The Top 10 Rangers Moments from the 2014-15 Season, Part 1
Are you missing hockey? Do you wake up every day craving to see guys glide across ice, throw bone-shattering checks and fire the puck into the back of the net? Do you dream about the Rangers or about watching games? Well look no further!
The 2014-15 season was pretty amazing for the Rangers. It was full of so many great games, great moments, young stars bursting onto the scene in the NHL, and lots of ups and downs. It made for one of the most memorable seasons in the past 20 years (except for the run to the Cup Final of course!).
With all of the amazing moments, games and memories from this past season, it was hard to narrow them down to just a top 10. The list could easily be 20-30 different games or plays from the season. But this is what I think the 10 best moments from this past season were.
Today’s post has 10 through 6, while the top 5 will be posted tomorrow.
Bonus) Rangers Clinch Presidents’ Trophy with 4-2 Win over the Devils
Everybody knew it was coming, every body knew that it would happen. But when the Rangers clinched the Presidents’ Trophy with a win over the Devils at the last game in New Jersey for the season, it was still a pretty special moment. New York was in the midst of their best ever regular season in franchise history, finishing with a team best 53-22-7 record. They broke the record for points earned in a season and wins in a season, both dating back to the last time that the team won the trophy back during the 1993-94 season. The win was the team’s fifth straight, and it also broke the record for road wins and road points in the season, also set. And to make it even better, Cam Talbot, the man who took the reigns when Lundqvist was injured and helped guide the team to the top of the standings, was in net for the win.
10) Kevin Klein Overtime Winner against the Penguins on December 8th
The Rangers had started out the season slow again. Just 11-10-4 heading into a rivalry game against the Penguins, a big turning point to try and gain ground in the Metropolitan Division. The Penguins scored first, but the Rangers rallied for three straight goals from JT Miller, Rick Nash and Kevin Hayes.
But the Rangers early struggles continued, as they dropped a lead for the ninth time in the first 26 games of the season. The game headed into overtime tied at three at Madison Square Garden.
Kevin Klein, who had lost part of his ear earlier in the game, and later had it stitched back on, provided the late game heroics, blasting a slap shot from the point past Marc-Andre Fleury, sending the Garden into a frenzy. But it was more than just a regular season win.
The win over the Penguins on December 8th was the start of an eight game win streak, stretching all the way to December 27th. It was the longest streak for the Rangers since 1975, and it was the turning point of the Rangers season. They won 13 of the next 14 games, and would finish out the season with a 42-12-3 record from that win over the Penguins.
9) Mackenzie Skapski records first NHL shutout
When Henrik Lundqvist was hit in the throat with a puck during a game against the Carolina Hurricanes, you could hear a pin drop in the Garden. Somehow, he managed to stay in the game and help the team earn the win. He would also play in the next game, a win over the Panthers. So needless to say it came as a complete surprise when it was announced that he would miss about two months with a vascular injury.
The Rangers needed a new backup goalie, and they re-called 20 year old Mackenzie Skapski, a relatively unknown prospect in the team’s farm system. Baby faced and with red-hair, he looked almost out of place on the bench for the first few games. But he showed that he was capable of being the backup, beating the lowly Buffalo Sabres in his first career start.
With Talbot needing some rest as the Rangers headed back into Buffalo, Alain Vigneault called upon the “Buffalo Killer” once more. He impressed again, making 20 saves in a surprising goalie duel with Anders Lindback. Everyone’s favorite red-headed backup improved to 2-0 with a shutout in his young NHL career.
It’s even more impressive seeing him in the NHL, let alone recording a shutout, when seeing all of the obstacles he overcame earlier in his life. I wrote a piece on his amazing journey to the NHL earlier in the year, and you can read that here.
8) Rick Nash’s first hat trick as a Ranger
Rick Nash has been a part of the Rangers organization since the 2012 season. He’s scored a ton of goals, and has had numerous multi-goal games. But never a hat trick, not until a game on December 23rd against the Capitals. Nash scored his first two goals on a deflection and on a wrist shot for his first two goals of the game. On the power play, Rick Nash fired a wrister off of the post, but the puck hit the top of Holtby’s glove. Martic St. Louis hit Holtby’s glove with his stick, knocking the puck into the back of the net. It took an extra day for the goal to get credited to Nash, but he eventually had his first hat trick in New York.
7) Martin St. Louis’ scores his 1000th career NHL point
It has been known that Martin St. Louis would be a first ballot hall of famer for quite some time. At first he wasn’t given a chance in the NHL due to his stature, but he proved the doubter’s wrong, going on to win a Stanley Cup with the Lightning, and become one of the best pure scorers of the 2000s.
The Rangers are truly fortunate to have had him on the team for a season and a half. He was tremendous in the 2014 playoffs, he mentored and led the younger players, and Ranger fans got to see a legend play on Garden ice as a member of the Blueshirts.
On November 28th, in a game against the Pittsburgh Flyers, Martin St. Louis captured his 1000th career point in style, cashing in on a rebound to beat Steve Mason. It was a special moment for him, marking a big milestone in his career, and it’s pretty cool that he was able to do that as a member of the Rangers.
6) Comeback win against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum
The Islanders had the Rangers number during the first half of the year. Winning the first three games of the season series, and leading leading the Metropolitan division for parts of the season, the Isles and their fans had reasons to gloat. And as a Rangers fan, it really was aggravating seeing the Islanders do so well, and beat the Rangers three times in pretty convincing fashion.
The fourth game of the season series started about as bad as it possibly could, with the Islanders taking the lead just 11 seconds into the game. Cam Talbot, who would finish the night with five goals allowed on 43 shots, tried to play the puck behind the net, but he whiffed on it, giving the puck right to John Tavares for an empty net goal.
However, the Rangers continued to battle, overcoming deficits of 2-0, 3-1 and 5-3 to record their first win against the Islanders of the season by a final score of 6-5. The game had some crazy moments, with Ryan McDonagh recording the first multi-goal game of his career, Martin St. Louis snapping a 15 game goal drought, and Kevin Klein scoring the game winning goal with a perfectly placed wrist shot. The other two goals came from Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan.
Oh yeah, and after the Islanders fans started chanting “you can’t beat us!”, the Rangers got to shove it in their face by scoring three straight goals to win. It was a great night for sure, and one of the most exciting games of the year.
You’re gonna want to watch the whole condensed game. There was a lot of great action from that night.
Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow!
Posted on August 1, 2015, in In the Crease and tagged Cam Talbot, Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan, Henrik Lundqvist, Lundqvist shutout, Mackenzie Skapski, Madison Square Garden, MSG, New York Rangers, New York Rangers 2014-15 season, New York Rangers blog, NYR, Presidents trophy, Rangers, Rangers blog, Rangers vs Islanders, Rick Nash, Rick Nash hat trick, Ryan McDonagh, Skapski shutout, Top 10 Rangers moments. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.