May 13, 2015; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers center Derek Stepan (21) celebrates with teammates after scoring the game winning goal on Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby (70) during overtime in game seven of the second round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers defeated the Capitals 2 – 1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
3) Previous experience of bouncing back in a playoff series
We all know that if there was one team you could pick, who you think would be able to bounce back from being down in a series, it would be the Rangers.
The Rangers are a team that can bounce back from being down in a series, whether it’s 2-1 down, or 3-1 down, they’ve done it. Last year, the Rangers came back from a 3-1 deficit against the Penguins in the second round of the playoffs to win the series 4-3. The team rallied around Martin St. Louis when his mother unexpectedly passed away, and the Rangers really found their feet in that series, and showed that you need to win 4 to win a series, and it isn’t over until it’s over.
In Round Two of the playoffs this year, the Rangers went 3-1 down in the series against the Washington Capitals. It all looked like it would be over. The Rangers were just 1:41 away from elimination until Chris Kreider saved the day in Game Five and forced the game to go to overtime. Ryan McDonagh then scored the winning goal off a great drop pass from Derek Stepan.
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In Game Six, the Rangers looked like they would comfortably get the win as they had a comfortable 4-1 lead with only 12 minutes remaining. They looked to be able to force a Game Seven without the need for the fans to have a panic attack, but it isn’t that easy right? Oh no. The Caps soon made it a 4-3 game, and the Rangers had to fend off attacks from the Caps for just under 9 minutes, until the blessed final whistle blew, and the Rangers forced a Game Seven.
In Game Seven, or as I like to call it, “The night where I woke everybody in my house up,” the Caps took a 1-0 lead halfway through the first period thanks to a goal by Alex Ovechkin. It looked like the confirmation that Ovechkin made about going through and facing the Montreal Canadiens or the Tampa Bay Lightning would come true.
But alas, Kevin Hayes a.k.a the “DUDE FROM BOSTON” was there to tie the game up and make it 1-1, off a great feed from J.T. Miller. The game then went scoreless throughout the third period, and kept fans all around the world on the edge of their seat. But not for long… As Derek Stepan ended the game 11:24 into the first overtime period, and sent the Rangers through to the Eastern Conference Final. The goal came off a rebound from a Dan Girardi shot from the point, and Stepan was there to slot in the rebound, and I’m sure that if you listened carefully when Stepan scored that goal, you could hear me cheer all the way from England.
Next: Reason Number Four