|Posted by Landon Ewaniuk on May 12, 2012 at 10:50 PM|
The New York Rangers are out to prove defense is still the key to winning championships in hockey. In their biggest game of the season, the Rangers did something they were accustomed to doing all season long, winning a tight-checking hockey game by one goal.
Brad Richards the biggest free-agent signing last summer, was brought in to bring the Rangers to the next level. He did exactly that. Richards scored his sixth goal of the playoffs just 1:32 into the game. This settled the contest down for his club and the momentum favored New York.
The Washington Capitals did not look ready to play until midway through the second. The Rangers defense was solid as ever. When Capitals shooters did get pucks through, the next task was to beat the best goaltender in the world, Henrik Lundqvist, which seemed impossible at times.
"Lundqvist was brilliant, especially during the second period with the Capitals applying constant pressure. He made 11 saves during the middle 20 minutes, including beauties on Alexander Semin and Mike Knuble". NHL.com
Midway through the third, Michael Del Zotto snapped a lucky one passed playoff sensation Braden Holtby, who did everything to keep his side in the game making 29 stops total.
Roman Hamrlik, the most experienced Washington Capitals player in Game 7 situations, scored the lone goal for the Washington Capitals 38 seconds after Del Zotto Potted what would turn out to be the game-winner. The final score 2-1 New York Rangers.
Let's face it, the New York Rangers deserved to win this deciding game. The Washington Capitals only recorded four shots total in the final frame. Including the most ridiculous power-play I've ever seen with a team's season in the balance. They were closer to scoring on themselves, then tying the game.
With the win, the New York Rangers advanced to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 1997. Their opponent will be the archrival New Jersey Devils. That series kicks off Monday. No rest for a team that has already put together two Game 7 victories to get to this point.
Congratulations, New York Rangers.