Rangers Win Fourth Straight, Move Into Second Place
The night began with a celebration and it ended with one too. The Rangers honored Henrik Lundqvist with gifts before the game and Ryan McDonagh gave him one more in OT!
When it was all said and done, the Rangers took sole possession of second place in the Metro division thanks to the Kings beating the Flyers earlier.
Martin St. Louis and Derek Stepan were game time decisions coming into the match against the Coyotes, but played due to the importance of these points. In the end the Rangers defenders were the ones that assured the Rangers their fourth victory in a row.
After the Rangers played a sloppy first period, where nothing seemed to go right including losing in the face off dot 16-6. Phoenix skaters had tons of ice in front of Lundqvist and they took full advantage as the Coyotes went up 2-0, including a power play rocket by Oliver Ekman. The Coyotes penalty kill looked far better than 27th best in the league as they made the Rangers seem completely inept with the man advantage. When the period ended the Garden booed the Rangers for their lack of effort.
New York woke up after the first intermission and started laying down massive body checks and setting the tone. Carl Hagelin’s shot from the blue line went off of Brad Richards stick to go 5 hole on Mike Smith to cut the deficit to 1. The Rangers now had the momentum and were forcing turnovers in the offensive zone including a short handed chance from Rick Nash before Derick Brassard continued his recent dominance and scored five minutes after the Richards goal. The Rangers tied the game but an unfortunate deflection off Chris Krieder’s stick gave the Coyotes a 3-2 lead at the second intermission.
Twenty minutes were left to dig deep and get it done. The Rangers went hard to the net and Derick Brassard landed awkwardly and unintentionally on Mike Smith who tweaked his leg and left the game. The Coyotes don’t know how bad the injury is and how long Mike Smith will be out but the Coyotes playoff hunt may come to an end as a result. Thomas Greiss came in and the Blueshirts tested him often. Finally they broke through as Dan Girardi deflected a Ryan McDonagh shot past Greiss in the final two minutes to tie the game at 3-3 late in the third.
In overtime, Ryan McDonagh was all alone in front to put home a Dan Girardi rocket that Greiss couldn’t control. The juicy rebound was like a Christmas present and McDonagh took full advantage of it. The Rangers despite their poor play take another two points and look towards Philadelphia with sole possession of the second spot in the Metropolitan division following the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 win over the Flyers. The Rangers will have to bring their A game for all 60 minutes and maybe more to beat the Flyers and push forward in their playoff hopes.
So on Lundqvist Night, the Rangers didn’t let anyone down and put a cherry on top of a great affair.