After a spirited and hard-fought victory against the Minnesota Wild last night, the New York Rangers looked to have repeated success when they welcomed the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second game of a back-to-back and it was also the last game of the Rangers’ long nine-game homestand.
The first period was wide-open as both teams were skating well and trading chances. Multiple times, Mason Raymond of Toronto was able to break free but he was denied by Talbot. The Rangers had a few chances of their own too which were stopped by goaltender Jonathan Bernier. Overall, it was a good period that featured back and forth hockey, which some people love and some people hate. There was no scoring as the period ended with the teams tied at 0-0.
In the second period we saw much of the same play, except the Rangers were pushing a little harder to try and get that first goal. Both goalies were playing fantastic, stopping everything that was sent their way. Late in the period the Leafs got into some penalty trouble which gave the Rangers a brief 17 second five-on-three, but they couldn’t capitalize. The second period ended scoreless and the Rangers would have some PP time to work with to start the third. Up to this point, New York was doing everything right except putting the puck in the net.
In the third period the Rangers finally made their breakthrough when J.T. Miller gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead off a beautiful pass from Chris Kreider. It looked like they were going to secure two points until the Leafs tied the game with just over a minute left. Now, you can look at this however you want but if the ref’s intent is to blow the whistle, the goal should be called off. Talbot had the puck under his pad and video replay shows the ref’s whistle in his hand ready to blow, but it was called a goal and the teams headed to OT. Nazem Kadri was credited with the goal.
The extra five-minute period was filled with excitement and more back and forth play between the two sides. Both teams had quality chances to put the game away but couldn’t convert as the goaltenders remained strong. It would have to be decided by a shootout.
Van Riemsdyk (Miss)
Final score: Rangers 2, Leafs 1 (SO)
This was yet again another gritty and confident win by the Blueshirts. They looked to have faith in themselves and battled hard for 60 minutes, and better yet they ended their nine-game homestand with two wins in a row against Minnesota and Toronto.
The Rangers will head into the holiday break feeling good, they are back at .500 with a record of 18-18-2.
They now get three days of rest until they head into Washington to play the Capitals to begin a five-game road trip.
Here are my personal three stars from the game:
Enjoy the holidays everybody!