Hot! Rangers Season in Review

Ready or not, it’s time for playoff hockey in the Big Apple. Usually, we (Rangers fans) enter the playoffs viewing our team as the underdog. We don’t expect much – hope for the best, expect the worse – but that’s not the case this year. In 2012, the Rangers enter the playoffs as favorites. As a result, fans are hoping for and, quite frankly, expecting something great to happen. Regardless of what happens moving forward, it’s time to sit back, reflect, and review the top five most memorable moments of the 2011-2012 season.

In my humble opinion, each of these moments helped shape the Rangers team we know today and are indicators of the team’s bright future.

5) 10/8/11 – Rangers 1, Ducks 2 SO – “The Silver Lining” This is the only loss on the list, but the first “road” trip of the season can’t be overlooked. The character of the team began to develop over this time, when the season’s first two games were played in Stockholm, Sweden against California teams, both resulting in overtime or shootout losses. The Rangers learned early that they would need to fight for every inch; over the next 80 games, they certainly did. Interestingly, the tradition of “The Broadway Hat” came about during this trip. A few players found an ugly hat in Sweden and decided that, after each win, the best player would have to wear this in the locker room. Much like A.J. Burnett’s walk-off pies grew the Yankees chemistry during their championship 2009 season, this new tradition has New Yorkers hoping the result will be the same.

4) 3/19/12 – Rangers 4, Devils 2 – “Blood Bath” Not only did the Rangers clinch a postseason berth from this game, they also earned the title of the toughest MOFOs in the NHL. The Rangers and Devils are bitter rivals and the Devils wanted to, or should I say attempted to, beat the Rangers at their physical game. This resulted in a 3-on-3 brawl when the puck dropped, a broken nose, blood on the ice, and a loud message by the Blueshirts saying, “don’t fuck with us.”

3) 12/17/11 – Rangers 3, Coyotes 2 – “Clutch” The bigger the moment, the bigger the performance. We’ve seen this time and time again, but none such as the one on a Saturday night in December. The Rangers had lost two in a row and were desperate to stay among the leaders in the league. As the third period was drawing to a close, overtime/the dreaded shootout seemed imminent. All of a sudden, with only tenths of a second remaining in the game, Brad Richards scored a goal that you have to see to believe.

2) 1/2/12 – Rangers 3, Flyers 2 – “A Winter Classic” This game had everything a fan could ask for: Outdoor hockey. Some snow. Hostile environment. HBO’s acclaimed show 24/7 chronicling the month-long build up to this new hockey tradition. It was, simply put, the main event of the season. Just like all year, the bigger the moment, the bigger the Rangers played. After a scoreless first period, the Flyers got on the board with two goals in less than two minutes. The Rangers rebounded with three unanswered goals and penalty shot save by Lundqvist in the final seconds.

1) 4/3/12 – Rangers 5, Flyers 3 – “Killer Instinct” A characteristic of a championship caliber team is having the ability to get things done when they need to be done. A loss here would have jeopardized the team’s lead in the East and could have had an effect on their playoff seed. This was a must-win for the Rangers and they came out swinging. With hard work, spectacular goaltending by Henrik Lundqvist, and key special teams plays, the Rangers went into the first intermission with a 4-0 lead. With an eventual 5-3 win, the Rangers clinched the one seed for the first time since 1994. We all know what happened that year…


Corey Brill

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