"It was an emotional game and it was physical. It was the same kind of game we are anticipating in Philly. Once again, if we win, we're in, if we lose we're out, so we believe we're going to make it."
That's Marian Gaborik, exuding the confidence of these onrushing Rangers.
Here's Henrik Lundqvist: "It was a playoff game...We've been talking about it the last few games. Never give up...we don't quit."
And unsung hero Jody Shelley: "We have set ourselves up in a great position and that's about it. We are realistic. If we don't make the playoffs, it's a failure."
Mike Keenan said the Rangers are " dangerous" right now. I sense some hunger, too. You can see it in the battle level, the crisper passes, the physical play and the sticking up for teammates, as Girardi did for Anisimov, as they all did if Lundqvist was jarred.
One worrisome matter. Possibly losing Ryan Callahan for Sunday's game in Philadelphia. He played just 8:01 before apparently re-injuring his knee after he checked Pronger) and was being examined post-game. Will rookie Dale Weise make his NHL debut in a Game 7-like atmosphere? Or will Brian Boyle (left ankle) be ready to go? Stay tuned: Rangers skate at noon tomorrow.
More Torts, post-game: "We are loose. I think the pressure is on them. We feel very comfortable playing on the road."
Brandon Dubinsky, who led all forwards with 22:58: "We haven' t accomplished anything until we find ourselves on Sunday night in that Top 8."
By the numbers....Erik Christensen had two assists, and is making a case for a contract next season...The Anisimov, Shelley, Prust line had nine of the 27 shots.....The Prospal-Jokinen-Parenteau line will need to rebound Sunday. Jokinen didn;t produce a shot. The other two had one each... Aaron Voros took two of the Rangers' three penalties...
The long and winding road to a potential playoff spot has one more stop for the Rangers.
It is now down to this: Win in regulation, overtime or a shootout in Game 82, on Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia, and they are in the playoffs for the fifth straight seasonn.
Facing elimination with a regulation loss, the desperate Rangers hung on to nip the Flyers 4-3 tonight in an absolute nail-biter at Madison Square Garden and collect two essential points.
The win, which capped an improbable 7-1-1 dash, gave the Blueshirts 86 points (38-33-10) tying them with the Flyers. They could also slip in with a point and two Boston losses.
“The way we’ve been playing the last two weeks, we should be there,” said Lundqvist, who held the Flyers scoreless in the third with 10 of his 24 saves.
The deciding goal, his 42nd of the year, was scored by Marian Gaborik at 16:54 after the Flyers had battled back with two scores to erase a 3-1 lead in the second period. Gaborik, who also assisted on Brandon Dubinsky's goal earlier in the second, picked up a Chris Pronger turnover in center ice and sped down the left side toward goaltender Brian Boucher. He braked and fired.
The puck flicked off the stick blade defenseman Matt Carle and flew past Brian Boucher’s raised glove to restore the Rangers lead, just 2:13 after Lundqvist’s poke check on Mike Richards’ rush defelected off Michal Rozsival’s skate and in.
“The puck was bouncing and I tried to skate with it. It was almost near the end of the period so I just shot it,” Gaborik said of his career-tying score. “That’s what you have to do against these guys, forecheck, play in their end, and shoot to be successful. That’s what we have to do again on Sunday.”
Gaborik’s winner punctuated a wild second period. Brandon Dubinsky, who seemed to be everywhere, scored his 20th of the year by converting a nifty pass from Gaborik, who curled to the right post and slid a backhander to the charging Dubinsky at 6:58 to provide the 3-1 cushion. But Danny Briere’s wide-open one-timer from the left circle at 8:26 brought the Flyers within 3-2 and the goal awarded to Richards knotted the game, sucking the air out of the Garden.
“You want to know that if you go down a goal you can come back,” said Shelley, who scored his first goal since last March 28 in the second. “We have the firepower and the goaltending and that’s the kind of confidence you want.”
In the third, the Rangers almost went up by two on a Boucher blunder. He gave up the puck to Shelley and had to make a diving, spectacular stick save.
The Rangers later lost Dan Girardi for five minutes after he fought Scott Hartnell after the Flyers forward blasted Anisimov into the boards. But the Flyers went on a power play at 13:24 when Aaron Voros took an interference on a late hit. Lundqvist’s left pad at the right post stopped a rebound bid by James Van Riemsdyk and preserved the lead.
"We are getting key plays at key times," said coach John Tortorella. "Hank makes a couple of great saves in the third period. You try to ride the momentum as long as you can. We are just at a fortunate time of the year, we are riding it."
The Rangers played without Ryan Callahan after the midway point of the third. Skating with a brace on his left knee, Callahan crunched Pronger into the glass, came up wincing and could barely climb into the bench. After the game, he said he tweaked the knee.
It was a shaky start for the Rangers. Richards blocked an attempted up-the-middle clearing pass from Marc Staal, took a couple strides and beat Lundqvist just 40 seconds in.But Dan Carcillo was given a double-minor for high sticking Brandon Prust near the Flyers net and Chris Drury, at the left post, scored his 14th of the season, converting a spinaround pass from Erik Christensen in the right circle at 7:22. Then Shelley, who arrived here in a trade with the Sharks for a conditional draft pick on Feb. 12, scored his first goal of the season to give the Rangers the lead.
Artem Anisimov won the faceoff in the right circle and Prust nudged the puck toward Boucher and Shelley grabbed it and flipped it past his stick side. In the nine games that Shelley, Anisimov and Prust have been together, they have 16 points.