of the series, and maybe the playoffs.

The Rangers are now 5-0 in Game 7's at home, and 2-0 in Game 7's at home this postseason.

The Rangers will face the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals Monday night at 8 pm at Madison Square Garden.

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