It was quite a calendar year for the New York Rangers. As 2014 comes to a close, and 2015 begins, let’s take a look back at some of the noteworthy day’s from 2014 in “Rangerstown.”
January 4th, 2014: The Rangers earned their first win of 2014 by a 7-1 final in Toronto against the Maple Leafs. Aside from the fact that this was the first win of the 2014 for the Rangers, there isn’t a whole lot of significance to it. The Rangers scored a lot, Dominic Moore lit the lamp twice, and rookie goaltender (at the time) Cam Talbot made 25 saves to earn the victory.
January 8th, 2014: Some may argue this 3-2 win for the Rangers over the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks was too early to be a true turning point of the 2014 season, but whichever way you slice it, it certainly wasn’t an insignificant game. Up to that point, the Rangers had been an inconsistent team with no real sustained success. It was fairly unknown just how good the team actually was. But in this game at the United Center in Chicago, the Rangers found a way to earn the win with a third period goal from Carl Hagelin, and late heroics from Henrik Lundqvist between the pipes. The Blueshirts never looked back, as they went on to win 11 of their next 15 games en-route to the post-season.
January 26th, 2014: Part one of the Stadium series took place in New York’s Yankee Stadium with a Rangers-Devils contest. After a wild first period where the Devils outscored the Rangers 3-2, the Blueshirts went on to win by a 7-3 final.
January 29th, 2014: The second installment of the 2014 Stadium series featured the Rangers and the Islanders. The Rangers capped off their perfect outdoor record with a 2-1 victory over their cross-town rivals.
Februrary 28th, 2014: The Rangers and Dan Girardi came to terms on a new contract for the veteran defenseman; six years, worth $33 million.
March 5th, 2014: Who could forget the day the Rangers and Lightning swapped Captain’s? This was a monumental day for both clubs, for this was the day – the 2014 trade deadline – that Ryan Callahan went to Tampa, and St. Louis to New York. Most of us know how that worked out, particularly for the Rangers and St. Louis. But for those who don’t, fear not, we’ll get there…
April 7th, 2014: It certainly wasn’t climactic, but when the Devils fell 1-0 to the Calgary Flames, the idle Rangers officially clinched a playoff berth with just three regular season games to play.
April 1st, 2014: Finally, Martin St. Louis broke through in a Ranger sweater. After going almost a month without a goal after being traded to New York, St. Louis netted his first goal – shorthanded – as a New York Ranger in their 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Also, notice John Tortorella’s response to the goal? Classic.
April 30th, 2014: This was the night the Rangers outlasted the Flyers in game seven of the first round of the playoffs. It had been a hard-fought series that came down to the very end. Ultimately, it was the Broadway Blueshirts who downed the Broadstreet Bullies by a 2-1 final in the all-encompassing seventh game. And seriously through, who would’ve picked Daniel Carcillo to score one of the Rangers’ two goals in that contest? But better than that, make sure to relive the primary assist from Zuccarello. It’s tough to top a cross-ice feed like that.
May 11th, 2014: On this day, Sunday, it was game six of the second round of the playoffs between the Rangers and the Penguins. It also happened to be Mother’s Day, and for Martin St. Louis, it was a particularly emotional one. Just three days prior, his mother had suddenly passed away after suffering a heart attack. After notching a big win on Friday in game five, the Rangers again entered game six with their backs to the wall, still trailing the series 3-2. In what felt too magical to be reality, it was the grieving St. Louis who opened the scoring just 3:34 into the game to put the Rangers ahead 1-0. The Rangers never looked back, as they went on to win that game 3-1, to force a game seven back in Pittsburgh. Seeing St. Louis score in that fashion though; not even Hollywood could have scripted it better.
May 13th, 2014: Game seven between the Rangers and the Penguins was a classic. After the Rangers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, it was only a matter of time before the Penguins struck back. They did just that at 4:15 of the second period when Jussi Jokinen tied the game for Pittsburgh, but less than four minutes later, Brad Richards netted the winner for the Blueshirts. While Richards’ goal went on to stand as the game winner, it wasn’t without the stand-out play of Henrik Lundqvist in the waning minutes of the game. In case you’ve forgotten, go ahead and re-watch this flurry of saves from Lundqvist during the third period to keep the lead in tact.
May 17th, 2014: Remember the days leading up to the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals when everyone and their mother said that the Rangers wouldn’t be able to win in their “House of Horrors” at the Bell Centre in Montreal, and then they came out and trounced the Habs 7-2 in game one? Yeah, so do I. This was that day.
