In come from behind fashion, the New York Rangers overcame a 2-0 deficit to win 4-3 against the Phoenix Coyotes. More importantly, another two points were secured by the Blueshirts, moving them past the Philadelphia Flyers for second place in the Metropolitan Division. Here are the game’s three stars according to NHL.com:
1st star was awarded to defenseman Ryan McDonagh. What can you say, he is cementing himself as a premier defenseman in the NHL. In last night’s game, he finished with three points and a +3 goal differential. His two helpers were at crucial points in the game, where the team needed to even the score. In overtime, he snuck to the front of the net, collected the rebound, and buried the game winning goal.
2nd star honors went to his defense partner Dan Girardi. The last two goals seemed to be why they are the top defense pairing on the Rangers team. His goal in the last 3:30 minutes tied the game and forced overtime. It was a nice tip-in goal from McDonagh, who blasted a shot on net from the point. To pay his partner back, he shot a slapper from the back end, which eventually lead to McDonagh’s game winning goal. He finished the game with two points and a +3 goal differential.
3rd star recognition went to Phoenix Coyotes centerman Kyle Chipchura. On a night that honored Henrik Lundqvist’s recent accomplishments, he and his teammates made every effort to spoil the party. Chipchura assisted on Jeff Halpern’s goal, which opened the scoring in the 1st period. Later, he would bank a goal off a gaffe from Rangers forward Chris Kreider, which caught Lundqvist off guard. He would finish the game with two points.
My three stars are much the same as the NHL’s. I definitely agree on the first and second stars. However, I believe the third star should have gone to Phoenix’s Mike Smith. He had less than eight minutes left to play before Derick Brassard accidentally fell onto him from an apparent push from Smith’s own defenseman. Despite his injury in the 3rd period, he was able to withstand the Rangers barrage and kept his team in the game. Before he left, he stopped 25 of 27 shots on goal. That was a .926 save percentage. Who knows if the outcome might have been different?