Rangers Rollercoaster Knows No End

Thrilling comeback leaves them on playoff doorstep

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Never say die has become the Rangers motto.

    If you had a ticket to Monday night's Rangers-Bruins game at the Garden, you can't say you didn't get your money's worth.

    After all, it's not every night that you get to see the absolute best and absolute worst of a team within the same 60 minutes. That's exactly what the Rangers were, and by saving the best for last they kept themselves in total control of their playoff future.

    It did not look that way for the first half of the night. The Bruins dominated the first 30 minutes, peppering Henrik Lundqvist with shots and beating him three times to take what appeared to be an insurmountable advantage.

    There were boos from the crowd, mostly deserved as the Rangers were sleepwalking their way toward a defeat that would make the playoffs seem like an impossibility. And then, out of nowhere, everything changed.

    Vinny Prospal scored a minute after Boston's third goal and then added another one just before the end of the third period to take the Garden back from the brink.

    Lundqvist, who didn't have much of a chance on two of the Boston goals, started playing like a brick wall and the Rangers started to look like the hard-working, relentless group they've been all season.

    And then came the final four minutes. Brandon Dubinsky, off a gorgeous pass from Ryan Callahan, tied the game and then Michael Sauer flipped one past Tim Thomas to set off the kind of joyful noise that's made its return at games featuring each of MSG's residents this year.

    It was an impressive, astounding turnaround that ended with Derek Stepan scoring an empty net goal. John Tortorella was among those gobsmacked by what took place on the ice.

    "I’m not a big lovefest guy here, but I like, I just like how we stuck to it...," he said. "It was really good stuff."

    Indeed it was and it was a reminder of why this Rangers team has won over the hearts of fans despite their struggles this season. They don't have a lot of talent, but their heart can't be missed and their fight has carried them through tough patches when other Ranger teams folded up.

    Right now the Rangers are in seventh pending the result of Tuesday's Sabres game and they are four points up on the ninth-place Hurricanes. Nothing's been clinched yet, but there's certainly a different feeling at this hour than there was before seeing the Rangers come alive on Monday night.

    The talent shortage is why they are fighting so desperately to make the playoffs. All those other traits are going to make life awfully tough on the opposition once they get there.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.