So maybe this shootout victory over the Sabres in Game 20 will galvanize the Rangers.
Maybe this 3-2 triumph at the Garden, in which the Blueshirts responded to a dangerous cheap shot against Brad Richards delivered by Patrick Kaleta — one of the NHL’s most notorious henchmen — and then killed a pair of penalties in overtime will prove a tipping point in what has been a teeter-totter season.
Maybe the anger over seeing Richards fly head-first into the boards when hit from behind that the Rangers were able to channel into positive energy will launch this team out of the morass of mediocre clubs with which they’ve been enmeshed and into the East’s upper echelon.
“I think a hit like that immediate brings emotions to a boil,” Marc Staal said of the hit from behind at 3:28 of the third for which Kaleta received a five-minute major and a game misconduct. “When you see one of your guys cheap-shotted like that it immediately raises your antenna and intensity.
“But you want to make sure your emotions don’t get the best of you. You’re angry, you’re [ticked] off, but you know that you have to maintain your focus.”
The Rangers, already on a power play while trailing 1-0, did just that, scoring twice within 43 seconds, Derek Stepan converting from the doorstep on the five-on-three at 3:35 to tie the game before Rick Nash — The Big Easy — wristed one from the right circle at 4:18 for a 2-1 lead.
Defining point for Blueshirts
New York Post | Mar 4