May 25th, 2014: With New York leading the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals series 2-1, the Rangers and the Canadiens headed to overtime in game four at Madison Square Garden. Once again, it was the red-hot St. Louis who was the hero for the Blueshirts, as he ripped a perfectly placed wrist shot over Dustin Tokarski and into the net to put the Rangers within one win of the Stanley Cup Final.
May 29th, 2014: Dominic Moore scored a second period goal, and Henrik Lundqvist made a jaw-dropping, acrobatic save with his blocker. Put those two plays into one game, and you have the Rangers’ game six, Eastern Conference Championship clinching victory over the Montreal Canadiens. With the win, the Rangers advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1994.
June 9th, 2014: After two gut-wrenching losses for the Rangers in game’s one and two of the Stanley Cup Final in Los Angeles, and a 3-0 shutout loss in game three at home, the Blueshirts finally solved the Kings with a 2-1 win in game four. It was the first time the Rangers had won a game during the Stanley Cup Final in two decades.
June 13th, 2014: The clock struck 12, the magic ran out, and the Rangers’ carriage finally turned to into a pumpkin. The playoff run that at times seemed to be an unstoppable charge destined for glory, came to a sudden end when Alec Martinez beat Henrik Lundqvist in double-overtime of game five back in Los Angeles. After the Rangers entered the third period with a 2-1 lead, the Kings clawed their way back, and eventually proved too much for the Rangers. The run for the Cup ended three games too short for the Rangers, but it was a run that would not soon be forgotten.
July 1st, 2014: Opening day of the Free Agent Frenzy. Anton Stralman, Brian Boyle, Benoit Pouliot: OUT. Dominic Moore, Dan Boyle, Mike Kostka, Chris Mueller, Tanner Glass: IN/BACK.
July 22nd, 2014: The Rangers and Mats Zuccarello avoided salary arbitration by reaching a one-year deal worth $3.5 million.
July 27th, 2014: Just one day ahead of his scheduled arbitration hearing, Derrick Brassard and the Rangers reached a longer term, five-year deal worth $25 million, solidifying the 27-year-old’s future in New York.
September 18th, 2014: Opening day of training camp!
October 6th, 2014: Ryan McDonagh named 27th Captain in Franchise history.
October 9th, 2014: At long last, the 2014-15 regular season got underway in St. Louis with a date with the Blues. It was a successful opener for the Rangers, as they earned two points with a 3-2 victory. Rick Nash also gave a little insight as to what was to come in the days ahead, as he scored twice in the win.
He has scored 21 times since…
October 27th, 2014: The Rangers headed into the third period of this evening’s game against the Wild trailing 3-0. Something happened during the second intermission, though, as the Rangers proceeded to score five goals in the third period to take down Minnesota in a wild contest at Madison Square Garden. Rookie Anthony Duclair, who scored the game tying goal late in the third period, chose a pretty dramatic moment to score his first NHL goal. This game has arguably been the top moment of the 2014-15 season for the Rangers up to this point.
November 29th, 2014: The mumps officially arrived in New York, as Tanner Glass was diagnosed with the virus.
December 8th, 2014: With all that’s happened on the ice for the Rangers over the past calendar year, perhaps the most heart-warming evening took place just a few weeks ago during the Garden of Dreams night. It was one of those night’s when the action on the ice took a back seat to all the good that was done by the Garden of Dreams Foundation for children who have overcome obstacles in their lives. From Chris Falzone, to Lucia Funaro, or Elijah Blades, this game against the Penguins was a special one. And Kevin Klein’s overtime winner, after losing part of his ear, was just the icing on an already sweet cake.
December 27th, 2014: With their 3-1 win over the Devils, the Rangers extended the then winning streak up to eight games. It was the first time the Rangers had a winning streak that long since 1975.
With Another Year in the Books, We Move Ahead
And now, just like that, here we are set to take the leap from 2014, into 2015. For the Rangers and their fans, if 2015 is anything like the previous year, there will be plenty to smile about.
Did we miss an important date? It happens. Let us know in the comments below about any other noteworthy moments from 2014 for the Rangers.
Cheers Rangerstown, and all hockey fans alike. Happy New Year.
Jake Gittler is now in his second season as a contributing member of The Hockey Writers. After spending the 2014-15 season working in Communications for Adirondack Flames of the AHL and covering the New York Rangers here for The Hockey Writers, Jake’s coverage has been switched over to the Colorado Avalanche for the 2015-16 season. Jake can be reached via email at Jakegittler@gmail.com, or on Twitter @Jgittler_hockey.