I've worn blue in the Red Zone before, so that's no big deal. But this... this was different. I lost a bet, and was forced to wear a Washington Capitals jersey as penance, while watching Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series against the New York Rangers, at a Capitals bar.
Things were ugly, with the Capitals coming back from a 1-0 deficit to take a 2-1 lead in the third period. Capitals fans going crazy around me in every direction. Little did they know, I had a secret waiting for them. If only, somehow, the Rangers could find a way to come back and win the game.
Luckily for me, the Rangers pulled out another win for the ages, tying the game with just 6.6 seconds left in regulation as Brad Richards forced a rebound past Braden Holtby, and then winning it 1:35 into overtime on a Marc Staal drive. This overtime match-up between the clubs had a much quicker resolution than their epic triple overtime game last week.
With the puck in the net, and the cheers of Capitals fans turning into groans, I revealed my true colors, Broadway Blue, ripping off the Capitals jersey to reveal the Rangers shirt underneath. Stunned disbelief from the surrounding fans. Misery from the friend who forced me to wear the jersey to begin with. Priceless.
This victory was especially sweet, for me, but more importantly the Rangers now hold a crucial 3-2 series edge. They can thank a late penalty from Joel Ward, who got called for high sticking with about 20 seconds left in the third period.
The power play turned into a two man 6-4 advantage on the ice as the Rangers also pulled goaltender Henrik Lundqvist in order to make a final desperation effort at tying the game. It worked, of course, and Ward's double minor carried through into overtime as well, enabling the Rangers to seal the deal early and get a good night's rest.
Game 6 will be on Wednesday night in D.C., and I'll be there in person, for a change, having another go at it in the Red Zone. If the action in this series has been any indication of what's to come, it will be another close and hard fought contest, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the series go a full seven games.
Sources: NBC Sports TV Coverage, Rangers.NHL.com, Blueshirts United
More on the Broadway Blueshirts from this contributor:
- Sports & Recreation
- Ice Hockey
- Washington Capitals
- New York Rangers