Monday, April 23, 2012

Rangers Defeat Senators 3-2, Force Game 7 On Thursday

The Rangers will live to see another day. After a 25-save performance in goal by Henrik Lundqvist and Chris Kreider's first career NHL goal that went down as the game-winner, the Rangers prevailed with their backs against the wall, and defeated the Ottawa Senators, 3-2 to force a Game 7 back in Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.

The Rangers also got huge nights from Derek Stepan (1 goal, 2 assists) and Brad Richards (1 goal, 1 assist) when they needed them the most.

There were several calls that were missed or went against the Rangers in this game, but the one everyone will be talking about is the Senators' second goal of the game that came at 19:21 of the third period. The puck was loose in the crease and Chris Neil speared Henrik Lundqvist in the stomach with his stick and blatantly kicked the puck in the net. The call on the ice was a good goal, but everybody assumed it would be overturned. After a long video review, though, the referees unbelievably ruled it a good goal. The Rangers held on and won, but Lundqvist was furious, yelling obscenities at the referees after the game as they skated off the ice.

Quite frankly, I don't blame him.

There is no way to justifiably defend that call of a good goal, and to me it's been clear for a while now that the NHL has gone out of their way trying to fix games, which was clearly the case tonight. The NHL's official ruling was that Neil didn't touch the puck on Jason Spezza's shot, but one simple look at any replay available could see that excuse was an absolute farce.

After the game, Henrik Lundqvist called the Senators goal "an absolute joke," and said "somebody wanted them in the game, for sure." He was absolutely correct, and I don't blame him one bit for being furious. The Rangers have had to overcome several awful calls and missed calls in this series, but this one by far takes the cake. Nobody can watch that sequence and convince me the NHL isn't out to get the Rangers.

I'll have much more later on the game later, including my thoughts on the horrendous officiating.


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