Rangers Willing Their Way: Chance to Win Series on Wednesday
The much lauded heart and will of the Rangers showed itself again on Monday. They scored to tie it with just 6.6 seconds left in game 5, and won it only a minute and a half of game play later in overtime. Wednesday, they'll try and finish the series in Washington. @JoeBianchino
With seven seconds left in the third period of game five, all looked lost. Though the Rangers had been the better team for much of the game, they were down. Their offensive impotency - typified by the fact that to that point they had registered zero shots on goal through three power plays - had caught up with them. Quite frankly, given the way the series and game was progressing - and given the fatalistic leanings of Ranger fans who have watched their team disappoint for years - many would have wondered if they were watching the season wind to a close.
Such fans, however, would have been forgetting this team's greatest strength - a character that provides them a never ending motor and an ever present, bitingly furious will. But they would only have to wait so long before being reminded of that which they'd lost sight of. For it was with 6.6 seconds left in the third period when that heart showed itself the way it had down a goal in game 6 in Ottawa and in the third overtime in game three against these Caps.
Brad Richards poked home a loose puck to send the game into overtime and Marc Staal tallied his second goal of the playoffs just 1:35 into the extra period, waking the echoes of the World's Most Famous Arena, sending the Blueshirts into a Wednesday tie up in D.C. with a chance to take the series, and showcasing, once again, that this team is less about a resolute defense - which could have played better Monday nightt - or offensive strength - which simply doesn't exist on this team - but about twenty players who compete harder and longer than any opponent they face.
Ironic, then, that a team relying so heavily on their ability to fight through any challenge, saw their comeback completed by Staal - a man who spent the first half of the season battling his way through the effects of post concussion syndrome. The defenseman's struggle, comeback, and rise to see him scoring two of the team's bigger goals in these playoffs, symbolizes the very embodiment of what the Rangers have become.
Having now delivered a second gut punch to the spirit of the Washington Capitals, and having watched the Caps play with great zeal to fight through the first, expect the Rangers to come out swinging Wednesday night. They'll need to find something of a scoring touch, and play better defensively if they are to score the win - they gave up far too many odd-man rushes Monday night - but lack of effort will certainly not be a problem. It never has been. It never will be. Believe. Go Rangers.