Rangers advance on Carl Hagelin’s OT winner (NYR 2 v PIT 1 OT)

Rangers mob Carl Hagelin in OT (USATI)

Rangers mob Carl Hagelin in OT (USATI)

It wasn’t Stephane Matteau‘s wraparound goal on Martin Brodeur in game 7 OT of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals. Nor was it Adam Graves‘ wraparound in game 5 OT of the 1997 Semifinals, but it sure was awesome nonetheless.

Carl Hagelin ended the 2015 opening round against Pittsburgh is similar dramatic fashion by coming out from behind the net and beating a prone goaltender. All three goals ended a series in OT, all three were scored on the opposition goalie’s left and they all made the final score 2-1.

[su_quote cite=”Blueshirts United” url=”http://www.blueshirtsunited.com/article/hagelins-overtime-magic-sends-rangers-round-two”]”I can’t describe the feeling, just an unbelievable feeling,” said Hagelin with the Broadway Hat perched on his head in the post-game dressing room. “I was laying on the ice, the crowd got louder and louder. I got goosebumps. I had Dom yelling in my ear. It’s one of the best feelings ever.” [/su_quote]

Mats Zuccarello (NBCSN)

Mats Zuccarello leaves game 5 injured (NBCSN)

New York now advances to the 2nd round and do so with some upcoming rest as the Capitals and Islanders play game 6 at the Nassau Coliseum today. If the Islanders win, game 7 will be Monday night. This allows Kevin Klein more time to get his arm to 100% and Mats Zuccarello, who was hit in the head by a slapshot more time to heal. Alain Vigneault informed the media that during the celebration he was informed “he’s alright”. A Rangers spokesperson said in the background that Zuccarello was still being evaluated.

WATCH ZUCCARELLO INJURY

This win is also marks the first time the Blueshirts have closed out a series in less than 6 games since 2008. That was when they beat the Devils in 5 and the NHL had to create the “Sean Avery Rule”.

FLASHBACK: 2008 RANGERS BEAT DEVILS IN 5 GAMES

NYR 2 v PIT 1 (GM 5 / NHL)

NYR 2 v PIT 1 (GM 5 / NHL)

The Rangers also won all their games in this series by a score of 2-1. Full credit needs to go to Marc-Andre Fleury who played one of the finer 5 games series by a losing goaltender. Reports out of Pittsburgh said that Fleury was beside himself in the locker room after the loss. Fleury should hold his head high however, because he was tremendous.

Another takeaway from this victory is how the Penguins, who were shorthanded with injuries played. Did they provide a game-plan to future opposition on how to neutralize the Rangers transition and speed game? Pittsburgh committed to closing gaps in the neutral and attack the puck carrier aggressively, sometimes with two men. This really slowed down the Rangers who were forced to win games by dumping and chasing.

A positive for the Rangers was how they can adapt and still beat you with an impressive cycle. Either by using their size as Hayes did in game 4’s OT or speed down low like Hags did last night.

[su_quote cite=”Blueshirts United” url=”http://www.blueshirtsunited.com/article/hagelins-overtime-magic-sends-rangers-round-two”]”We battled really hard. I thought it was a great series. It was a one-goal game every game, so the difference between wins and losses here was some big plays by some great players. Luckily for us, we had the extra effort there to pull off the wins.”[/su_quote]

What the Rangers also did was keep their composure in the face of a Penguins strategy to bump Henrik Lundqvist at every turn. Their only goal of this game occurred when Blake Comeau crashed the net, tumbled over Lundqvist and hit the puck in with his arm. Regardless, the Blueshirts heeded the words of their coach and played “whistle to whistle” and prevailed.

To a man, each and every Ranger played like a champion. They were forced to play a style different than what they were accustomed to and found ways to win. Teams that hope to go all the way have to be able to adapt to the way a game is flowing. Whether that be a strategy deployed by the opposition or the way referees call a game, great teams tackle it head on and prevail.

The Rangers advance to round 2 so they can further prove that point.

NOTABLE SERIES STATS

NYR PP 3/20 15% RANK 9TH

NYR PK 2/13 84.6% RANK 10TH

HENRIK LUNDQVIST: 4W – 1L, 1.54 GAA, .939 SV%

RICK NASH: 1G – 3A, DERICK BRASSARD: 3G – 1A, RYAN MCDONAGH: 1G – 3A

HIGHLIGHTS & INTERVIEWS