New York Rangers 4 Phoenix Coyotes 3
After the congratulatory ceremony for Henrik Lundqvist the game got off to a horrible start. It was the Coyotes who struck first and Lundqvist’s Team Sweden team mate, Oliver Ekman-Larsson got the credit. At 4:40 in the first Ekman-Larsson beat Lundqvist top shelf after Rick Nash went to the box for tripping Keith Yandle at 4:11. Mats Zuccarello was his usual “in your face self as he tried to get his team fired up. The Coyotes were undoubtedly faster on the ice than the Rangers who seemed to be suffering from flu effects more than they might have expected. Derick Brassard took what appeared to be a stick or elbow to the mouth that left him bleeding but no call from the referees. There were a host of penalties called from Mike Ribeiro serving the too many men on the ice penalty assessed at 12:09, followed by Keith Yandle sitting for tripping Derek Dorsett at 15:30. The latter penalty was negated by a holding call assessed to Benoit Pouliot at 16:42. The holding wasn’t visible but Zuccarello was really good at barrel rolling a big guy on the boards. The teams headed to the dressing rooms with the Coyotes out shooting the Rangers 11-10 and leading 2-0.
The teams got back on the ice and started out slowly. There were a lot of little whistles but at 6:10 Brad Richards tipped the puck past Mike Smith for the Rangers first goal of the game. At 7:52 Ryan McDonagh took a little “time out” for hooking Martin Erat. The Rangers were strong on the penalty kill. The Rangers picked up some momentum from the kill and started playing tighter and a little more physical. Around the 10:45 mark Smith passed the puck to his defender across the crease and as the defender tried to make a pass Martin St. Louis was able to get his stick on the puck just enough to slow it down and keep it in the zone. Zuccarello got a shot on goal that was blocked and through the traveling deflections, Derick Brassard beat smith to tie the game at two. The physical aspect of the game picked up and things started getting chippy. The referees seemed to put the whistles away and the game got rough. Smith stood tall for the Coyotes but the Rangers battled their way back into the game and really started getting good scoring opportunities. Smith was hot with his glove making huge saves on shots by both Carl Hagelin and Derek Stepan. In a HUGE gaffe, Chris Kreider scored an own goal right through the “five hole” of Lundqvist at 16:51, the credit went to Kyle Chipchura. The teams headed to the dressing room with the Rangers outshooting the Coyotes 11-6 but down one goal, and very unhappy. Stepan played very little during the period, presumably due to flu fatigue.
The referees put the whistles away completely. Bodies were flying but no calls. The lines were altered considerably due to flu problems. Nash played on the line with Brassard and Zuccarello. with around 9:40 remaining, Kevin Klein completely dumped over Erat and he didn’t leave the ice looking very comfortable. Brian Boyle Started the game strong and continued to make his presence felt bot on and off the puck through the entire game. Brassard was pushed into the goal with just over seven and a half minutes left in the period. The push landed Brassard on top of Smith and he immediately reached for his right knee. After being helped off the ice, there was a goal tender change and Thomas Greiss came into the game cold. Things only got worse from there. At 13:09 matching minors were given to Hagelin and David Moss. A mere 30 seconds later, Marc Staal went to the box after Ekman-Larsson sold a really bad holding call. The Rangers killed the five on three penalty and the man advantage to keep themselves in the game. Boyle had a great breakaway chance with Hagelin but there was no lane for a pass and Boyle missed his shot on net a bit wide. The Rangers didn’t give up and kept getting the puck on net. Dan Girardi deflected the puck into the net at 16:32 to tie the game back up at three. A flurry of chances and nearly a second goal for Girardi but the puck just wasn’t going in the net just yet. The teams went to overtime with the Rangers out shooting the Coyotes 12-4.
There were several good chances and great plays as the Rangers were on the puck hard. There were three shots on goal, all from the Rangers and McDonagh drilled the puck into a wide open net at 1:56 to end the game. The Rangers out shot the Coyotes 36-21 for the game.
The Rangers play again on Wednesday night as they host the Philadelphia Flyers at 8pm for the NBCSN “Rivalry Night” game. Tonight’s win, and a Flyers loss, lifted the Rangers to second place in the Metropolitan Division.