New York Rangers 2 Colorado Avalanche 3
It took 2:10 for John Moore to blast a shot right past Semyon Varlamov. It was a beautiful pass from Mats Zuccarello and a perfect screen by Derick Brassard to put the Rangers on the board first. The teams played a very even back and forth game. Rick Nash and Kevin Klein teamed up for a shot and a rebound attempt but Varlamov was able to stop both. As the puck cleared the zone, Colorado had a similar occurrence against Henrik Lundqvist. Line changes were frequent, due to the altitude. There were some line adjustments with the fourth line and trying to place Daniel Carcillo somewhere that he would fit best. The Avalanche brought their physical game early with Cody McLeod laying some big hits along the boards. Gabriel Landeskog came in late against Derek Dorsett without the puck anywhere in sight. The referees didn’t catch the late hit but they caught Dorsett’s retaliation and he went to the box at 13:33 in the period. The Avalanche had some good chances but Lundqvist was brilliant in net and stopped the only two shots he faced during the Avalanche’s power play. Just after the penalty expired, Landeskog went to the box for hooking Zuccarello at 16:50 in the period. The Avalanche had a fair chance of scoring short-handed, but Lundqvist stood tall. The teams went to their dressing rooms with the Avalanche leading in shots 9-8.
The teams came out quick. Brassard and Benoit Pouliot nearly caught Varlamov out of position after only two minutes of play. At the other end, the Avalanche had a strong chance on Lunqqvist. The first five minutes went by slowly with several icing whistles. Then the Rangers opened it up and started getting some shots on goal and fair scoring chances until 5:57 when Andre Benoit beat Lundqvist on an odd man rush to tie the game at one. At 7:10 it looked like a repeat performance but Lundqvist got some puck luck and managed to keep the game in check. After some shoving between Carcillo and Patrick Bordeleau Brassard ended up heading to the box for hooking at 8:38. The Rangers did a great job killing off the penalty and got their chance on the power play at 11:10 when McLeod had a two-minute sit down for holding Raphael Diaz‘s stick. Martin St. Louis had a huge break-away with about 7:30 remaining, the shot off the rebound also missed but it was great to watch unfold.After the power play ended McLeod ended up hitting the boards in a very awkward way and left the ice assisted but his team’s trainer and another player. As play resumed, Derek Stepan sent a zinger past Varlamov’s shoulder on a breakaway at 15:30. Just 15 seconds later, John Mitchell went to the box for interference. Honestly, Carcillo sold the hit pretty well. During the power play, Zuccarello did what he does best and stirred up the mud. after all the players were separated Zuccarello was in the middle of the scrum and Brassard was trying to throw people off his line-mate. Despite having some good scoring chances, the Rangers couldn’t convert. With 49 seconds remaining in the period, Brassard went to the box for holding. Then Stepan got tripped by Landeskog to negate the power play after only about 30 seconds.The period ended with the teams skating 4-on-4 and 1:12 left to carry over to the third period. The Rangers dominated the shots with 15 to the Avalanche’s seven.
McLeod did not return for the third period as his team emerged from the dressing room. After the 4-on-4 the Rangers got a 29 second power play that did not yield a goal. Bordeleau went down into the boards and drew a penalty on Dominic Moore. It was a dive. If you aren’t sure about it, look at how easily Bordeleau moved in front of the Rangers bench. Then he got up and moved so easily on his own bench. At the beginning of the penalty kill, Brian Boyle had a great breakaway but just couldn’t get the puck in the net, nor the rebound, and not on his third attempt. It was a great effort. After the penalty expired the teams exchanged shots on goal with both goal tenders playing strong. Landeskog went back to the box at 7:26 for slashing, more like chopping, Brassard’s arm. Colorado did a fair job killing the penalty as the Rangers, again, failed to convert with the man advantage. As the game approached the 10 minute mark the intensity really started to pick up. The Avalanche got some strong pressure on Lundqvist but the King would not be dethroned. The pressure stayed on the Rangers’ at the pressure stayed firmly in place. It wasn’t until 51.4 seconds remained in the game, that the Avalanche were able to tie the game at two. The Avalanche out shot the Rangers 16-3 to send the game into overtime.
There were huge shots by both teams and the pressure stayed on both goalies; waiting to see who would crack first. Neither goalie showed a weakness. The final minutes was all Rangers as they skillfully kept the puck in the Avalanche’s zone and the final minute of the extra period left them gasping for air and begging for a line change. both teams registered five shots on goal though the Avalanche out shot the Rangers 37-31 in the game.
Tyson Barrie- scores
Mats Zuccarello- missed
Ryan O’Reilly- denied
Martin St. Louis- denied
Gabriel Landeskog- post
Brad Richards- denied
The Rangers return to Madison Square Garden to host the Ottawa Senators on Saturday 5 April at 7pm ET.