Around 9am my parents came into my room to wake me up so we were not late for the train. I got dressed and put on my Rangers sweatshirt. I had to wear my military appreciation jersey to the game too because the Rangers had not lost when I wore the jersey to Madison Square Garden. Since my dad had his superstitions too, he did not wear a jersey because he was undefeated at the garden this year without a jersey.
We drove a half hour to Harriman, New York to the train station to catch the 10:29 train to Secaucus, New Jersey. We arrived in New Jersey around 11:25 and we rushed through the station to catch our connecting train to the city. The train to New York Penn Station came at 11:30 and we were in the city by 11:45.
After we ate lunch at Chick-Fil-A, we decided to walk around Times Square Bryant Park, Macy’s, and the NHL store to kill time.
We went back to the garden around 4pm which is when the players start coming to the arena. I decided to stand where I knew a few players come in through to get to the locker room. There were already a few other people there waiting for players. A few people had pictures they wanted signed, others had jerseys, and some just wanted pictures. While I was waiting, I talked to a few people about the season and what the thought of the new coaching staff. One person I talked to, James, was an avid Rangers fan just like myself. He told me, “The Rangers could be a playoff team based on the way they had been playing recently.” They had been playing really well and took everyone by surprise since they are supposed to be rebuilding. I continued my conversation with James about the team, and when we were talking, his friend Devin jumped in while we were talking about the coach. He continued to say, “I was skeptical in the beginning about bringing in a college coach, but to see what he has done with this team and the young players in the time he has been here is amazing. ” Our conversation continued on for a little while more until the players started to come. While standing outside, I met Marc Staal, Brendan Smith, and Ryan Strome. It was a cool experience being able to interact with the players before the game, and even getting a picture or two.
After meeting with a few players, I headed inside with my parents to wait in line to get into the garden. We got in line about 5:30, but the doors do not open until 6. While waiting in line, my parents and I talked about school and sports to pass the time. Once 6pm hit, the doors opened and the people waiting in line rushed in. While my parents usually walk around on the lower bowl of the garden, I go to section 119 to watch warmups. While waiting for warmups, I talked to a dad with his kid. Like me when I was younger, the kid was taking in the whole arena and atmosphere around him. We started talking about the garden and he told me, “Nothing compares to Madison Square Garden when it comes to the atmosphere. When you walk into the garden it is like walking into a piece of history. You see the banners in the rafters from previous teams and their achievements, players who have retired, and also remembering what the old garden looked like before it was renovated.”
After warmups end, I head to the upper bowl to get some food and find my seat. Since it was Rangers vs Islanders, the crowd was 65 percent Rangers fans and 35 percent Islanders fans. You can look around and see some blue and orange, but the majority of the garden was still blue and red.
The game started at approximately 7:10 and you can tell from the drop of the puck that it was going to be an exciting game. Not even 30 seconds into the game the Rangers score to take the lead. The garden erupts and I jump to my feet immediately. Three minutes later the Rangers score again and then one more time less than five minutes after the second goal. After the first period it was 3-0 Rangers and I was pretty happy, but I was also nervous since there was still so much time left in the game.
Both teams had chances to score in the beginning of the second period, but neither team could find the back of the net. About halfway through the second, Cody McLeod of the Rangers and Ross Johnston of the Islanders dropped their gloves and fans got to see their first and only fight of the night. The Rangers scored another goal late in the second and the period ended with the Rangers ahead 4-0.
The third starts and the fans are still battling between “Let’s go Rangers!” and “Let’s go Islanders!” chants. My dad and I were getting excited since the game was coming to an end and the Rangers were still up by four. With less than four minutes to go in the game, Chris Kreider scores to make it 5-0. The garden goes wild since it is now 5-0 and there was only a slight chance of the Islanders coming back.
The Rangers won the game 5-0 and it was the first time in over two years that they beaten the Islanders. My parents and I were both really happy with the outcome and we are ready to get back to the garden to experience this atmosphere very soon..