Of course it was a grind, because the Rangers would have it no other way.

With their season on the line and the summer lurking in the sunshine outside, somehow the Blueshirts staved off elimination yesterday afternoon at the Garden, squeaking out a 1-0 win over the Capitals in Game 6 of their first-round series, forcing a decisive Game 7 tonight in the nation’s capital.

“The regular season ... means nothing,” said coach John Tortorella. “You make your legacy as a player in these types of situations.”

The whole scenario just seemed so 2012, with the Rangers blocking shots, throwing their bodies around and hardly scoring enough to keep any sense of hope alive. Yet around every dangerous corner was Henrik Lundqvist, the goalie who again was brilliant and willed his team to a victory that was a long way from assured.

“The ultimate goal for Hank, in his mind, is to win the Stanley Cup,” Tortorella said. “But you need to go through these types of situations to get there.”

Well, one of the things the Rangers have never done, dating back to their inception in 1926, is win a Game 7 on the road. They won two Game 7s in last year’s run to the Eastern Conference finals, but the first one against the Senators and the second against the Capitals were both played here, on home ice, in front of the fans that suddenly seem to remember those hard-working days as if nothing has changed.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said defenseman Ryan McDonagh. “We’re really trying to enjoy it here through the chaos of the game and take what we got here and ride the momentum.”

Certainly, the Blueshirts’ performance had a lot of that old crunch in it, but it was far from perfect. They didn’t take a penalty until the final buzzer had sounded — when Derek Stepan and Dan Girardi got called for roughing after a fracas with two of the many frustrated Capitals, John Carlson and Troy Brouwer — and since the 27-minute mark of Game 1, the Rangers have had 24 man-advantages compared to the Capitals’ 10.