New York Rangers 4 Calgary Flames 3
Starting Line-up: Henrik Lundqvist- Ryan McDonagh/Anton Stralman- Chris Kreider/Derek Stepan/Rick Nash
Scratches: Arron Asham and Taylor Pyatt
- Mats Zuccarello played in his 100th NHL game
- Derick Brassard returned to the lineup after sitting out a game with a bruised tail bone
- Stepan registered his 100th career assist
- Dylan McIlrath registered his first career NHL fight in his second career NHL game
- Tonight was the first shootout of the season for the Rangers
The Rangers started out playing slow and with no motivation. As in his typical fashion, Zuccarello started the game with the same intensity he brings to every game. Brassard returned to the lineup ready to be seen. He battled hard against the boards and fought for pucks. He seemed to be everywhere and always on top of the puck. The Rangers were gifted the first power play of the night off a bad hit by Blair Jones to the back of the head on Benoit Pouliot at 1:54 in the period. The Rangers weren’t able to convert. In fact, the Rangers looked quite pitiful the most of the period. Kreider took the first Ranger penalty at 7:23 on a ridiculous call. This call was not the first horrible interference call against Kreider who managed to get a penalty because he was standing next to two Montreal Canadiens who collided as seen here. Tonight’s abomination of a call led to a Flames goal only five seconds into the power play. At 12:27 Giordano nearly took off Zuccarello’s head behind the net and the Flames were in an uproar wanting a call against Zuccarello for something non existent. Unfortunately, the Rangers were unable to convert on the power play, again. Just 33 seconds after returning to full strength, Calgary netted another shot and put the Rangers at a two goal deficit; a seemingly impossible hole to escape given recent play. It only took 25 seconds for Stepan to find the back of the net to keep the Rangers in the game. His goal at the 15:00 mark was his first goal since November 23rd and first point since December 5th. Credit Rick Nash with an assist, his third in December, and Dan Girardi with his 2nd point in two games. Girardi can actually be credited with 3 points in the last 5 games. This was the moment that got a spark lit for the Rangers. The whole team responded with life and energy despite being out shot 11-6 by Calgary.
The Rangers came out of the dressing room ready to play. This was a team on the ice that had not been seen in quite some time. Brian Boyle said during his intermission interview that the team was frustrated and it was clear from his demeanor and body language just how bad the frustration had gotten to them all. The pushing and shoving started almost immediately with guys trying to get fights started. Matching minors at 9:07 was the beginning. John Moore and Lance Bouma both went to the box, followed closely by Carl Hagelin at 9:50. Until this point, Hagelin had been showing a side of himself not seen since his return to the line-up after his shoulder surgery. At 14:19 McIlrath and Brian McGratten, a known heavyweight, finally dropped mitts. The two had been chirping quite a bit and had already been separated by the referees once. The post fight chuckle from McIlrath and the “welcome to the NHL” comment from McGratten shows what fighting in the NHL is really about. Good sportsmanship and the end of whatever disagreement occurred between the combatants. The Rangers seriously out shot the Flames in the period 12-3, there were so many good chances that were near misses, Stepan could have had a hat trick with a little more puck luck.
The Rangers again returned to the ice with drive and heart; they were ready to play and it showed. When Sean Monahan scored the go ahead goal at 4:44, the team didn’t cave or crack under the pressure; they continued to push forward. When McIlrath took a high sticking penalty at 9:48, you could hear the collective in the Garden breathe deep and sigh. The Rangers penalty kill was flawless, led by McDonagh and Girardi. After that much time on the ice I question the humanity of the team’s top pair. At 12:04 Kreider netted his eighth goal of the season with assists from Stepan and Boyle. Boyle’s assists was his first point since November 10th and is only his seventh point of the season. The Rangers had a power play opportunity late in the period when Mike Cammalleri was sent to the “sin bin” at 16:04 then a 5on3 when Kari Ramo deflected a puck for a delay of game call at 16:44. Nash was there to make sure the referee got the call right. The Rangers were unable to convert as Kreider took a double minor for high sticking at 18:04 (there’s a lot of 4s in those times). The Rangers managed to end the game tied at three to go into overtime and theywere able to out shot the Flames 10-6 in the period.
Maintaining the pressure, the Rangers were able to kill off Kreider’s penalty and still get four shots on goal; three more than the Flames could muster. The extra period ended without a goal and the Rangers out shooting the Flames 32-21 in the game.
A seven round shootout occurred with Zuccarello leading off and burying the puck deep behind Ramos. He was nearly motionless as he glided in to the net, guess who flinched first. Also scoring were Brad Richards, Dom Moore, and the winner from Pouliot. You can watch the entire shoot out here.
3rd: Curtis Glencross (Calgary) 1 goal 1 assist
2nd: Stepan 1 goal 1 assist
1st: Hagelin 1 goal
What was your favorite moment of the game? Who do you think made the biggest impact on the team?
The Rangers continue their long home stand Wednesday night against the Penguins. Get your NY Rangers tickets here for any of the four remaining home games this week.