What an epic, thrilling, clutch comeback win by the Eastern Conference final bound New York Rangers. Led by all of their star players, they found a way to completely take charge of the game in the third period, and Igor Shesterkin shut the door completely.

Game 6’s win, specifically the third period, cemented Chris Kreider‘s Rangers legacy. You want 1994 comparisons? A Game 6, 3rd period natural hat trick to win the the hockey game. To put it so cliche, this is the stuff of legends. Cup or not, Chris Kreider’s number 20 will be hanging from the rafters at MSG one day.

I can’t say enough on Chris Kreider in this one. I am 30, so the last time the Rangers were this serious of a Cup favorite was when I was a toddler, so I did not see Mark Messier’s guarantee. This had to sort of feel like it though in a sense. Kreider has always been an incredible playoff performer his entire Rangers career, his now 47 playoff goals continue to add on to his franchise leading totals.

This was probably the first time though that any one of us saw him truly take over a game. Per Vince Mercogliano, Trocheck said Kreider stood up and told the group “I’m going to go get one” in the 2nd intermission. To say that, and then end up getting a 3rd period hat trick? On the road? In an elimination game? Legend. Just an absolute legend.

Obviously Kreider was not alone in the attempt to take back the lead, as Mika Zibanejad was great, Artemi Panarin was great, and Igor Shesterkin was nails as usual–especially in the dying minutes after the Rangers took the lead. Barclay Goodrow doesn’t get the empty net dagger if Igor doesn’t make a 10 bell save on Andrei Svechnikov off a 50/50 puck in the slot. They are 8 wins away from immortality.

The Rangers power play had a bit of a cold spell for games 3 through 5, but never was there a better time for them to strike when Kreider got the tying goal. All year, the Rangers have used their special teams to ignite their confidence and spark their goal scorers. Short-handed, power play, it doesn’t seem to matter, the Rangers special teams just always seem to edge out a victory one way or another.

Despite what a lot of the stats crowd tries to push as a narrative, having elite special teams is a good thing to have in your back pocket. Cup winning teams are able to utilize all aspects of their rosters in all situations. Besides the Oilers, I don’t think there is a more dangerous team on the man advantage than the Rangers. All 5 guys can score, all 5 guys are capable of making plays in the zone, and all 5 guys are able to pressure penalty killers into mistakes and breakdowns.

The penalty kill is no slouch either, and it helps to have Igor backstopping anything coming his way.

Speaking of Igor, my goodness what a night for the goaltender. He was absolute nails in the 3rd period. Though the Rangers dominated the zone time and scored 4 goals, Igor made the big saves he needed to make while the Rangers stormed back. All it took was 20 minutes for the Rangers to flip the script, and Igor was 50% of that battle.

The hope now is the Bruins/Panthers series goes 7 so that guys like Igor, Adam Fox, Filip Chytil, and anyone else dealing with bumps and bruises can get some rest. I think we all need some rest after that series as well.


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