Sabres 5, Rangers 4
First, because – in the words of Fiddy – this is “how I do,” here’s a personal anecdote from this game: I had just played a spirited contest of touch football, and after said game, I had returned to the same house at which I imbibed on Cinco De Mayo. We still had a large quantity of beer and some meats to grill, so we got all tossed up on a Sunday afternoon for no reason. The boyfriend of the hostess, an amiable young Rangers fan, kept departing for long stretches of time. Finally, as the event was nearing its conclusion anyway, he came outside to the back – where I was polishing off my fourth Harpoon – and said, “Yo, last 2 minutes. Come check this out.”
Sure enough, the Rangers were down 1 at The Garden – the same place where so much magic has happened, and yet, so much defeat has been wrought – and across the final 2 minutes, they got about 9 looks at Ryan Miller. The problem was, none of the looks was actually legitimate; he stoned them on every ill-conceived shot along the way. However, with about five seconds left – as my friend’s boyfriend screamed “This is it, gentleman! This is your season!” – Miller was sweating profusely, reminding me of Game 7 of the Eastern Finals last year.
Speaking of the Eastern Finals, this year’s edition has a chance to be the series that “saves hockey,” in much the same way that De La Hoya vs. Mayweather was supposed to “save boxing,” or this past weekend’s Nationals vs. Cubs series could have “saved Washington, DC sports.” Uh, scratch that last one. The Senators and Sabres friggin’ hate each other. This series will go seven – mark my words – and there’s a good chance Chris Drury, the Golden Boy of the entire thing, may not make it through unscathed. These two teams had the most epic NHL brawl of the past five years in February of this season, and Lindy Ruff – who is certifiably insane – has delivered so much venom at the Senators in post-game pressers over the years, you’d think a holy war was about to break out. Also, the fact that it’s two cities a geography major might not be able to explain the relevance of makes it even more interesting; it’s literally a battle for redemption, and there’s gonna be a lot of red on that ice.