Rangers lose in the shootout against Golden Knights; now tied for most points in NHL

The New York Rangers took on a red-hot Vegas Golden Knights at Madison Square Garden. It was a fast-paced game with some extra spice as Gerard Gallant and Ryan Reaves were looking for a win versus their former team.

A thrilling battle would ensue that required OT and a shootout to decide a winner.

Recap: Golden Knights 3 vs Rangers 2 (SO)

While there was a lot of attention on Gallant and Reaves facing off against their old squad, it was another player that stole the spotlight in the first period.

Brett Howden, who played 3 seasons in New York picked up the lone goal of the opening stanza. The 23 year-old went straight to the net and found his own rebound to beat Alexandar Georgiev just 6:49 into the game.

However, the Rangers first line of Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, and Kaapo Kakko appeared to have some extra jump in their legs in this one. Before Howden’s goal, Zibanejad barely missed on a breakaway that could’ve given them the early lead but it went wide.

New York’s biggest issues were neutral zone turnovers that led to quick transitions. It was something they needed to tighten up.

“You don’t want to lose to them because they are always chirping you,” Reaves said during the first intermission. “It was tough to be on for that first goal against but hopefully I get one and I’ll let their bench know.”

Mika gets going!

rangers golden knights
Dec 17, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) celebrates his goal against the Vegas Golden Knights with left wing Chris Kreider (20) and right wing Kaapo Kakko (24) during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Zibanejad would get the Rangers on the board right off the opening draw just 17 seconds into the second period. It was his first goal at home this season and it came off an incredible shot from above the circle. Kreider and K’Andre Miller picked up the assists.

The Rangers would take the lead thanks to their excellent power play. With Nicholas Roy in the box for slashing Zibanejad, the first PP unit went to work.

Zibanejad fired several shots from the half wall that missed their mark. Then Ryan Strome hit Zibanejad on the boards, who faked a shot and connected with Kreider for his 11th power play goal of the season.

New York completely flipped the script on Vegas dominating the middle frame and outshooting them 11-4.

“The first 15 minutes wasn’t great but after that we played real, real good hockey,” Gallant said.

Great point!

The third period was a tight affair, but it was Howden once again getting involved offensively by winning a big draw in the Rangers zone. That got the game-tying goal started as Dylan Coghlan blasted one by Georgiev, who was screened on the play with 5:16 left in the final frame.

It all set up a wild OT that saw a total of 11 shots, 7 of which were by the Rangers. However, the biggest stops in the extra session came from the pads of Georgiev as he thwarted a Max Pacioretty breakaway and flashed a pad on the rebound.

Unfortunately, Georgiev didn’t stop Jonathan Marchesseault on the Knights third shootout attempt and no Blueshirt could score on Laurent Brossoit. It was still a huge point in the standings against a legit Cup contender without Artemi Panarin and Igor Shesterkin in the lineup.

“I thought overall we played really well,” Zibanejad said afterwards. “The way we played against a really top team is something we can takeaway from and work on (things). It’s disappointing not getting two points tonight.”

The Rangers 42 points have them currently in first place in the Metro and tied atop the NHL.

Note: Capitals in action tonight against the Jets. Follow LIVE here.

Notable Rangers

  • Alexandar Georgiev saved 28 of 30 shots and 2 of 3 in the shootout.
  • Mika Zibanejad registered 1G-1A and has 4 points in his last two games
  • Chris Kreider scored his 18th goal of the season and is just 10 away from tying a career high
  • Greg McKegg played his 200th career game

Tomorrow (Saturday, Dec. 18): Day off

Sunday, Dec. 19: TBA

Next Game: Wednesday, December 22 vs. Montreal Canadiens (7:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG)

*Schedule subject to change

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