That.  Was.  Legendary.  For the first time since Michael Rozsival’s blast against Buffalo in 2007, the New York Rangers won a playoff game in overtime.  Scratch that, triple overtime.  Seven straight extra inning losses we’ve had to endure, two just this year, but the wait was well worth it to witness such a gem of a game.  FINALLY!  Fucking FINALLY!  I’m running on about three hours sleep and probably suffered at least three heart attacks last night, but the fumes of an adrenaline filled night have me feeling lighter than Neil Smith’s loafers.  RANGERS!!!

The 20th longest game in NHL history ended last night after 114:41 minutes, nearly two full contests of hockey.  If you watched it, you saw something special that only playoff sports can deliver.  It was exactly what we fans love about the postseason – tightened chests, nervous silence, edge-of-your-seat action that finally ended in an explosion of pure joy.  The victory will live on forever in Ranger lore, becoming more important the further they progress towards Lord Stanley’s Cup.  Though the specific moments of worth may be too many to recall, let’s relive that one as best we can before the high wears off completely…

- Henrik fucking Lundqvist was all world all game for New York.  Stoned Washington cold through 45 saves, blocking pucks with his dome piece, stopping two on oh’s right at the doorstep – the King deserved to win that one.  Lights out stuff from the Swedish sex god.  Caught a couple lucky bounces here, couple posts there, but like the old adage says: the harder you work, the luckier you get.  Hank looked beyond relieved skating his way to the celebration scrum, and rightfully so.  HUGE monkey off the back.  Good for Hank…

- Everyone please welcome the young Ryan McDonagh to the “holy shit, what a fucking horse” club.  Just under an hour (53:21) of ice time played, and the kid was nothing short of sensational.  Even after he got absolutely crushed by a clean check early in the first OT, he was putting up huge minutes and breaking up rushes like a seasoned all star.  I heard Scott Gomez was watching Bruce Springsteen at the Rock last night.  BWAHAHA!  Straight thievery on the part of Glen Sather!

- Dan Girardi, warrior status.  Pictures are worth a thousand praising words…

- Ryan Callahan.  I mean what can you say about the captain?  His game says it all.  Hustle, grit, never giving up on a puck, never giving in to fatigue.  His goal in the second period was the stuff of pure will.  He just wants it more than anyone out there.  The effort he put into his backchecks, even after mutliple overtimes, to sacrifice the body and block big shots is simply awe inspiring.  He just embodies the kind of all-too-rare-these-days American work ethic that would make a world war two vet tear up and salute.  WWCCD.

- Birthday boy Brad, holy hell of a game.  Insturmental in trapping a Cap down low and catching Washington mid-change for the first goal and the architect of the game winner, the man simply made it happen out there.  He played chess with people on that last play, saw mutliple moves ahead like some kind of super computer, just hiding behind the net as everyone followed his pass and focused on Girardi.  Danny G gave it back to him and BR already knew where he was going with it.  Perfect pass right on Gabby’s tape, just like they drew it up this summer during contract negotiations.  You monotone mother fucker, you!

- And of course, the hero, Marian Gaborik, coming through when it counted.  You could easily script this stuff, but it’s so cheesy in its perfection that no one would buy it.  I mean, to have the guy who’s constantly called out for disappearing when it matters bury the game winner after over fifty minutes of sudden death, the hockey gods must have a sense of humor.  He just went where the goal scorers go – right to the slot.  Stick on the ice, ready for Richards to hit him without even looking, and his release was just too quick for Holtby.  Euphoria.  Pure euphoria as he raised his stick in celebration.  Gabba-dabba-doo baby!

- Faceoffs were good for the Rangers.  They were hitting well too, and blocked shots like it’s part of their bonus incentives.  Some issues with gap control right below their own blueline though, and because of it Washington ripped a fair amount of rockets right at Lundy, including Carlson’s laser’d beauty to tie the game at one.

- Two powerplays wasted while playing sudden death.  Can’t pass up that many chances to put it on net once everyone’s playing on fumes.  Infuriating stuff at the time, but my rage was obviously pacified when the win was secured.

- Goddamn you, Boyle’s ass!  Rupp was thiiiiis close to closing out the contest, but hit Boyle’s backside instead of an empty net.  If he had put that one in, along with the Winter Classic goals, he might just avoid the “Get The Fuck Off My Team” treatment that’s been due to him for a while now…

- Two massive chances for the Caps in overtime nearly stopped my heart cold.  First, the crushing blow delivered to McD by Matt Hendricks caused Troy Brower to get a wide open chance which thank the fucking lord he missed.  That’s literally the kind of goal New York loses on all the time.  As that pass came out from behind the net to him, I actually thought to myself, “this is how we lose”, but somehow Hendricks couldn’t bury it.  That’ll be burning him up for the next couple days…

- Second chance that almost killed everyone cheering for the Blueshirts was obvsiouly the Ovi-time post.  Verizon Center horn guy got a little premature with the sirens and spotlights but all was well once video review confirmed it had not gone over the line.  Losing the game would have been one thing, but to see that gap toothed commie running around and jumping into boards would have likely sent me into a homicidal rage.  Sweet goatee, AO, you look like a Bond villain’s brain-dead henchman.

So here we are.  Only up 2-1, but the momentum gained by winning that game is straight priceless.  Remember how gutted we were after game 4 last year?  Yeah, that’s how Washington’s feeling right now – depleted, discouraged and heartbroken.  Thank God we’ve got an extra day off in between games because I think everyone involved from the fans to the players will need time to recoup after that whirlwind of a war.  So put on the highlights and watch ‘em on repeat.  Pass out, get some rest and wake up this weekend ready to roll, for Saturday afternoon will be here before you know it and then it’s all on the line again.  Until that moment comes, though, enjoy this one right here, because last night’s Game 3 triple overtime win was something truly special.  @Osgood_StoolNYC