Coming into the game, the Rangers knew they weren’t pulling their full weight this season. Heck all they had to do is open the newspaper – or just Google “NHL Standings” – to see their 3-7-2 record.
They were disappointing themselves, the fans, and, New York in general.
But when a tragedy strikes in the city, they know the city looks towards their sports teams for solace, especially the ones playing the very same say.
Which is why the 6-4 comeback win over the Vegas Golden Knights meant so much more for this team and this city.
“I’m super happy we got the win, especially after the situation earlier today,” said Mika Zinanejad, who scored the winning goal and had two assists in the third period. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the families. It was a horrible, horrible thing. It was bigger than to points today. We were trying to play for the whole city and for all the families involved and we were able to do that.”
It’s a nice sentiment and sure it’s nice for the Ranger organization, who also had a moment of silence before the game, to mention that senseless terrorist attack in Lower Manhattan, which killed eight people.
Remember, these Rangers are not like the ones of say 20 years ago, who lived in Westchester. Most of them live in the city and for some live in that area.
“It was emotional for me before the game,” said goalie Henrik Lundqvist. “I talked to the group a little bit about the importance of the game. For me, my family is in that area every day and coming to the game, not knowing they were safe or not is not a good feeling.”
You don’t have to wear No. 30 to have that feeling. In fact, many New Yorkers were wondering about their loved ones, who worked in the city.
Which is why a distraction of a hockey game tonight on 33rd Street is so important and the Rangers knew that a win would help the open wounds of the day, much like the Mets in 2001 and what the Houston Astros are trying to accomplish now after the floods. It’s natural for our sports figures to do what they do best, in order to help heal, or at least, distract an area.
Tonight, was the Rangers’ turn. And the four-goal third period was the result of a Rangers team coming out and taking a game. Make no mistake, the Rangers fourth win on the year does not erase the deficiencies of this hockey club. They still play a very poor defense and are very week down the middle. But those are concerns for Thursday, when the Rangers are in Tampa.
And even if they don’t win another game this season and even if Alain Vigneault loses his job later this week, the Rangers did their job today, because a sports team once again brought a city together the only way it can.
Tomorrow, though, will be another day and the page will be turned. It won’t matter what happens on Thursday or the rest of the season for that matter. To put it in New York terms, tonight the Rangers done good.