Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 27, 1994

I have had the luck of attending some sporting events where something of national importance or historic to the team and/or the sport happened.  Three of those events are celebrating a milestone anniversary this year.  I'm going to post them ion the order that they happened during the year.

The first was on May 27, 1994, 20 years ago.  I was at Madison Square Garden in New York City to watch Game 7 of the National Hockey League's Eastern Conference playoff game between the visiting New Jersey Devils and the home team, the New York Rangers.

The Rangers had won Game 6 to force the deciding game.  The Rangers had not won a Stanley Cup Championship since 1940, a drought of over 50 years.  I had been a Ranger fan since 1972 so it was a long drought for me too.

It was a tight well played defensive game.  Finally, in the second period, Brian Leetch scored on a beautiful spin-o-rama move.  The game remained the same score to the end of the period.  The fans were optimistic but this was the Rangers we were talking about, they always seemed to find a way to lose.

The third period was a great period but game time was not moving fast enough for Ranger fans.  With just 7.7 seconds left in the game, Valeri Zelepukin scored for the Devils to tie the game at 1 each and sent it to overtime. 

The intermission was very quiet in the Garden.  Everyone thought the Rangers were going to lose again.  But in the first overtime, the Rangers had some chances to win, but didn't.  After the first overtime period ended, the mood was brighter as fans thought someone has to win, it might as well be us.

At 4:24 of the second overtime period, Stephane Matteau scored on a wrap around shot and the Garden went wild.  Possibly the greatest game in New York Rangers history and I was there. 

The Rangers went on to win the Stanley Cup in 7 games against the Vancouver Canucks.

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