I knew it was going to happen.
Sitting at my computer, listening to the Rangers-Red Wings game, I just knew it was coming. I felt it in my bones. With six minutes left in the game, and the Rangers staked to a 4-3 lead, I almost said out loud that I would be happy with an overtime point.
And I was right.
After Aaron Voros put up the Rangers 4-3 early in the third period after scoring his fourth and fifth goals, Detroit took the game back into their hands and tied it up on Jiri Hurdler's first goal of the season. They would score shortly after, only 23 seconds into OT, on Marian Hossa's' first of the season.
It was a tough loss for the Rangers, whose play in the third period definitely warrants a word more powerful than dominating. Osgood faced constant pressure, often turning away barrages of shots behind a shaky defense.
Yet despite their gritty play, I couldn't help but worry that the Wings would come back and serve up victory. And they did.
I was worried because the Wings are just too good. They have top-notch offense, brilliant defense, above average goaltending, a tireless and gritty style of play—and most importantly, a never-die attitude that is nearly palpable. I could hear the confidence oozing from the Detroit crowd through my computer.
I can only imagine the what the Wings' players were feeling. Probably very little—they've conquered greater adversity before.
Attitude is a large part of the Rangers' inability to pull out a win. I think that as a team, the Blueshirts are actually a confident team. But they lack the experience and winning attitude that comes with a Detroit sweater.
Against the best teams, late in a game, the Rangers may be thinking, we can hold on for a win. But if the Wings were up in a game, the general sentiments floating around the bench would be, let's put these guys away and add two more. It's just a difference of philosophy, an alternate mind-set that comes with getting deep into the playoffs frequently.
It isn't the Rangers' fault that they don't quite yet have this way of thinking. They haven't gotten deep enough into the playoffs to be rewarded with this type of mental toughness.
But as a fan, the lack of that "it-ness" can be frustrating. Very few teams can boast nerves as cold as the icy floor below their skates. But with that attitude, championships are won. And until the Rangers figure out a way to smuggle some of it out of Detroit, they will be at a disadvantage, just a few minutes short of potentially being the Stanley Cup team that they can be.
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