Derick Brassard had just helped the Rangers to a third straight victory, 5-2 in Montreal, but the Hull, Que., native couldn't wait to get "home" to New York and face Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.
"We want the No. 2 seed in our division," Brassard told reporters following Saturday evening's game. "It's going to be a great atmosphere. It's going to be fun."
But it was Crosby and the Penguins who got the last laugh, pulling out a 3-2 overtime victory to move to within three points of the second-place Rangers in the Metropolitan Division with a game in hand. Second place brings with it first-round home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Crosby scored the winner for Pittsburgh, which won three of four games in the season series. Below are five unforgettable games between the division rivals.
May 13, 2014: Game 7 of conference semifinals
The Rangers eked out a 2-1 win at Pittsburgh's Consol Energy Centre for their fifth consecutive Game 7 victory, rebounding from a 3-1 series deficit against the Penguins team that finished 13 points ahead of them for the Metropolitan Division title. Martin St. Louis set up Brad Richards for the winning goal less than a week after the death of his mother, France, which became a rallying cry for New York. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist earned the win with some jaw-dropping saves among his 35 stops.
Dec. 18, 2013 at Madison Square Garden
Pittsburgh entered the regular-season meeting without centre Evgeni Malkin, four injured defencemen and blue-liner Derek Engelland suspended. But the Penguins persevered, recovering from a blown 3-1 lead for a 4-3 verdict in a shootout, their fifth straight win, 10th in a 12-game stretch and ninth in the last 10 games versus the Rangers. Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby collected two assists to increase his NHL-leading point total to 49 while Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves through overtime and five in the penalty-shot showdown.
Nov. 15, 2014 at Consol Energy Center
After celebrating what they believed was a 3-2 shootout win, Rangers players begin undressing in the visitors' dressing room before being told to return to the ice when Dan Boyle's goal was disallowed after video review showed he hit the puck a second time on a rebound. His initial shot hit the post and the puck deflected off his stick into net.
The Penguins' Brandon Sutter then beat New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist with the wrist shot in the fourth round. Pittsburgh counterpart Marc-Andre Fleury then denied Rick Nash, tied for the NHL lead with 12 goals, to end the game as the Pens avenged a 5-0 loss at New York five days earlier.
April 25, 2008: Game 1 of conference semifinals
After the hometown Pittsburgh Penguins overcame a 3-0 deficit, Evgeni Malkin redirected Sidney Crosby's one-timer from the point on a power play with 1:41 left in regulation for a 5-4 victory in the series opener. It marked the first loss in four road games in these playoffs for the Rangers, who seemingly had seized the momentum and control of the game with goals from Martin Straka, Chris Drury and Sean Avery. But Petr Sykora and Marian Hossa scored 20 seconds apart early in the third period against New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist and Pittsburgh shook off Scott Gomez's tying goal midway through the period to win the game.
April 9, 1993 at Madison Square Garden
Pittsburgh set an NHL record with its 16th win in a row on the strength of five goals by Mario Lemieux in a 10-4 rout of the Rangers, breaking the 11-year-old record of the New York Islanders. In a rare sight by New York fans, they gave the Penguins captain a standing ovation after his fifth goal. Lemieux, who had scored at least a goal in every game of the streak – 51 points on 27 goals and 24 assists - raised his season goal total to 67. The memorable performance represented the third five-goal game of Super Mario's NHL career. He also achieved the feat in 1988, 1989 and 1996.