New York Rangers rally past Wild in star-studded evening
The New York Rangers found themselves down 2-0 after one period of play until the literal stars aligned to watch them rally by the Minnesota Wild.
Henrik Lundqvist in his new role as Madison Square Garden Ambassador sat center ice with two Hollywood stars in Ryan Reynolds and Alexander Skarsgård. As each actor was introduced, they gave Lundqvist a giant kiss on the cheek which set the home crowd buzzing.
Of course, the biggest cheers were left for the players on the ice as they overcame a hard-hitting Wild squad for a 4-3 shootout victory.
“We really liked our game,” said K’Andre Miller, who started the comeback. “The biggest thing we learned about ourselves last year was our third period good play was going to get results.”
New York Rangers rally by Wild
The Blueshirts came out of the game with a head of steam that led to two early power plays. However, the Wild penalty kill and the clutch goaltending of Marc-Andre Fleury shifted the momentum away.
Minnesota opened the scoring when Jon Merrill used a puck on edge plus a screen to beat Igor Shesterkin with 7:24 remaining in the first period. That was then followed by a Kirill Kaprizov laser from the left circle that the Rangers goalie would’ve liked a do-over as he failed to play his angle correctly.
Former Ranger Ryan Reaves, who accused management before the game for not communicating better with him about the trade picked up an assist on the Kaprizov tally. Despite the disconnect, the Jumbotron showed a little tribute video and he received a warm ovation.
In the second period, the Rangers dug in their skates and outplayed the Wild the rest of the way.
K’Andre Miller scored another one of his great individual effort goals as he outmuscled and sped by Wild defenders. The ever-improving defenseman then took the puck top shelf over Fleury just 2:37 into the middle frame. Jimmy Vesey was credited with the only assist.
Adam Fox would tie it unassisted with just a little over four minutes to go as he used Vincent Trocheck as a decoy on an odd man rush. The Blueshirts leading scorer among defenders launched a shot that banked over Fleury’s arm to set up a dramatic third period.
“I thought we played great,” Fox said. “They got two early… I didn’t want to read too much into the scoreboard but we battled hard in the second and third period and got two points.”
Things didn’t exactly go the way the Rangers wanted to start the final stanza as another former Ranger was trying to stick it to them. Mats Zuccarello took a high shot that was likely heading for the glass but was deflected in Shesterkin’s glove for a 3-2 advantage at 4:33.
At the 13:35 mark, the Rangers tied the game epitomized by their No Quit New York attitude that was their mantra all last season. On a shift that lasted 1:40 in the Wild zone, Filip Chytil would score the equalizer after an incredible play by Fox. Miller, who recorded the first goal also registered an assist.
“When you have possession and you have good opportunities to shoot and you get chances, that’s what we had the whole shift,” Chytil said via NHL.com. “At the end we scored not the nicest goal, but important and a big goal for our team.”
The Rangers were given a glorious chance in overtime to win the game with a too-many men penalty but failed to capitalize. They went 0-3 on the power play in the contest.
In the end, Artemi Panarin scored the decisive shootout goal over a sprawled Fleury and Shesterkin stopped Frederick Gaudreau on the the final attempt to complete the comeback.
It was an exciting victory for the Rangers but concern now shifts to Chris Kreider and Julien Gauthier. Both players were hurt and forced to leave the game with upper-body injuries. Head coach Gerard Gallant updated their status noting they will be re-evaluated on Wednesday.
The Blueshirts next game is Thursday at home versus the Dallas Stars.
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