Rangers 2, Devils 1 (2 OT)
One of the great hockey games of all time. The Rangers nursed a 1-0 lead until the final moments of regulation, when Valeri Zelepukin tied the game with 7.7 seconds left on the clock. This is the only Garden Game 7 to go into overtime — it went into double-overtime, in fact — and it produced perhaps the most famous goal in Rangers history: “Fetisov for the Devils plays it cross-ice, into the far corner. Matteau swoops in to intercept. Matteau behind the net, swings it in front … ” Surely you know the rest.
So there’s a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden tonight, but before the playoffs even began, my Facebook wall was littered with “Matteau! Matteau!” boasts. It happens every time the Rangers are in the postseason. It’s one of many reasons why Rangers fans are simply the worst.
It’s always great when your favorite team wins a championship, and there’s part of that that can never be taken away. But success can get a little sour when your team gets upstaged by its greatest rival. I’m sure boston university hockey fans were thrilled their team won the national championship in 2009, but were crushed when Boston College went ahead and won it the very next year. The 80s were a great decade for the Celtics, but those teams were outshined, in the end, by the Showtime Lakers. Even though the Yankees wound up lost the World Series, their 2003 victory over the Red Socks in the ALCS would have been one of my greatest sports memories, had Boston not humiliated the Yanks and won the World Series in 2004. Now I barely even think about 2003, much less brag about it. (Can you tell I live in Massachusetts, btw?)
The point is, I understand that beating your greatest rival in overtime of Game 7 to advance to the championship is a big deal. And boy, would I love to be able to stuff Aaron Boone’s home run in the face of every Red Socks fan I can see. But I can’t. So how do Rangers fans get off waving the “Matteau! Matteau!” flag when the Devils won the Stanley Cup the very next year! And not only that, but they went on to win two more!
The obvious answer is that a) the Devils didn’t beat the Rangers to go on to the Stanley Cup in 2005, and b) unlike the Yankees in 2003, the Rangers actually won it in 1994. But this should only serve to highlight that the Rangers have won one championship in 70 years! There are kids who will vote for president in November who weren’t even alive the last time the Rangers won the Stanley Cup.
All of this is to say, stfu, Rangers fans! Your team is historically terrible.