2006-04-28 / Sports

New York Hockey Report: Rangers Have A Ticket To Ride

By Joe McDonald Sports Columnist

By Joe McDonald
Sports Columnist

Frustration mounts for New York Rangers Jaromir Jagr, center, who sits on the New York Rangers bench with teammates Petr Prucha, left, and Martin Straka as Devils took a 3-0 series lead. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)Frustration mounts for New York Rangers Jaromir Jagr, center, who sits on the New York Rangers bench with teammates Petr Prucha, left, and Martin Straka as Devils took a 3-0 series lead. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) NEW YORK - Although the New York Rangers received a miracle as Jaromir Jagr played last night in Game Three against the New Jersey Devils, they needed another one to actually win the game.

Unfortunately, the Rangers get only one phenomenon a night.

The Garden faithful roared in approval as No. 68 took to the ice and the buzz continued throughout John Amirante's National Anthem. But the Devils quickly were able to muffle the crowd by scoring a quick goal and then cruised to the 3-0 win.

"It all started when we gave up the first two goals," Petr Sykora, who hit the post twice trying to get the Rangers back in the game. "That was the game right there, because if it was even, they would have to open it up and we may get the breaks. So we have to play even or be up a goal."

Easier said than done. The Rangers were taken out immediately by the Devils when Jamie Langenbrunner took a cross-ice pass from Patrik Elias only 1:08 into the game. The Garden was silenced and any good will from Jagr's return was squelched.

"It was pretty deflating," coach Tom Renney said. "It was a tough start obviously, not what we hoped and planned for. Those things happen in the game and we have to overcome it."

The Rangers didn't get the chance to prevail. In fact, they dug a deeper hole later when Elias, who has killed the Blueshirts all series, beat Lundqvist at 9:20 of the first. At that point, with over 50 minutes to go, the game was over. And down three games to none, the series is pretty much done. The Devils have dominated the Blueshirts on all ends of the ice during the series. They had timely scoring and superior goaltending from Martin Brodeur. And even the positives brought to the game from Jagr, were limited because he obviously couldn't shoot the puck with authority and was limited to one shot early. "I thought [Jagr] showed a lot of courage tonight," Renney said. "He protected the puck as best as he could and made some plays that only he could make. He played to the best of his ability." Renney was also thankful to have Martin Rucinsky back after being out since March 24 when he broke his finger in Florida. "I wish I had both of those guys two weeks ago," the coach added.

But now the Rangers can't cry over spilled milk and must look at the situation at hand. Their game on Saturday is a win or go home situation and if they want to make any noise from these playoffs, now is the time.

"We aren't taking it one game at a time, but one period at a time," Renney thought. "We need to be much, much better on Saturday of if we are going to prolong this. We will try to fight our way back in this series somehow."

Added goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who was better in net for Game Three: "We really have to play really strong on Saturday to get our first win. It's tough and not many teams have done that, but we can be the first in a long time.

"If we can get this win than a lot of emotions can be taken off our chest."

And maybe they could do it. Only three time in North American sports history has a team come back to win, but twice it happened in hockey -1942 Stanley Cup when Toronto came back to beat Detroit and 1975 with the upstart Islanders were down to the Pittsburgh Penguins to eventually win their Quarter-Final round. And who could forget the 2004 Red Sox downing the Yankees in historic fashion? The Rangers can ask themselves, "Why not us?" as they prepare for Game Four.

Or as Jagr said, "We have nothing to lose now, because we are almost dead."

It may take another miracle, but it has been done. The Rangers need to so something or the goodwill from a 100-point season will taste sour as the summer comes.

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