Quick, Lafreniere power Rangers to dramatic 2-1 OT win over Avalanche

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at New York Rangers
Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers last played on Jan. 26 and beat up a weaker Ottawa Senators team. When they returned to action after the NHL All-Star break against the third-best club in the league, they rallied behind a strong performance from Jonathan Quick (31 saves) for a 2-1 overtime win over the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night.

Former Blueshirts’ goalie Alexandar Georgiev came into the game sporting a .896 save percentage, but looked unbeatable for most of the night. New York didn’t capitalize on many of their chances in the game until Artemi Panarin tied it at one in the third period. After his slap shot fired up the crowd at the Garden, Alexis Lafreniere tallied this third overtime winner of the year, with a secondary assist going to the game’s first star, Quick, to give the Rangers a much-needed victory.

“It was an exciting and persistent win by our guys,” coach Peter Laviolette remarked. “In the third period, they stayed with it and finally pulled it out.”

Related: Rangers inquired about Frank Vatrano

New York Rangers 2 vs Colorado Avalanche 1 (OT)

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at New York Rangers
Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

After hanging around the game, down 1-0, with Quick standing on his head, the Rangers caught a break at 11:17 of the third period when Panarin beat Georgiev on a slap shot that knotted the contest at 1-1. With his 31st goal of the season, set up by K’Andre Miller and Braden Schneider, New York’s leading scorer is one goal shy of tying his career-best total for goals.

Initially, the Rangers didn’t get the memo that the Avalanche boasts one of the league’s best power play units, giving the visitors three chances on the man advantage in the first period. Although Colorado didn’t light the lamp in those situations, New York exerted extra energy, killing over five minutes shorthanded.

Despite getting a handful of glorious scoring chances while down a man, Nathan MacKinnon opened the scoring with an even-strength goal at 18:12. After accepting a breakout pass from Cale Makar, he skated through the neutral zone making a move when entering the zone and sniping a shot along the ice that went through Quick’s five-hole.

After a sloppy first period on both sides, which featured a combined 25 shots, the Avalanche and Rangers clamped down defensively, collecting a total of 36 over the following two periods and overtime. Ultimately, the game came down to which goalie would make a mistake first, and Quick had an answer for every save but that shot from MacKinnon, while his counterpart got beat with two shots up high over his shoulder.

The overtime session was basically all Rangers, who were buzzing for most of the third period. Quick started the play up ice and watched Mika Zibanejad drop a pass for Lafreniere. A strong move to the net, and the game was over.

“Nice play by Mika just dropping it to me,” Lafreniere smiled. “I got to the middle for a shot and it went in.”

Considering how tight the race for the Metropolitan Division has gotten over the past month, this was a momentum-building win for the Rangers. They’ll need to continue finding ways to win close games like this one, especially against a potential Stanley Cup Final opponent in June.

Rangers Notes

  • After starting the season 23-8-1, New York is now 8-8-2 in their last 18 games.
  • The Rangers drop to 2-2-1 in their last five games against the Avalanche.
  • Panarin picked up his 21st point in 20 games against Colorado.
  • Quick’s last assist came during the 2021-22 season when he was still playing with the Kings.
  • Lafreniere’s overtime winner was his 60th career goal and 14th game-winner.
  • Will Cuylle played 12:33 with one shot on goal on his 22nd birthday.

The Rangers have a busy week ahead. First, the Blueshirts will host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday before traveling to Chicago for a matchup with the Blackhawks on Friday night.

Although Ryan Gagne grew up in New England and is a Boston Bruins fan, some of his all-time favorite... More about Ryan Gagne