When the Pittsburgh Penguins put the New York Rangers down 3-1 the last time the two squads were at Madison Square Garden, fans were booing and the home team looked flat. The scene was flipped on Game 6 as fans applauded a bitter, impressive Rangers win that forced this series to a full seven games.
The Rangers beat the Penguins 3-1 to win Game 6 on Sunday in a game that was wild and quite violent.
As it turns out, Derek Stepan‘s odd hiccup with an official in the contest’s first shift seemed to be harbinger of weird things to come.
It’s difficult to deny that the testy stuff might be playing into the Rangers’ hands a bit. They gained a power play on that exchange and saw some lapses in judgment from both sides, yet it was telling that James Neal was the player who was tossed from the game in the late going.
Meanwhile, Henrik Lundqvist remains absolutely brilliant in elimination games, especially at Madison Square Garden. He’s now won seven of those must-win contests at MSG, as he turned aside 36 out of the 37 shots he faced. (In fact, the goal that beat him actually came off of Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein.)
Many counted the Rangers out when they were down 3-1 in this series, yet now a ticket to the Eastern Conference finals is up for grabs. As bad as things look for the Penguins, they’ve never lost a series against the Rangers in their franchise playoff history.
Plenty will be on the line in Game 7 on Tuesday. Will the Rangers ride this momentum or will the Penguins dig deep and make another trip to the conference finals?
- James O'Brien, NBC Sports