May 25, 2012
Mark Messier's Guarantee
From Roy MacGregor of The Globe and Mail:
It seemed, at first, like an empty promise and one that would embarrass and haunt Messier forever. The Devils, playing at the top of their game, went ahead 1-0 off a fluke deflection, then up 2-0 on a long Scott Niedermayer shot from the point. Neither goal was what could be called a “good” goal and the Rangers left the ice at the end of the first to the derisive chants of “19-40! 19-40! 19-40!” a sarcastic New Jersey reference to the last time the Rangers had won the Cup.
But then, slowly, Messier’s prediction began to heat up. Young Alexei Kovalev – back in the days when he cared – scored off a nifty Messier drop pass. In the third period, Messier scored on a nice pass from Kovalev to tie the game 2-2, scored again when he swept a Kovalev rebound past Brodeur – and completed his hat trick with an empty-net goal to seal the comeback win.
The Rangers went on to win Game 7, then on to defeat the Vancouver Canucks for the Stanley Cup, and Messier’s “guarantee” became part of hockey lore.