FINAL SCORE: New York Rangers -3 Columbus Blue Jackets -1
FIRST PERIOD: Let me start off by saying this, this game was the best game the Rangers played all season, and arguably one of the best games of the NHL season. Now that I’ve said that, we can get started on the post game. What the Rangers tried to do right off the bat was come out fast and take advantage of a tired Columbus team. For the most part they did just that in the beginning of the period. However, with 12 minutes left in the period Ryan McDonagh took a penalty that was successfully killed off by the Rangers but gave the Jackets some momentum. The Jackets then resorted to their style of play which is a physical one to try and intimidate the Rangers and with about nine minutes left in the period Blake Comeau delivered a huge hit on John Moore who has been reported out for tomorrow’s game and diagnosed with a concussion. Not even a minute later Benoit Pouliot broke out into a fight with Derek McKenzie and won handily and they both received five minute majors and went to their respective penalty boxes. In the final minutes of the period, the Jackets took two penalties, each within a minute and 30 seconds of each other, both of which the Rangers failed to capitalize on. The Rangers led in shots 14-9 at the end of period one.
SECOND PERIOD: This period the Rangers needed to come out and keep the pressure on the Jackets if they wanted to continue to dominate the game, they did just that. The Rangers were not intimidated by the Jackets physicality and even laid some hits of their own on the opposing team. The hitting by Columbus however truly just spoke to the amount of time the Rangers held onto the puck. The Jackets took two penalties, which again the Rangers could not convert into goals. The best scoring chance of the period came with only three minutes left when Rick Nash sprang on a breakaway, where at the end he was pushed into Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky as the puck rolled into the net and the referee waived it off as a questionable no goal call. After the whistle, Nash and Bobrovsky continued their issues that had been going on all game as Bobrovsky had taken several whacks at Nash with his stick earlier in the game. After that whistle, Bobrovksy threw Nash’s stick away and Nash proceeded to shove Bobrosvky in response, a huge scrum ensued, and Chris Kreider threw down Jackets forward Artem Anisimov and three penalties were handed out, one to Nash, one to Kreider, and the final to Anisimov. The Rangers killed off the penalty as the period came to it’s end, at the buzzer the score was still 0-0 and the Rangers led 26-15 in shots, 12-6 in the period.
THIRD PERIOD: This period was funny. 12 seconds after puck drop, Nash and Matt Calvert dropped the gloves and Nash surprised us all by using his reach and strength to win the fight, both players received five minute fighting majors and two minute roughings. A minute later, Benoit Pouliot turned the puck over in the worst way and Nick Foligno went right over Henrik Lundqvist‘s blocker and scored the game’s first goal. However, the Rangers responded immediately and Derek Stepan scored the equalizer just 44 seconds later. The only other penalty of the game came from Anton Stralman, another penalty that the Rangers successfully killed off. After much back and forth by both teams, Derick Brassard with less than nine minutes left broke the tie and gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead. Finally, with less than a minute to go, Carl Hagelin scored the empty netter to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead and secure two points coming out of Columbus. Lundqvist had 25 saves on the night and the Rangers moved into third place in their division, the Rangers ended the game with a 32-26 shots advantage.