It's the third period and the New York Rangers are up 1-0 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The referees penalize Ryan Callahan, arguably the New York Rangers best penalty-killer, for holding after Evgeni Malkin blatantly dives.
Seconds into the power play, Dan Girardi goes down bleeding and into the locker room. The New York Rangers are now down two penalty-killers and the Penguins score.
Emotions flare on the New York bench while the Penguins are celebrating. The faceoff is taken. Matt Cooke goes in all alone arguably offside and snipes a shot on Henrik Lundqvist, the best player in the game so far.
Lundqvist smashes his stick on the crossbar and throws it in anger. He gets penalized two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Penguins are about to win. The fans are cheering, snickering at the collapse of the Rangers.
Time is dwindling. Brandon Dubinsky of the Rangers gets hold of the puck. Determined to make a play, he drives it into the offensive zone while Marc Staal pinches. Making a beautiful behind-the-back pass, Dubinsky dishes it to Staal, a defenseman, who buries a goal shorthanded against Marc-Andre Fleury. The crowd quiets. Sam Rosen and the Rangers bench explode.
The Rangers now have to kill off the remainder of the penalty and do so in great fashion. Dan Girardi comes back on the ice with a stitched up face to play the remainder of the game. It's time for some old fashioned four-on-four overtime.
The Penguins get early possession of the puck and seem to be surging and livid from the equalizer scored just minutes ago. The puck goes back and forth for a bit until the Penguins maintain pressure in the offensive zone.
Just like that, the game changes. Zbynek Michalek collapses and the swift Ryan Callahan retrieves the puck. He quickly dishes it to Dubinsky who already assisted on the shorthanded game-tying goal.
Both enter the zone two-on-one against Paul Martin. Dubinsky toe drags the puck past Penguins defenseman Paul Martin. It's now two-on-none. "Will he shoot or pass?" thinks Marc-Andre Fleury. The goalie stands still. Dubinsky passes it to Ryan Callahan who chips it into the net.
"SCORE! Ryan Callahan wins it in overtime," exclaims Rangers' commentator Sam Rosen. The game is over. The whole bench pours onto the ice. The Rangers went against all odds and came back.
The referees showed blatant favoritism to the Pittsburgh Penguins. It's not even arguable. The Rangers were on the penalty kill for one-sixth (10 minutes) of playing time while having no power player time.
With this win, they Rangers proved to the rest of the NHL and most importantly to their die hard fans that they are a legitimate force in today's league. Hard work, heart, homegrown players and a working system were the keys to the Rangers victory and it doesn't look like any one of those are about to die out.
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