For the second game in a row, the Rangers trailed by two goals while facing elimination and still managed to pull out a victory.
It's cliché, but for the Blueshirts, it rains extremely true.
It would have been easy for the Rangers to fold in both Games 5 and 6. At that point, they were playing with house money. But they have leadership around the entire locker room to point them in the right direction.
“Good coaches, good young guys, good vets, good room," said Chris Kreider, who also scored two goals. "We’ve been able to come together as a team through hard times in the course of the last couple of years, and it’s been a long time coming for us. Regardless of situation, I’m proud of the way this team competes. Whether we’re down, whether we’re up, trying to get to our game, trying to play the same way."
“At the end of the day," added Zibanejad, "if the hard work is there, it's gonna turn around eventually.
"... I think the guys that we have in there, I feel like it’s a big family. Everyone wants the same thing, everyone’s working for each other. Everyone wants success for the guy sitting next to you. It’s honestly one of the biggest reasons why we’re here today. We’ve shown it throughout the year, throughout this series, and that’s something you can’t just -- you don’t get that for free. It’s something special about this group, and we just gotta keep going.”
If anyone is proof that the Rangers fight to the end, it's Zibanejad himself. He was yet to light the lamp in this series. He responded with a two-goal effort that included the game-tying scores.
“Even when the puck’s not going in for him, he still does so many things that are underappreciated -- it’s insane," said Kreider. "I think the only people that could really see are the ones that are in our room, or who understand the game. He’s been getting his chances, he knew he was gonna break through.
"I think the playoffs sometimes can reveal who you are and the kind of character you have. For him to stay with his game and continue to work, continue to work, he’s been a huge leader for us all year, he’s been an absolute horse, he’s been our engine, and you know it was gonna turn for him, you knew he was gonna have his moment, and he’s certainly not done.”
Next up is Game 7 at Madison Square Garden -- maybe the best six words in all of sports.
While emotions are riding high, the Rangers know they just have to stay calm and play their game.
“Just need to settle down and get to our game," said Kreider. "I think we’ve been doing a better job of that over the last few games, and that’s why we’ve had results. … We gotta continue to work smart, work for each other, play as a team. We’ve been treating every game since we’ve been down (three games to one) like it’s a Game 7. It’s been do or die for us, so nothing changes.”