Last night, it actually looked as if, without No. 1 defenseman Ryan McDonagh, that the New York Rangers were actually going to go into Colorado and beat the Colorado Avalanche in regulation by a 2-1 score. Unfortunately, the hockey gods were against the Rangers that night, or the Avalanche are just a team of destiny this season.
After being one of the worst teams in the league last season, the Avalanche are now 4th in the entire Western Conference with 104 points. This humongous turn around can be credited to their young forwards having one more year of experience under their belts and first year head coach, and Hall of Famer, Patrick Roy, who has his Avalanche playing hard from start to finish; the results are paying off, as seen by last night’s game.
The Rangers were less than one minute away from beating the Avalanche 2-1 in regulation until Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi failed to clear the zone, and with the goalie pulled and an extra skater on the ice for the Avalanche, defenseman Tyson Barrie was able to put one past Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to tie the game at 2-2 and force overtime, giving both teams a point.
No one would score in overtime, even though the Avalanche would come close numerous times, and both teams were off to the dreaded controversial shootout. In the skills competition to decide which team gets the extra point, the Avalanche would score once and the Rangers would fail to score, giving the Avalanche the come from behind 3-2 win and the two points, leaving the Rangers with only one.
A very tough way to lose a game for the Rangers, but that one point now puts them four points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers. And even though the Flyers have two games in hand over the Rangers, if they were to win both of those games in hand, the Flyers would tie the Rangers. However, it would be the Rangers finishing higher in the standings due to the tiebreak.
With only four games left in the regular season, the Rangers have to put this game behind them quickly. With a playoff spot still not guaranteed for the Rangers, although close, they must get back to work, win games, get points, and clinch a playoff spot on this three game homestand. The last thing the Rangers want to do is have it come down to the last game of the season in the nightmare known as Montreal.
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