Chytil Shines But Lightning Strikes Rangers 7-3


New York Post

To say the night was a total wash in Rangerstown is a fib. Although the score sheet says otherwise, there were many things that the Rangers look positively on. The Lightning came into town riding a three game losing streak, all while losing the top spot in the Atlantic Division to the Boston Bruins. The Rangers were fresh off a OT loss versus the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

Before the game, Son of Former NYPD Detective Steven McDonald, Sargent Conor McDonald presented Henrik Lundqvist with the Steven McDonald Extra Effort award for 2018. This is Lundqvist’s second time winning this award (2005-06) and only the second Rangers goaltender to receive the award, the other was former Ranger Cam Talbot.

This year is the 30th Anniversary of the award. Presented annually since the 1987-88 season, the award bears the name of NYPD Detective Steven McDonald, who was shot and injured in the line of duty on July 12, 1986 and passed away on January 10, 2017.

Shortly after, a combined video tribute was shown for J.T. Miller, Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh, who were all making their returns back to MSG since leaving the Rangers. Needless to say, a lot of emotion was flowing through the building as the fans roared along and gave the three, who were standing on the ice, a standing ovation in appreciation for all of the years and wonderful moments they provided for the team and it’s fans.

The puck is now dropped and the contest begins. The Rangers opened the scoring as Brady Skjei at 14:59 through the first, wristed one past Louis Domingue to get the Rangers on the board.

At the end of the first, an unexpected fight between Pavel Buchnevich and Steven Stamkos broke out suddenly. Buchnevich was given a five minute major for fighting while Stamkos was given a two minute minor for instigating and a ten minute misconduct that left him out for most of the second period.

Not too long after the start of the second period, Craig Paquette tied the game for Tampa, then just 1:18 later, Alex Killorn scores to give Tampa a 2-1 lead after knocking in his own rebound. During the second period, Chris Kreider was robbed by Louis Domingue while the Rangers were on the power play, which kept Tampa with the lead.

J.T Miller, in his return to the Garden scored a power play goal just 35 seconds into the third period to put Tampa up 3-1.

Lackadaisical play on the Rangers end leads to two more goals by Tampa by Brayden Point and Cedric Paquette (his second) to make it 5-1. Then at 8:14 of the third, a Mats Zuccarello rebound shot trickles in front of the net and rookie Filip Chytil banks it home to score his first goal of his NHL career. Congrats to Filip on this achievement.

Chris Kreider would add one more goal to the Rangers tally, making it a 5-3 game, but goals by Brayden Point (2nd of the game) and former Ranger Dan Girardi quickly put the game out of reach for New York, resulting in a 7-3 loss on the final home game this season. Although the game ended on a sour note, the night did not. The Rangers did their yearly “Blueshirts off our backs” ceremony for certain fans on the ice. Regardless of the outcome, the night ended on a positive note with this fantastic gesture.

So, that wraps up 41 games on home ice this season. The game didn’t end on a good note but there were many positives to take from this clearly emotional night for the Rangers. As always, the Steven McDonald Extra Effort award ceremony is always a highlight to look forward to, as Henrik Lundqvist is more than deserving of the award. The tribute to McDonagh, Miller and Girardi was a nice touch for three players who bled for this franchise. While we embraced the past, we got a glimpse of the future as Filip Chytil scored his first goal in what could be an incredibly fruitful NHL career, which hopefully, is the beginning of a new era of Rangers hockey. Then the usual Blueshirts off our back ceremony to cap off the night.

The night may not have ended with a win, but it certainly wasn’t a total wash. The Rangers get right back to it, as they travel to Carolina to face the Hurricanes at 7PM!

We’ll see you next year, Madison Square Garden! Lets Go Rangers!

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