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Reliving Most Famous Regular Season Game in Rangers History


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Do you know where you were and what you were doing 50 years ago tonight? I do. I was leaning out of my bedroom window, aiming the transistor radio in one hand toward the Empire State Building, the phone receiver in my other hand as I kept an open line with my friend Fred Balin so we could both listen to the Canadiens-Black Hawks game through the crackle of static from the station in Chicago.


It was April 5, 1970 and it was hours after the most famous regular-season game in Rangers history, the 9-5 afternoon victory over the Red Wings that meant the Blueshirts would make the playoffs if the Canadiens lost to the Black Hawks while scoring fewer than five goals.


In fact, this was not only the most famous game in Rangers regular-season history, this represented the most dramatic and uproarious final day ever of an NHL season. The Blueshirts had entered two points behind Montreal, needing not only to win to have a chance to finish fourth and qualify for the Stanley Cup tournament, but needing to score at least five goals more than the Canadiens did in a defeat.


Yup, that was the first tiebreaker: goals scored. The Rangers came into the final day at 37-22-16 with 237 goals. The defending Cup champion Habs came in at 38-21-16 with 242 goals. The Blueshirts owned the second tiebreaker, so a differential of five would be enough.


The Rangers had been sailing along in first place with a 34-12-12 mark until Brad Park sustained a broken ankle in Detroit on Feb. 19. The Blueshirts won two of their first three without No. 2 and then collapsed, going 1-9-3 in their next 13 to fall out of a playoff spot.


“I played 17 years and never missed the playoffs,” Park said by phone on Saturday. “If there was ever a year that put that in jeopardy, that was it.”






Larry finishes by asking "Where were you 50 years ago? I know where I was."


I know where I was as well. On a nature outing. I was 10 years old and pitched a fit when the Rangers lost in Detroit the night before to seemingly put them out of the playoffs. I had given up hope and did not watch the nationally televised game the following afternoon. A bunch of kids were in my driveway waiting for me when I got home, raving about what happened in the Rangers wild victory of Detroit.


Note the afternoon game in NY the night after a road game in Detroit. The playoff series against Boston that followed had the first four games in five nights. Different league.

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Is it really the most famous if most have never heard of it? I wouldn't become a Rangers fan for 24 more years after that.


For me, the regular season games I remember most fondly are the games I happened to be at:


Malik between the legs, Richter's record setting win, and Zuccarello's 1st NHL OT GWG.


Also was saw Boogaarard score a goal. Colton Orr kill Todd Feduruk and a lot of bad losses lol.

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I was around for all of the cited games, and the 1970 game was the biggest. Going into the last game of the year needing a win and a Canadiens loss while scoring 5 more goals than the Canadiens was an incredible hole to dig out of. This was not a matter of sneaking in as a non-contender wild card, either. The top five teams in the East, which were then the top five teams in the league, finished within five points: all were contenders. The other last day playoff dramas, 1988 and 2010, did not turn out well, with the Devils getting an OT goal in 1988 and the Rangers losing a shootout in Philly in 2010. The Rangers got in with a win on the last day in 1995, but that was a screwed shortened season, and they controlled their own fate.
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  • 2 weeks later...
For me it's when they beat the Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum just before the 94 playoffs started, their first win there in god knows how long.

It felt huge at the time, and probably was knowing what came next.


Especially when Zubov scored the GWG at the point, pumping his fists in the air (I watched the story of the '94 Rangers and the NYR fans at Nassau went Beserk)

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