Thursday, May 01, 2008

Rangers are stayin’ alive…

Feel the city breakin' and everybody shakin',
people Stayin' alive, stayin' alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive, stayin' alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive

From the city that gave us Tony Manero and the Disco beat, comes a band of fancy skaters that picked up the beat on Thursday night and kept their playoff chances alive with a convincing game four victory avoiding a sweep at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Led by the smooth moves of Jaromir Jagr who provided the emotion, talent and effort in a three point performance, the Rangers climbed back a bit from the black hole of playoff extinction. With a youthful spring to his step, Jagr showed more moves than the immortal Tony did in the celluloid dance flick of decades ago.

For a night, Jagr recaptured much of the form and expectations that had been handed to him upon his arrival in the Big Apple, carrying his fragile team on his shoulders for one night, living up to his post game interview of game three when he suggested that things weren’t quite done yet.

Jagr broke a 0-0 deadlock midway through the second period when he directed a shot through Sergei Gonchar’s legs and past Marc Andre Fleury for the game opener, for his efforts he was leveled by a clean check just as he released the puck. Left stunned on the ice for a few minutes, he finally collected his thoughts and headed back to the Ranger bench, not missing a shift and providing the leadership that the Rangers have desperately needed for three games now.

He was by far the most valuable player on the ice on Thursday, playing with a determination that may give faint hope to the Ranger faithful that maybe; just maybe there will be a game six back in New York.

The Penguins had the opportunity to jump back into the contest with a bit over two minutes left in the second when Evgeni Malkin was awarded a penalty shot, but in one of the strangest slow motion plays in hockey, Malkin all but walked to the net prior to taking his shot which was easily handled by Henrik Lundqvist.

While the Penguins had other scoring opportunities, none would be better than the chance for the Pittsburgh star to go one on one on the Ranger goaltender and in this one the Rangers came out on top.

With that bit of drama behind them, the Rangers came out in the third and controlled the final frame, securing a 3-0 victory and forcing the Penguins to move on to a game five back in Pittsburgh, where the Rangers hope they can keep dancing and provide a little Sunday afternoon fever to bring the series back to Manhattan. Jagr's spree helps Rangers stay alive for another day
Globe and Mail-- Rangers stay alive
CBC Sports-- Jagr comes up huge in Game 4
CBC Sports-- Rangers blank Penguins, avoid elimination
National Post-- Jagr gets last laugh as Rangers stay alive
New York Times-- In Battle With Malkin, Lundqvist Holds Ground
Newsday-- Rangers' Jagr, one of a kind, should keep playing
New York Daily News-- Rangers avoid sweep, stay alive
New York Post-- Shot ... Season Saved!
Pittsburgh Post Gazette-- Penguins fail to get sweep
Pittsburgh Post Gazette-- Jagr's play keeps Rangers afloat
Pittsburgh Tribune Review-- Pens finally fall
Pittsburgh Tribune Reviwe-- Jagr keeps Rangers alive
. Stats Pack

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