This first round Stanley Cup playoff series against Pittsburgh has become a microcosm for the Rangers’ entire season.
The Rangers have always defied all odds, no matter how many times they were counted out. The Rangers have risen to the top despite seemingly impossible odds. The Rangers’ resilience, dedication to the team and ability to find wins have helped them to this point. All that will be required of them when they face off against the clock for Game 7 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.
” We approached the last two matches as Game 7s,” Gerard Gallant, head coach of the Rangers, said after practice on Saturday. He was referring to the way the Rangers managed to avoid elimination in Games 5-6 after falling behind by 3-1 in the series. “Really, those were crucial games and we managed to win them. Tomorrow will be no different.
” If you lose, you go home. So keep playing and winning, and you’ll be able to move on.”
There is no stage bigger than this one. The pinwheel ceiling at the Garden hasn’t looked down upon a Rangers Game 7 since May 29, 2015, when the Lightning handed them their first-ever loss under such circumstances, to advance to the Stanley Cup Final. This is right: Rangers have lost only one Game 7 at home in franchise history.
This Rangers team has to keep that loss count at one. This is a difficult task for a team that will be competing in the first postseason in five decades, but it’s one that the Blueshirts have proven they can handle.
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Anyone who has seen the Rangers this season will know that their defining trait is their ability to rally from behind. Throughout an 82-game regular season, the Rangers recorded 27 (27!) come-from-behind victories. The Rangers were just minutes away from the end of summer in Games 5 & 6, with two-goal deficits.
” I think we don’t quit,” stated Alexis Lafreniere. He described Game 7 as a privilege and said that it was a privilege to play in it. “Our character really is something. Although we were down in both of the games, we didn’t quit and never stopped playing together. This is a great thing for us. As long as we play