As Darren Panger would say: “Holy jumpin.”
The Rangers’ season, one filled with dips and streaks, was on life support and their ageless veteran, Vinny Prospal, came to the rescue.
Down 3-0 to the Bruins midway through the second period, Prospal scored his seventh and eighth goals of a season that coach John Tortorella thought was over for a forward who underwent major knee surgery.
“Everybody’s collecting points and for us to come back after basically trailing the whole game and getting the win is humongous,” said Prospal, who played a season high 21:14
And he notched his first multi-goal game of the season at the most crucial time. “On the first goal, if Marc Staal doesn’t keep the puck in the zone, we never would score the goal. Wooly, (wolski) instead of looking for somebody else, just shoots the puck, it goes through Thomas and I’m able to collect the rebound. It puts us back into the game, now we’re just trailing by one.”
Prospal has 21 points in 27 games since returning on Feb. 3.
“If you are down three goals heading into the locker room, in this league, against their defense, it is insurmountable,” said Brandon Dubinsky, who scored the tying goal in the frenzied Garden atmosphere: “It’s a feeling you can’t describe. We fought so hard. We needed these points and that part of it makes it more emotional.”
“There’s no quit in this team,” said Michael Sauer, who scored the biggest goal of his young career, the game winner at 17:03 of the third, had a career high two points with an assist on Derek Stepan’s empty-netter and blocked five shots.
“He (Thomas) was challenging me, I had to shoot on the ice, I figured, who knows, a rebound, a lot of things can happen. I had one like that in the first period. I just threw it in the net area. Then I saw Boyler with his hands over his head screaming…We’ve got great leadership, especially at this time of the year when they’re keeping you up, keeping you focused, keeping you positive and then they go out there and get the job done. Vinny today and Dubi. Getting those two goals got us excited. He’s a great guy, he gets excited when he scores and he just lifts the spirits of everybody.”
Or as Tortorella said in his post-game presser. “This team has balls, they’ve had balls all season.”
The Rangers are now tied with Montreal with 91 points, in 7th with the tiebreaker, but four ahead of the ninth-place Carolina Hurricanes….They have 43 wins and are 10-3-1 in the last 14…Wojtek Wolski, who Tortorella admitted “we’ve been kicking around a bit recently” had two assists on Prospal’s goals…Ryan Callahan had six hits; Ruslan Fedotenko had five….Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves and has a 2.06 GAA in the last 14….”I think everyone is doing a good job paying the price (Dan Girardi had a handful of stitches across the bridge of his nose),” said Lundqvist, who admitted that he was exhausted after the first period. “We are going to need guys to sacrifice their bodies. When we do that we have a much better shot to win.”…
And this from Brian Boyle: “You have to live in the moment. The task (getting into the playoffs) at hand is hard enough. We came together and that is pretty special. I am going to remember this one for the rest of my life.”
Montreal has 91 with two to play.
Buffalo has 90 with three to play.
Carolina (87) is four back of the Rangers with three to play.