Flash back to two days ago, to the second intermission of Saturday’s matinee against the Blues: The Rangers were down 2-0, and their season was essentially over—not so much because they would be back six points or whatever in the playoff race, but because it was apparent they lacked the needed fortitude to dig out important wins down the stretch.
This being my first go-round on the beat, I was chewing on a muffin and asking other writers how they thought the final weeks of the season would play out. What would be the stories? Who would be called up? When would the unfortunate business of monitoring a coaching change commence?
To be sure, all of those variables remain in play even after the Rangers buried two goals in the third period and then went on to prevail in a shootout. By April 7, when the Rangers file off the ice after their final regular season game in Pittsburgh, we may look back at what happened on Saturday and recognize it merely as an aberration—a mere detour on the inevitable road to oblivion. But there is also the chance that it goes down as the game that brought the Rangers back from the dead.
Naturally, we’re likely to know a lot more beginning tonight, in the first of two crucial games against the Islanders this week. Like I said, I’m still not sure what to make of what happened on Saturday. But I do know it ensures tonight will be as compelling a game as the Rangers have played all year.
Heck, I might even wear a tie.
If I can find one, that is…..