Rangers rally again for 3-2 shootout win against Avalanche

NHL: New York Rangers at Colorado Avalanche
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The comeback kids were at it again Thursday night in Denver, when the New York Rangers rallied for a 3-2 shootout win against the Colorado Avalanche.

Artemi Panarin and Vincent Trocheck scored in the shootout for New York against Colorado goalie Alexandar Georgiev. At the other end of the ice, Igor Shesterkin stopped both shooters he faced, Casey Mittelstadt and Mikko Rantanen.

It was the Rangers’ 24th comeback win this season and eighth when trailing after two periods. The victory extended their winning streak to four straight games and the Rangers are 20-4-1 since Jan. 27.

New York defeated Colorado twice this season, also winning 2-1 in overtime at Madison Square Garden on Feb 5.

Shesterkin finished with 38 saves aginst the highest scoring team in the NHL, including game-saving stops in overtime against Artturi Lehkonen and Devon Toews.

“He was outstanding. He’s outstanding every night,” Trocheck said about Shesterkin. “Overtime tonight, he made some huge stops and then in the shootout against some high- powered talented forwards.”

Georgiev made 23 saves, including a clutch one with his glove against Trocheck as the horn sounded to end overtime.

The game Thursday marked the first time Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon was held scoreless in a home game this season. He had at least one point in 35 consecutive games at Ball Arena until the Rangers held him off the scoresheet.

“It certainly was a big effort by everybody in the room. And you need that when you’re playing those top teams,” coach Peter Laviolette said.

Related: Analyzing Rangers playoff history based on regular-season finishes

New York Rangers 3 – Colorado Avalanche 2 (SH)

NHL: New York Rangers at Colorado Avalanche
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

There wasn’t a lot of open ice in the first two periods, though there were better scoring chances in the second period than in the first, when each team played stifling defense and the shots were 6-6.

It would’ve been fitting in such an evenly contested first 40 minutes if the Rangers and Avalanche headed into the second intermission deadlocked in a scoreless game. But Mittelstadt blew up that scenario, sniping a wrist shot from the right circle far side past Shesterkin’s blocker with 32.1 seconds remaining in the second period to give Colorado a 1-0 lead.

Seven minutes earlier, Shesterkin had kept the game scoreless when he robbed Rantanen from the seat of his pants in the crease before Adam Fox cleared the puck out of danger.

Despite that prime scoring chance with an open net for the Avalanche, it was the Rangers who had the best scoring chances in the period. At 5:40, Panarin was sprung on a breakaway on a long stretch pass from Shesterkin. But Panarin’s forehand shot was by denied by Georgiev.

The former Rangers goalie also made a stellar blocker save on Chris Kreider’s one-timer from the left circle at 7:19. Then at 10:03, near the end of a successful Rangers penalty kill, Trocheck rang a short-handed shot off the post.

The Rangers finally broke through with consecutive goals in the third period to take a 2-1 lead. A fantastic effort by Kaapo Kakko resulted in the forward scoring from behind the goal line at 2:59. Kakko banked his 11th goal off the back of Georgiev after the puck had pinballed through the crease.

Kreider scored a power-play goal at 9:35 to give New York its first lead. Panarin’s shot hit Trocheck in front and the puck caromed to a wide open Kreider, who shoveled his 34th goal of the season into the net.

It was Kreider’s first goal in five games and the 299th of his NHL career. It was also the 106th power-play goal of his career, tying him with Brian Leetch for third most in Rangers history.

Colorado challenged the goal, claiming there was a hand pass before it was scored. The on-ice call was upheld and the Avalanche were assessed a two-minute minor for the failed challenge. However, the Rangers couldn’t score again on the power play and that caught up to them moments later when the Avalanche tied the game at 12:47.

Toews was credited with the tying goal after the rebound of his shot was mistakenly batted into his own net by Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren.

Lindgren was back in the Rangers lineup after missing four games with a lower-body injury. He reclaimed his spot on the top defensive pair with Fox and made his presence felt immediately in the first period when he blocked two shots. He ended up with 21:11 in ice time in his return.

Fox left the game late in the third period when he was hit in the face by the puck and did not play in overtime. He was on the bench for the shootout, however.

The Rangers go for their fifth straight win when they visit the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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