There’s is nothing that can take away the pain that New York Rangers forward Dominic Moore has felt in the last couple of years, but what happened Thursday should have at least offered a temporary reprieve for the NHL journeyman.
Moore scored the only goal in the Rangers’ Game 6 win over the Montreal Canadiens, which clinched the Blueshirts’ first Stanley Cup Final appearance in two decades. By all accounts, it couldn’t have happened to a better guy.
For those unfamiliar with Moore’s story, he’s been through hell and back. He lost his wife, Katie, to a rare form of liver cancer in January of 2013. In a move that no one could blame him for, Moore decided to sit out the 2013 season coming out of the NHL lockout. The heartbreaking story was documented on an episode of ESPN’s “E:60” earlier this season.
The 33-year-old decided he’d return for the 2013-14 season, and he signed with the Rangers in July. Moore has played for nine different teams during his career, but going back to the Rangers was a return to the team he started with when he broke into the NHL during the 2003-04 season.
Moore had a serviceable year on the Rangers’ fourth line. He appeared in 73 games, scoring six goals to go along with 12 assists. He helped add to New York’s forward depth — a big reason they’re going to play for the Cup starting Wednesday.
He’s been even better in the playoffs, tallying three goals and four assists. His third goal, coming on Thursday night against Montreal, was the biggest of his career.
It has to be quite the moment for someone who’s been through so much.
“I owe a lot to my teammates for helping me get through this last year and a half,” Moore said after the game, according to NHL.com. “I feel tremendously proud to be a part of this team, especially amidst the circumstances going to the Stanley Cup Final.”
One of the best parts about Moore’s story is that his teammates swear by him. Moore is close friends with all-world goalie Henrik Lundqvist, and Lundqvist was there beside him as Moore went through that extremely difficult time. His other teammates have gotten a chance to see what kind of player and person Moore is over the course of the season, and you won’t find anyone saying anything bad about him.
“To get that game-winner, it couldn’t happen to a better guy. He deserved that one,” Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello said, also according to NHL.com. “He’s been working hard all year and been a great teammate. It was nice to see him get that.”
Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault said Thursday night that he thinks Moore has been able to find “refuge” in going to the rink and being around his teammates every day. That certainly was apparent in Game 6.
And while nothing will ever take away from what Moore’s been through, especially over the last year, it’s still nice to see good things happen to good people.