It's no secret that the last 48 hours have been a rollercoaster for the New York Rangers. It all began with the Tom Wilson saga, in which Pavel Buchnevich had his head slammed to the ice, and Artemi Panarin was inches away from a gruesome head injury. Panarin was announced as missing the rest of the season, and Wilson was only given a fine. That meant that Wilson was eligible to play in his team's next game...against the Rangers.

As everyone settled in with their popcorn to watch the highly anticipated rematch, the Rangers pulled a fast one on the hockey world, announcing the dismissal of Team President John Davidson, and General Manager Jeff Gorton. The New York Post's Larry Brooks surmised the firing was because of a disagreement between the two and team owner James Dolan on the direction of the franchise, while Levack and I considered the possibility that the team's inflammatory statement put out online may not have sat well.

And then, they played a hockey game.

104.5 THE TEAM logo
Get our free mobile app

To no one's surprise, the game erupted into fights as soon as the puck was dropped. All three forwards on both teams paired off and fought, with six players getting fighting majors at the ONE SECOND MARK of the game. 49 seconds later, Tom Wilson (remember him?) took his first shift, and was immediately grabbed by Rangers' defenseman Brendan Smith. The two fought and received penalties, with Smith receiving an extra instigator and misconduct penalty.

The teams would play roughly three-and-a-half minutes later before fights erupted again, this time, with four players total heading to the box. It was at this point of the game that the pictures began swirling around Twitter, giving birth to some incredible tweets and memes.

Screenshot (9)
Screenshot (10)

In total, the game had 23 penalties, 16 of which in the first period. The Rangers ended up losing the game, but they should be proud of the effort they put forth. They fought for their injured teammate, as well as their own pride. It is no small feat to be able to put the Wilson drama and front office turnover behind you and play a competitive hockey game, and the Rangers showed a lot of heart in doing so.

So, while the Rangers will not be in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs, I firmly believe this game will bring the core group of players together for future seasons. With only two players not under team control after this season, the vast majority of the roster that participated in last night's game will be back next year.

LOOK: 50 images of winning moments from sports history

Sometimes images are the best way to honor the figures we've lost. When tragedy swiftly reminds us that sports are far from the most consequential thing in life, we can still look back on an athlete's winning moment that felt larger than life, remaining grateful for their sacrifice on the court and bringing joy to millions.

Read on to explore the full collection of 50 images Stacker compiled showcasing various iconic winning moments in sports history. Covering achievements from a multitude of sports, these images represent stunning personal achievements, team championships, and athletic perseverance.

More From 104.5 THE TEAM