Rangers get two big goals from Ryan Reaves to overpower Maple Leafs 6-3
The New York Rangers took on the Toronto Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden after a five game road trip. They did so with a full lineup for the first time since the Holiday Break in December.
Barclay Goodrow and Alexis Lafreniere both returned from COVID protocol. Meanwhile, Dryden Hunt was available after a stint on IR, but was scratched in favor of Greg McKegg.
It was a key decision for Gerard Gallant, as McKegg set up Ryan Reaves for his first goal as a Ranger to get the Garden party rolling.
Recap: Rangers 6 vs Maple Leafs 3
The opening period was one the Rangers would sure like a redo on.
Toronto came out fast and aggressive while the Blueshirts didn’t appear ready to compete. In the span of 46 seconds they were down by two goals.
First it was Ilya Mikheyev cashing in a rebound all alone in front. That was followed up by a PP goal from Mitch Marner after a questionable tripping call on Chris Kreider. In both cases the Rangers failed to compete and lost their coverage responsibilities.
Ryan Reaves would give the Garden crowd something to cheer with his first goal as a Blueshirt. McKegg was the key to the entire play as his hit turned over the puck to Adam Fox, who sent it back to him in the corner. McKegg made a great backhand pass to Reaves alone in front for the tally, which was the enforcer’s 50th of his career.
Unfortunately, the Rangers could not build off of that momentum and Toronto scored less than 5 minutes later. Michael Bunting went hard to the net and the puck hit off his leg and past Igor Shesterkin, who made just 8 saves on 11 shots.
Rangers flip the script
The Blueshirts put themselves in a hole early during the first period but as they’ve shown all season, their resiliency is top tier. From the opening draw of the middle stanza the Rangers took it to the Leafs and tied the game.
Once again, it was a determined Reaves. Tracking a K’Andre Miller shot that went behind the net, he put it by Jack Campbell. For Reaves it was his first multi-goal game since 2013 as he cut the lead to 3-1 just 2:58 in.
New York would stay persistent throughout the period and would knot the game at three apiece. With 2:11 on the clock, Fox read the play to convert a great setup by Ryan Strome as he snuck in from the point.
New York Rangers blow by Leafs
The Garden was alive with energy for the start of the third period and it carried the Blueshirts. Despite, the Leafs throwing desperate shot after desperate shot on goal, Shesterkin stood tall.
Strome would break the tie a little past the midway point by streaking to the net. He deftly put home a partially blocked Ryan Lindgren shot for his 9th goal of the year and second point of the game.
Kreider scored the backbreaker goal on a set play. Off the draw by Zibanejad, he slid over to the net and buried a Jacob Trouba rebound for his 25th goal with 4:27 remaining.
Auston Matthews cut the lead soon after, but a video review showed he distinctly kicked in the puck. After the disallowed goal, the Rangers were on their heels as the Leafs pulled the goalie with over three minutes left.
On a late draw, Fox retrieved the puck in the corner and fired one dead center at 200′ to close out the game 6-3. It was his second goal of the night and third point.
When it was all said and done, Igor Shesterkin improved his record to 12-0-0 when facing 37+ shots. New York is now 11-0-2 when leading or tied after two periods at home.
Many felt this was a measuring stick game for the Blueshirts coming in. Maybe, it’s becoming the other way around.
“I think we know it,” Reaves said as relayed by Mollie Walker of the NY Post. “I think maybe some of the league doesn’t believe it, but let them keep [not] believing it. We’re gonna keep doing our thing and, I mean, the standings don’t lie.”
- Igor Shesterkin gave up three in the first and shut it down the rest of the way with 35 saves
- Ryan Reaves scored his first goal as a Ranger, then added another. He was the first star
- Adam Fox finished with 2 goals, 1 assist, and a +4
- Six Rangers had multi-point games (Fox, Reaves, Strome, Panarin, Zibanejad, and Panarin)
Tomorrow (Thursday, January 20): Practice at MSG Training Center (12:00 p.m. ET)
Next Game: Friday, January 21 at Carolina Hurricanes (7:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG)
*Schedule subject to change
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