Well, that was about as wild as it gets. Not one for the archives in terms of how to play, or how to win. But, wow, was that a finish.
I am racking the rusty rolodex between my ears trying to remember a similar game, and I’m sure there was one. I thought a game in L.A. in 1993-94 was similar, but I went back and looked. In that one, Kelly Hrudey stopped Tony Amonte on a penalty shot (!!!!!) with 10.7 seconds left in overtime, and Mark Messier put in a Sergei Zubov rebound with 1.5 seconds left to win it.
1) Two thoughts on the game-winning goal with 00:00.1 left. One was, as the Rangers lost the puck, and the game seemed headed to OT, Brandon Dubinsky seemed to stop in the offensive zone. So he couldn’t change, then he was able to make a good play in the offensive zone when Martin Biron moved the puck quickly up ice. The other was Ryan McDonagh, who has done this before, understood what was left on the clock and so he went in deep to make a strong play and allow Brad Richards to get the shot that went off Keith Yandle’s skate and past Mike Smith before the clock expired.
2) How about Michael Del Zotto’s pass to Marian Gaborik for the first goal, and the play Del Zotto made in the second period, leaping up to the crossbar to bat away a pop-up that had gotten behind Biron (who was fabulous again, BTW).
3) Finding a way, after two losses, in a game that wasn’t great, can sure make a difference when they add them all up at the end. Maybe the Rangers avoided a losing streak. We’ll see. And I don’t think they were awful at all. They defended well. They were good early. They were physical.
5) Gaborik, who had 22 goals last year and has 17 already this year, got his 300th on a gift from Yandle. Reminded me of Michael Strahan’s sack of Brett Favre for the record. Except it wasn’t intentional. Gaborik was really good in the game.
6) Yikes, now the Rangers are without three of their top six defensemen with Steve Eminger suffering a separated shoulder last night.
7) I liked the way Mike Rupp played in his first game back from knee surgery. Rugged, came back from a nice cut above the eye, had a big scoring chance. I understand that his return probably means more bench time, if not another demotion, for Sean Avery, especially if Artem Anisimov returns Tuesday. But I’d want Avery and Rupp in the lineup against the Devils Tuesday, the Islanders Thursday, the Flyers Friday and the Islanders Monday.
8) On the downside, the guy who stayed in the lineup because Anisimov was sick, and whose place in the lineup kept Avery on the bench — Erik Christensen — cleanly lost the faceoff on the short-handed goal that changed the game in the last seconds of the first period. He did nothing. I don’t get it.
9) Ruslan Fedotenko doesn’t mess up much, but he took the penalty, then came out of the box, went to his knees in front and left a man wide open for a power-play dunk and the 2-1 lead. And he heard about that from John Tortorella before they went to the lockerroom.
10) Those few minutes while they reviewed the game-winning goal in the Toronto war room, that’s going to make for some priceless bench audio on “24/7″ on Wednesday.
11) Unrelated, but what do you suppose the fired Jacques Martin thinks of the Scott Gomez trade now?
12) So, if the same game happens after Jan. 1, and the video replay judge has Time Warner Cable, do the Rangers go to OT?
My Three Rangers Stars:
1) Marian Gaborik.
2) Michael Del Zotto.
3) Martin Biron.
AP photos, above.
UPDATE: OMG, how did I already forget about the McDonagh game-winning OT goal in Calgary this season — where he did the exact same thing; understood how much time was left and joined the play down low?
There were 0.5 seconds left in OT when he scored it, though they put more time on the clock afterwards. It was under two seconds left officially.