NHL Playoffs 2012: Rangers Win and Force Game 7, Lundqvist and Neil Sound off

Tom Urtz Jr.Contributor IApril 23, 2012

The New York Rangers took care of business #therightway in Game 6 and have forced a Game 7 to take place Thursday at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers played a great game and really elevated their battle level in a hostile environment.

The Ottawa Senators benefited from the home Scotiabank Place crowd and the energy it generated early on when they scored a first-period power play goal. The Senators got bodies in front of Henrik Lundqvist, and a Sergei Gonchar slapper was deflected in by Chris Neil.

Neil was a factor both during the game and after, both physically and verbally. He dropped the gloves with Brandon Prust, took a big hit from Michael Del Zotto and was involved in a controversial third-period goal.

It was clear to the viewers at home that Neil had kicked the puck into the goal but the NHL War Room offered this explanation.

From the NHL's Situation Room blog:

At 19:21 of the third period in the Rangers/Senators game, video review was used to determine if Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil kicked the puck into the New York net. Video review was inconclusive in determining if Chris Neil's left skate propelled the puck into the net. Call on the ice stands, good goal Ottawa.

The goal ultimately could have mattered if the Rangers didn't have a 3-1 lead, and then there would have been utter chaos. Fortunately, Chris Kreider scored his first NHL goal in arguably the biggest game of his young NHL career. Brad Richards and Derek Stepan also added goals of their own in a crucial second period.

Some real controversy occurred after the game when this tweet was sent out by Chris Johnston, who was in the Senators locker room talking with Chris Neil.

Chris Neil on Michael Del Zotto: "I'm sure I'll catch him with his head down one of these times."

— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) April 24, 2012

Fans are aware that Neil was not suspended or fined for his hit that concussed Brian Boyle. Now Neil openly admits he will look to headhunt Del Zotto. Many fans have retweeted this, and odds are Brendan Shanahan will at least fine Neil for his remarks.

Lundqvist also may be fined for his remarks after commenting on the Senators' controversial third period goal.

From the Puck Daddy Blog:

It's an absolute joke. Oh my god, it scares me. It's such an obvious play, goalie interference, and a kick. And they still call it a goal? That scares me, that someone can call that. It still upsets me," he said after the game.

Someone wants them back in the game obviously. There's no other explanation. 

Lundqvist has been pushed around all series, and he is obviously frustrated that he was pushed around and a controversial goal was allowed. 

With the Rangers on their way home, they will look to close out their series on home ice in the all-important Game 7. Many Rangers fans were deflated and hopeless after a crushing Game 5 loss, but the team has now given the fans a reason to continue believing.