The date was March 14, 1962. The Rangers were
playing the Detroit Red Wings at Madison Square Garden with much at stake.
The teams were tied in points for the final playoff berth and both teams
were in dire need of a victory.
In the 3rd period, Gordie Howe appeared to have put
a damper on the evening when he scored a highlight-reel goal, shorthanded
to give the Red Wings a 2-1 lead. It was the 500th goal of his illustrious
career, which drew a standing ovation from the Ranger faithful. However,
that lead was short-lived, as the Rangers would come back a mere 20
seconds later to tie the game at two.
|Dean Prentice was the
actual player pulled down
Photo courtesy of
It would be later in regulation where one of the
most controversial moments in Ranger history would take place. Ranger
forward Dean Prentice was on a clear-cut breakaway when he was pulled
down. The referee immediately signaled for a penalty shot. But, he
mistakenly awarded the shot to Andy Bathgate, not Prentice. Bathgate
skated in alone on Red Wings goalie Hank Bassen, faked the shot, and slid
a back hander into the net, to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead. The goal
literally rocked the Garden as the crowd jolted with energy.
Sure enough, the Rangers came away with the 3-2
victory and sent the Garden crowd home with smiles. The mystery penalty
shot goal became one of the biggest goals in team history. The Rangers
would go on a 3-1-1 streak to end the season and sneak into that final
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