The Agony and The Agony

I have to admit, when the Devils scored their second goal of the game, I figured the Rangers were about finished.  When they scored the third, I was convinced of it.  Even after Prust made it 3-1 before the end of the first period I was convinced they were going to lose. I just didn’t think the Rangers had the ability to score four goals.

And then Ryan Callahan got them within one, right at the start of the second period and I forgot everything I had thought up to that point.

Then Martin Brodeur, one of the best stick-handling goalies ever, misplayed that puck to let the Rangers tie it and I became convinced the Rangers were going to win.  How could you not be?  Down 3-0 and to only only tie the game, but to tie it in that fashion?  Plus, the Rangers had absolutely dominated play from the moment the Devils score the third goal to when it was tied back up.  I was convinced a victory was coming.  But a funny thing happened, the Devils recovered.  They managed to start doing the things they had done all series to win games and sure enough, their hard work paid off.

There are bad losses that stand out in my mind.  My personal worst one was the final game of the 1995 ALDS.  I think of the Giants meltdown against the Vikings in the playoffs and Super Bowl XXXV.  I think of Reggie Miller hitting those three’s against the Knicks in the playoffs.  I think of Games 4+5 of the 2004 ALCS. (Yup, those two and not the two that happened later. By that point I was convinced the Red Sox were going to win.) This loss is right up there with them.  To go from the absolute horror of the first ten minutes to believing they were going to win and then having that yanked away sucked.

So now what?  Well, the Rangers are certainly in trouble, but we have seen them here before.  Not only this team, but their ancestor the 1994 team.  It was the 1994 team that had the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference, faced the Devils in the conference finals, dropped Game 5 at home and then had to win Game 6 on the road and Game 7 at home. Ironically, Game 5 of the 1994 series happened 18-years ago yesterday.  Game 6 happened 18-years ago tomorrow.  And yes, Game 7 happened 18-years ago Sunday.  Is there some sort of divine significance in all of that?  If I pick up the papers tomorrow and read that Ryan Callahan has guaranteed a win, I just might believe it.

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