St. Louis came to New York in March in a deal in which popular team captain Ryan Callahan was shipped to Tampa Bay. When he didn’t light up the scoreboard right away, the Madison Square Garden crowd was slow to warm to him.
That all changed Sunday night.
St. Louis rejoined his teammates for Game 5 in Pittsburgh on Friday, after a quick trip to Montreal to be with his family. That dedication inspired his teammates during a 5-1 win and carried over to Sunday.
“It’s probably one of the cooler things I’ve been a part of in my professional career,” said Derek Stepan, who earned the first assist on St. Louis‘ goal. “The emotion on that goal is something that I will never forget.”
Fans were already chanting “Mar-ty, Mar-ty” on his first shift. The cheers got louder after he scored. St. Louis, the first star of the game, patted his heart when he came out to an ovation from the crowd.
“Mother’s Day, my dad is here, my sister is here,” St. Louis said. “It’s been a tough time for my whole family. To be able to get the lead in the first period, it was a good one.”
“I got a pretty good bounce,” St. Louis said. “I know (my mother) helped me through this. It’s a great win by the guys.”
The Penguins, who led the series 3-1, failed in their first attempt to advance to the Eastern Conference finals with a 5-1 home loss on Friday. Now the pressure has shifted to them, and frustration is showing.
Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby took a penalty at the end of the second period that gave the Rangers a power play to start the third. Several scrums also broke out - including one after the final buzzer.