If there is one measure of excitement at a Rangers home game, it is surely the decibel levels reached by the Garden Faithful.
Jaromir Jagr celebrates the second of his two goals scored during the Rangers' three-goal eruption on Nov. 14 at MSG.
During the third period of the Rangers' Nov. 14, 2006, game against the New Jersey Devils at MSG, the crowd turned up the volume to a level almost never heard in the regular season.
They had good reason to make noise that night, because the Blueshirts stormed back from 2-0 deficit to beat the Devils 3-2. The remarkable shift from two-goal deficit to one-goal lead took place in a span of only 90 seconds, beginning with captain Jaromir Jagr's first of two goals at the 2:05 mark and ending with Brendan Shanahan's game-winner at 3:35.
Although the 90-second blitz took place in only the 18th game of the Rangers' 82-game regular season and only the eighth of 41 played at home, it burned itself into the memory of all who witnessed it. It was no surprise, then, that this amazing moment has been named the Rangers' Highlight of the Year in a vote of visitors to newyorkrangers.com.
On Tuesday, the three-goal outburst earned its Highlight of the Year honor by defeating Jaromir Jagr's March 11 shootout goal against Carolina in the finals of a three-week online tournament. Voting began in late May, as the 27 weekly winners of the Rangers' 2006-07 Cold-fX Moment of the Week award were placed into a tournament bracket with the ultimate goal of letting fans choose the very best.
The Nov. 14 highlight had no trouble waltzing to victory. In its first-round matchup, it captured nearly 83 percent of the vote in defeating Pascal Dupuis' lone Rangers goal and Sean Avery's second goal in a two-goal performance against Toronto. In the quarterfinals, the 90-second turnaround took 75 percent of the vote in crushing Jagr's first goal of the season – a memorable tally scored 29 seconds into the Rangers' opener against Washington.
Last week in the semifinals, the ultimate champion garnered 68 percent of the vote in toppling the Jan. 2 eight-round shootout, also against the Devils. Then, in this week's finals, it held off the Jagr shootout goal with 52.5 percent of more than 1,700 votes.
Rangers fans obviously had no trouble identifying this magical third period as the year's best highlight, because it embodied so much of what the 2006-07 represented and also foreshadowed the late-season run to the playoffs.
On Nov. 14, the Blueshirts appeared to be down and out against a Devils team designed to protect third-period leads and a goaltender, Martin Brodeur, not known for giving up three goals in a game, let alone a period. But after Jagr got the ball rolling off a give-and-go with Marcel Hossa, the crowd helped inspire the Rangers to the next two goals, and the amazing run concluded with Shanahan scoring on a breakaway.
"All you have to do is give our fans an excuse to get going and get behind us, and they are such a huge boost," said Shanahan. "We got that one goal and all of a sudden the arena was rocking."
Although 90 seconds is a very short time in which to notch three goals, it was a full 62 seconds behind the team record of 28, set on Jan 14, 1980. Nevertheless, it was a lot more dramatic, because the 28-second outburst from Doug Sulliman, Eddie Johnstone and Warren Miller had been the first three tallies in a 6-6 tie. Ironically, the record was set against the Colorado Rockies – the franchise that would later become the Devils.
The win over New Jersey on Nov. 14 wasn't the Rangers' only comeback from a 2-0 third-period deficit at home in 2006-07. But it was even more special because it came against a local rival that had knocked the Blueshirts out of the playoffs earlier in the calendar year.
In the months following the three-goal blitz, Madison Square Garden would rock many more times, but the drama of Nov. 14 was hardly forgotten. When it came time to choose the highlight they would remember the longest, the image of Shanahan charging in on a breakaway against Brodeur to give his team an improbable lead was just too strong for any of the other great highlights to overcome.