NEW YORK – The New York Rangers are trying their darndest to make sure the Garden renovation comes crawling to a halt.
Due to close this summer for the transformation, the club down 2-0 in their series against the Washington Capitals wanted to make sure that the start date of the meat and potatoes portion of the work will be pushed back as far as possible.
So today, the Rangers worked and worked, giving up leads and coming back twice in the game, eventually winning Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series 3-2 on Brandon Dubinsky’s goal with 1:39 left in regulation.
“Bang bang…it was on net,” said Dubinsky, who also assisted on Vinny Prospal’s goal earlier in the game. “It was a quick play and it was nice. I just tried to take the puck hard to the net. We had a battle in the corner and there wasn’t that much time there. We got a great bounce and it goes in.”
Of course it is fitting Dubinsky was the one to win the game as he means just as much to this team as Henrik Lundqvist or the injured Ryan Callahan.
“Not only did he score the goal, but he did the dirty stuff for us,” said coach John Tortorella. “He made a lot of big plays defensively and also forechecking. Hopefully that will continue.”
“He was a monster tonight,” added Lundqvist. “He worked so hard and he was so strong with the puck. That was just a Dubi goal at its best.”
Actually the coach probably hopes this type of effort will continue. The Rangers refused to be out played in this game. They fought hard the whole 60 minutes, blocking shots and defending their own zone, so much so that Lundqvist was not overtaxed.
Instead, the Rangers seemed to keep the Capitals at bay for most of the game and only on the sheer skill of Alex Ovechkin and Mike Knuble did Washington tie the game twice.
But the Rangers kept fighting and the capacity crowd was not going to let up as they smelled a win in the air. Especially with the club grinding and crawling to quote the coach.
“We had to and they are doing the same thing…trying to get pucks to the net and people in the clue. I thing we were more ready to shoot today. I think we played better at grinding underneath the hash marks. This is how we have to do it. We are not good enough…we have to grind.”
And even after failing on three power plays – including a 5-on-3 for the first half of the game, the team kept coming and coming. And finally on PP No. 4 at 5:30 of the second, Eric Christensen was able to go top shelf on Michal Neuvirth, who was kept busy stopping 32 of 35 Ranger shots.
Although Ovechkin tied it with a minute left in the second, The club never gave up and they almost tied it up right at the buzzer, but the replays from Toronto showed the puck crossed the line a shade after the 0:00 mark was reached and was waived off.
“I didn’t see the replay, it was called a goal but was waived off,” said center Brian Boyle, whose line with Brandon Prust and Sean Avery did the bulk of the forechecking and grinding today. “We are a pretty resilient group and we kept playing. It was a swing of emotions and we needed the intermission to collect our thoughts.”
And they did, coming out playing the same game in the third and Prospal was able to light the lamp at 8:01. Although Knuble was able to tie it, Dubinsky refused to let the game go into overtime.
Or the Garden to get its renovation on time.