Friday marks the 18th anniversary of Mark Messier's famous guarantee, but they'll be no such proclamations from the current Rangers heading into Friday's game six because there was only one Messiah.
He came to New York with five Stanley Cup rings and led the Rangers to victory through the sheer power of his will. Not even Brian Leetch, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1994, could do that.
Messier was the only man brave enough, strong enough and courageous enough to slay the dragons and overcome
the curse of "1940".
His hat trick against the Devils on May 25, 1994 -- after he guaranteed a victory - ranks as the single greatest clutch performance by an individual in a team sport that I have ever seen -- better than Reggie Jackson's three home runs in game six of the 1977 World Series.
There are really only two guarantees in New York sports that mean anything. One was Joe Namath guaranteeing the Jets would beat the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III and the other was Messier (how many times did Knicks center Patrick Ewing make a fool of himself by guaranteeing a victory?)
The Rangers were coming off a bad 4-1 loss to New Jersey in game five of the Eastern Conference finals to fall behind 3-2 in the series.
They then faced a 2-0 deficit in game six at the Meadowlands and their season appeared to be doomed. What people might not remember is that Mike Richter made a number of key saves in the second period, when the Rangers were getting badly outplayed to keep it a two-goal game.
The Rangers began their comeback on a goal by Alexi Kovalev late in the second period. The third period was the stuff of legends.
Messier converted a pass from Leetch to tie it. He then knocked in a rebound of a shot by Kovalev to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead. Mess completed his hat trick with an empty-net goal.
Here's is Howie Rose's call of Messier's third goal that sealed a 4-2 victory:
"Messier gets it back, shoots it all the way down and SCORES! Messier hits the open net. That's a hat trick for captain Mark Messier.
So, where were you on May 25, 1994 for one of the most legendary nights in New York sports history?