Kings pull out Hollywood ending in win over Rangers

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The Rangers came into tonight’s contest following a strong comeback attempt against the Tampa Bay Lightning. They fell short on Saturday night, but the effort was unquestionable as David Quinn’s squad pushed for the equalizer until the final whistle. Tonight, however, the Kings found the equalizer with 60 seconds remaining in regulation, allowing Tyler Toffoli to play the hero just 25 seconds into overtime.

Chris Kreider – The team’s leading goal scorer added to his total as the power forward got the Rangers on the board in the first period with his 24th goal of the season. Kreider was the recipient of a great pass from defenseman Tony DeAngelo – in the lineup for the healthy scratch Cody McLeod – giving Kreider a simple tap-in from the top of the crease.

The 27-year-old Kreider has played some of the best hockey of his career under David Quinn this season. And while there are rumors he may be on his way off Broadway, it’d be wise for the Rangers to keep Kreider around as a piece for the Rangers to build around in the coming years.

Mika Zibanejad – Perhaps the hottest player in the league, Mika Zibanejad scored his 21st goal of the season to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead in the second period. After Mats Zuccarello had his shot saved by Jonathan Quick, the Swedish center quickly got to the loose puck and poked it into the net.

Zibanejad also added an assist on Chris Kreider’s goal, which made him the first player in franchise history to record a point on ten consecutive team goals. If there was one skater that can be guaranteed to be “safe” during the upcoming roster purge at the deadline, Mika Zibanejad would be that player.

Adam McQuaid – The Rangers’ top line weren’t the only ones putting the puck into the net in this one as rugged defenseman Adam McQuaid got his first as a member of the Blueshirts to give his team a 3-2 third period lead. Former Ranger Carl Hagelin chipped the puck up the boards to the waiting McQuaid, who took a wrister that snuck by a screened Quick.

McQuaid is, in this writer’s opinion, almost guaranteed to be moved at the deadline, as playoff-bound teams may be looking to add size and experience to their blue line. It’s always nice seeing a guy get his first with the club, but having it come in a loss will make it a bittersweet moment for the veteran defenseman.

Neal Pionk – It has been a rough season for the young defenseman. Pionk has played in 47 of the team’s 52 games this season, but he hasn’t been as steady as he was when he first got called up toward the end of last season. It was Pionk who iced the puck before Anze Kopitar took advantage of the tired Rangers and lifted a backhander behind Henrik Lundqvist. It was also Pionk who was a little late getting over to the unmarked Kopitar, giving the LA captain the time and space to pick his spot for the goal.

Throughout the season, we have seen David Quinn be quick in sending a player to the press box – affectionately known as the Quinn Bin – for making costly mistakes. Don’t be surprised, as NY Post best writer Brett Cyrgalis tweets, if Pionk isn’t dressed for Wednesday night’s contest against the Bruins.

Unable to Close – The Rangers held a 3-2 lead heading into the final 90 seconds of the game. Then, Adrian Kempe scored his second of the night with exactly 1:00 to go in the third before Tyler Toffoli won the game for the visitors just 25 seconds into the extra frame. Coach Quinn summed it up perfectly in his postgame remarks: “We have a tendency at times, when we’re winning 2-1, to act like it’s 5-1,” coach David Quinn said. “Just such a fine line between winning and losing at this level. You have to finish the job.” Perhaps these are just the growing pains of a rebuilding team, but David Quinn’s squad needs to figure it out sooner rather than later.

Next Game: The Rangers return to action on Wednesday night against the Boston Bruins at MSG. Puck drops at 8!


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