May 8, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing Carl Hagelin (62) handles the puck against the Washington Capitals during the second period in game four of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

After The Horn: Minnesota Wild At New York Rangers Recap

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers’ recent struggles have been nothing short of disappointing and frustrating. Tonight, they looked to end those struggles when they welcomed the Minnesota Wild into Madison Square Garden. Cam Talbot got the start in goal as Henrik Lundqvist got a much-needed rest.

In the first period and the first few minutes, the Rangers didn’t look too bad. They were getting some chances and working their forecheck which got the offensive juices flowing. Until Ryan Suter walked in and fed a beautiful pass to Jason Pominville and he made no mistake as he tipped the puck past Talbot to make the game 1-0. After this goal, it seemed as though all of the life was immediately sucked out of the Rangers. The Wild began to dominate the pace of play and were really sticking it to the boys in blue. With about four minutes left in the period, they finally got what they wanted. On the powerplay, Ryan McDonagh threw a saucer pass over to Benoit Pouliot who managed to deflect the air-lifted pass just inside the post to tie the game at one. The Rangers got some much-needed life and The Garden was reawakened. The period ended with the teams knotted at one a piece.

The Rangers entered the second period with confidence and positive vibes, and rightly so. After all, they dominated the second half of the opening stanza. The good play continued from New York as they got back to their forecheck and offensive pressure. After killing off a penalty taken by Brian Boyle, he came out of the penalty box and assisted on Carl Hagelin’s goal, which made the game 2-1. It was a stoppable shot for Niklas Backstrom, but he could not manage to glove the puck as it slipped through and went into the net. The Rangers continued their pressure throughout the remainder of the period and put another goal on the board with 1:17 left as Mats Zuccarello got on the score-sheet. The Blueshirts took a two-goal lead into the third stanza which in recent times is an area where they have had great success.

New York continued to carry over their dominance into the third, and with about six minutes remaining, Chris Kreider’s shot took a quick change of pace and managed to find it’s way through the five-hole of Backstrom, giving the Rangers a 4-1 lead. This goal put the game out of reach for Minnesota, and the Blueshirts cruised off into the night with a 4-1 victory and two points in the bank.

This was a win that the Rangers most certainly needed. They have been down in spirits the last couple of games, which could be the possible explanation for their poor play. Tonight however, they were all smiles and it seems as if a huge weight has been lifted off of the team’s shoulders.

Could this be a turning point in their season? Very possible. Talbot remained strong when he needed to be and was able to backstop his team to a much-needed victory, Talbot’s seventh of his young NHL career. The team’s battle-level was there, and they competed for almost the entirety of the game, which is pleasant to see.

It’s a quick turn-around for New York as they face the Toronto Maple Leafs tomorrow night to close out their nine-game homestand.

Things will not get any easier from here for the Rangers, but this is definitely a win that they could build off of and start generating some winning streaks as they look to climb back up the ladder in the Metropolitan division.

-Andrew (@a_graz24)

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