Rangers Recall: Clutch power play does it again

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at New York Rangers
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers tied a franchise record with their 53rd win of the season set by the 2014-15 club. By defeating the Montreal Canadiens 5-2 on Sunday, their magic number to take the Metropolitan Division is down to four points.

It was a special evening at Madison Square Garden that began with the hard-working Vincent Trocheck being named the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award winner as voted on by the fans. In just his second season on Broadway, the 30-year-old center has garnered respect for his hard-hat style displayed on a nighty basis, leading to 75 points (25 goals, 50 assists) in 78 games.

“You always want the fans on your side so it’s nice to have them on my side,” Trocheck said. “It means a lot to me and I feel very welcome.”

Once the puck was dropped, the Rangers hit a brick wall in young Cayden Primeau, who stopped all 16 shots he faced in the first period, en route to a 41 save performance. Montreal even grabbed a 1-0 lead after a late scramble that witnessed Cole Caufield bank one in off Igor Shesterkin.

Of course, being down at any point in a match does not faze the Blueshirts, who once again rallied to victory, and used their power play to do it.

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Rangers Recall: Clutch Power-Play Goals

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at New York Rangers
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

For the third straight game, the Rangers broke a third period tie using their lethal power play.

After Mika Zibanejad knotted things up on the man advantage in the middle stanza, it was Mr. Power-Play goal himself, Chris Kreider, tipping a shot in front to break the deadlock 3:59 into the final frame. A scene that felt like déjà vu after doing it to the New Jersey Devils and Detroit Red Wings in the previous two games.

For the always humble net-front monster, it was his 109th career power-play goal surpassing the great Rod Gilbert for second place in Rangers history. Only Camille Henry (116) scored more power-play goals, a mark that Kreider should be able to reach before his time is time is up on Broadway.

“We were a little lucky on the first one,” Panarin sarcastically joked with reporters. “But it was a good idea, like you guys like. Just try to shoot the puck to the net no matter what, even if you don’t see anything, just shoot it.”

Meanwhile, Panarin had a goal and three assists to up his totals to 115 points (46 goals, 69 assists). With four more games left to play, he needs 8 points to tie Jaromir Jagr’s franchise record with 123 points set in 2005-06.

Thanks to their red-hot power play, New York was able to notch their 27th comeback win of the season, and now lead the entire NHL in that category. Adding to their ‘No Quit in New York’ lore, it was also the 20th win for the Blueshirts after giving up the first goal in a game, a new franchise record.

New York’s power play ranks fourth in the League at 26.4 percent for the season. However, in their last three games (3-0-0), they have scored four times on the man advantage for a 44.4 percent success rate. Not bad, with the playoffs around the corner.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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