"Fetisov for the Devils plays it cross-ice into the far corner...Matteau swoops in to intercept, Matteau behind the net, swings it in front he scores! Matteau! Matteau! Matteau! Stephane Matteau! And the Rangers have one more hill to climb baby and it's mount Vancouver! The Rangers are headed to the finals!"- Howie Rose, WFAN
What is certainly one of the most famous goal calls in NHL history, and definitely the most famous one for the Rangers, Howie Rose's announcing of Stephane Matteau's double overtime clincher for the New York Rangers over the New Jersey Devils in 1994 is something that Ranger fans will never forget.
After falling behind three games to two, Mark Messier made a guarentee before game six saying that they would tie the series to bring it back home, and he delivered. The next game though was even more historic.
The Rangers had taken a 1-0 lead in the second period on the Devils when defenseman Brian Leetch scored on a crafty spin-o-rama to beat goaltender Martin Brodeur down low. Then the third period came and Madison Square Garden was rocking.
Finally, after all the years of heartbreak, the Rangers would be back in the Stanley Cup Finals. But just as they all thought it was over, tragedy struck.
With just 7.7 seconds remaining, Devils' forward Valeri Zelepukin tied the game and forced overtime, sending Ranger fans back into there seats, with the chant of "1940" just about to echo in the back of their heads.
One overtime passed and nothing on the offensive front. Mike Richter stood on his head as did Brodeur as the showdown became epic.
Who would make the first mistake?
Who would be the hero?
Then in the second overtime, Stephane Matteau would solidify himself as one of the most clutch Rangers' in franchise history.
After already scoring the game winning goal in game two of the series, coming in double overtime as well, Matteau, who was not a flashy scorer but merely a bottom-six grinder beat defenseman Scott Niedermayer to the puck after a sloppy Slava Fetisov pass.
What happened next was history; Matteau swung around the net and slung the puck towards Brodeur's leg, which then ran along the shaft of his stick and somehow found a way across the goal line. The game was over, and the Rangers were going to the Stanley Cup Finals.
As we now look back on that historic day that occurred fifteen years ago, we realize just how important it was. The team had gone fifty-four years without a Stanley Cup and although his goal didn't win it, without it perhaps the Rangers would still be waiting for that cup victory.
I will always remember what WFAN talkshow host Steve Sommers once said in an interview, and sometimes when I'm in the same situation, I do the same thing, "Whenever I'm having a bad day and things just aren't going right, I just think to myself Matteau! Matteau! Matteau! and I feel better right away."
Greg Caggiano is a writer here on Bleacher Report covering the New York Rangers. He has a New York area sports teams blog called Metro-Sports, where you can read great articles about all professional sports teams that play in the area by a dedicated team of young writers.
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