There’s no arguing that it was a battle of passion in Game 5 of the Rangers / Flyers series that ultimately gave New York the upper hand with a 4-2 win.
It was a stressful three minutes for the fans at Madison Square Garden with Philadelphia goalie Steve Mason coming out of net for 6 v 5 play that tightened the score to 3-2 in the final period. But with the Rangers being the only team to put together a full three periods of hard-working hockey, the Flyers third period attempt wasn’t enough to seal the deal.
But it was Dominic Moore and Martin St. Louis who have seemed to step up in the face of diversity during this playoff series, absolutely earning themselves a spot in the three stars of game 5.
Perhaps it was the effort of Moore that truly inspired the offense of the Rangers to meet his enthusiasm on the ice. It was just last year that Moore hung up his skates during the playoffs to be with his wife who was tragically dying of liver cancer at just 32-years–old.
But wouldn’t she be proud watching his play on Sunday afternoon, stepping up as a leader with consistent pressure that allowed him to capitalize on Flyer Hal Gill’s defensive faux pas for the game winning goal— with a heart-wrenching celebration as he jumped into the arms of teammate Brian Boyle.
Later within the last minutes of the game, it was Moore again who put the pressure on the defense of the Flyers to ease to the anxiety of viewers who make themselves known to “bleed blue,” with a pass to Boyle for the empty-netter.
Moore’s role-playing paired with his work-ethic was unrivaled today on the fourth line as he continued to push forward with a winning determination that left his heart on the ice.
Right alongside Moore was St. Louis, who has been receiving a lot of flack from fans in his performance that fell short of satisfactory early in his start with the Rangers. The playoffs have proven to be a whole new arena for the former Tampa Bay captain.
With a hard-earned assist on Staal’s goal that put the Rangers up 1-0, it was hard to believe the score of the game was as close as it was with the opportunities presented by St. Louis. Highlighting smooth hands with his veteran skills that gave him four solid scoring opportunities, St. Louis kept up the excitement in the Garden with his consistency in driving to the net— a performance that landed him as the number one star of the game.
St. Louis is simply flying here in the third period..last two shifts with gorgeous moves to the net, just missing..3-1 #NYR
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) April 27, 2014
In addition, let’s not forget about the man standing up on the bench as the Rangers certainly benefited today from the coaching of Alain Vingeault. He has adopted a much more forgiving style than former head coach John Tortorella with his willingness to keep Carl Hagelin on the ice despite taking two bad penalties early in the game is a huge difference. While Tortorella would likely have benched him, keeping Hagelin on the ice was an absolute benefit to the driven offense of New York as he second assisted on goal number two by Brad Richards.
This playoff game play of unfavorable players during the regular season shows it’s never too late to turn your game around or prove yourself on the ice and what better place to do so than in what might be the most electrifying of game arenas in the league: Madison Square Garden.
Why? Because it’s the cup.