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Greatest Games: New York Rangers – Cup Quenched After Drought

Rangers fans waited 54 years for the Cup to return to New York. Then they sweated through a Game 7 thriller.

No. 1 – June 14, 1994 – NY Rangers 3, Vancouver 2

They had glimpsed the summit, and were, tantalizingly, almost there. But the rugged climb was forced to continue, and the Rangers were teetering on a windswept ledge.

Just a week earlier, the Blueshirts held a 3-1 series lead on the Canucks in the Stanley Cup final. The journey for Mark Messier, Brian Leetch and Co. seemed all but complete. But the Canucks roared back with a 6-3 win at Madison Square Garden and a 4-1 triumph in Vancouver, setting up a Game 7 in New York. Would the Rangers’ Cup drought be extended to a 55th year?

There were no guarantees in this game, which was only the third Cup final to go seven games since 1971.

Goals in the first period by Leetch and Adam Graves ignited the title-starved crowd, which was roaring before the first intermission. In the second period, Canucks captain Trevor Linden beat Mike Richter shorthanded to cut the lead. Messier’s rebound past Kirk McLean gave New York a 3-1 advantage, which stood until the third period.

Linden scored his second goal of the game early in the third, and fans braced for a frenzied finish. The Canucks kept pressing: Martin Gelinas hit the post with five minutes left and Nathan Lafayette also rang the iron. With less than a minute remaining, Richter somehow stopped Pavel Bure’s screened shot, making a pad save to preserve the lead.

With 18,200 on their feet, the Rangers survived three defensive-zone faceoffs in the final 38 seconds before lifting the silver trophy for the first time since 1940, amidst a din that shook the roof on Seventh Avenue.

No. 2 – May 27, 1994 – NY Rangers 2, New Jersey 1 (2OT)
Following ‘The Guarantee,’ Stephane Matteau’s double-OTwraparound ended Game 7 of the conference final and delivered Rangers to the Cup.

No. 3 – May 29, 2014 – NY Rangers 1, Montreal 0
Henrik Lundqvist was perfect in a Game 6 shutout that sent ‘The King’ to his first final and the Rangers to the Cup for the first time in 20 years.

GREATEST INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE OF ALL-TIME

Mark Pavelich
Feb. 23, 1983 – NY Rangers 11, Hartford 3

When pavelich scored his third goal midway through the second period at Madison Square Garden, hundreds of red baseball caps, handouts from a cigarette company, rained down. That was just the start of the party.

Pavelich, a 1980 U.S. Olympian, netted his fifth goal of the game with 11:09 left, just 11 seconds after scoring his fourth. The spree came the night after the three-year anniversary of the Miracle on Ice. “This is important,” Pavelich said, “but the assist I got on Mike Eruzione’s goal that beat the Soviets (4-3 in Lake Placid) is more important to me.”

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