May 29, 2014, 3:37 PM EDT
From the New York Post:
It has been 20 years since the Rangers had a chance at home to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Final, 20 years since Stephane Matteau ended Game 7 of that epochal Battle of the Hudson in 1994.
And so there is something different about Thursday night’s match at the Garden that could accurately be defined as the most important hockey game to be played in New York City in two decades.
The Rangers, of course, went on to win the Stanley Cup in 1994, hoisting the trophy for the first time since 1940, setting off a city-wide celebration, capped off by a memorable ticker-tape parade.
But the Rangers, despite their financial heft, haven’t been back to the final since. In fact, they missed the playoffs in eight of the 15 seasons following their 1994 triumph, including a stretch of seven straight misses from 1997 to 2004.
Prior to this year, only twice since 1994 had the Blueshirts advanced to the conference finals; they lost in five to Philadelphia in 1997, and they were eliminated in six by the Devils two years ago.
So yeah, big game tonight.
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- Hitchcock re-signs for one more year in St. Louis 9
- Ducks win crazy Game 5, push ‘Hawks to edge of elimination 32
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- In the playoffs, sometimes it comes down to the ‘bounces’ 4
- Now feels like a good time to debate Stamkos’ next contract 38
- Here’s the latest on coaching searches in Buffalo, San Jose and New Jersey 3
- Bishop bounced back in Game 5, but did the Rangers test him enough? 9
- Reports: Sabres thought they had a deal with Babcock, aren’t happy (174)
- Leafs land Babcock with reported 8-year deal, estimated at $50 million (130)
- Kesler on wearing down Chicago: ‘No human can withstand that many hits’ (75)
- What’s wrong with Lundqvist? (70)
- From healthy scratch to hero: Vermette scores OT winner for Blackhawks (66)