The goaltenders, Cam Talbot and Corey Crawford were the stories right from the get go. After a beautiful, coherent rush by the Rangers, Crawford registered a huge save on Dan Boyle through a Martin St. Louis screen. The puck went right back the other way, and Talbot was forced to turn aside Brandon Saad as he came in on a 2 on 1 with Marian Hossa. At 3:12 Marc Staal was called for hooking following a crucial stop by Talbot on Patrick Sharp off a slick feed through the slot by Teuvo Teravainen. The Rangers went to work however, and killed it off. Dan Boyle had maybe the best scoring opportunity for New York, after his slapper inside the blue line knuckled off Niklas Hjalmarsson‘s stick, and off Crawford’s shoulder. Soon after, Kevin Hayes was relentless on the forecheck and eventually a gorgeous feed to James Sheppard (from Hayes) was stopped twice point blank by Crawford. After Antoine Vermette narrowly missed converting a wrap around with Talbot out of position, the Rangers committed their second penalty of the night. Chris Kreider was sent to the box at 15:33 for hooking when in reality, it was Derek Stepan at fault. In a sense, the Rangers caught a break because Stepan is such a key penalty killer. Chicago couldn’t convert once again, as they didn’t even record a shot on goal, thanks in large part to the gritty work by Carl Hagelin and Dominic Moore. The Rangers were able to double the Blackhawks’ shots in the period, 16-8.
New York Rangers
St. Louis hit the post in just outside the opening minute, as Chris Kreider caught him lurking on the blue line with a laser of a pass. Noticeably, the Blackhawks tightened up defensively, as the Rangers’ first shot came about 5 minutes in. Minutes later, Kevin Klein had a courageous shot block on Duncan Keith, who wound up for a slap shot in close. The Rangers then had a line change miscue, resulting in a too many men on the ice penalty at 6:19, which J.T. Miller served. Chicago’s pitiful power play as of late, 2 for their last 26 attempts at that point, continued to struggle. The Rangers finally got their turn on the man advantage when Andrew Shaw was sent to the sin bin at 10:44 for hooking Dan Girardi. However, the Blackhawks’ 3rd ranked penalty kill successfully kept the Rangers’ 10th ranked power play at bay. The Blackhawks were sent to their 4th man advantage of the night when Dominic Moore interfered with Teravainen at 17:21. Their best chance on another power play failure came when Sharp hit the goal post high on the short side with under a minute left. The stalemate continued with yet another scoreless frame, this time the shots were 12-5 in favor of Chicago.
Crawford came up with a big save early on Jesper Fast as a skittering puck found him in close. There was very little space on the ice to generate any real scoring opportunities, a lot of early neutral zone play for the first 6 minutes. Talbot came up with a sensational glove save, robbing Sharp who fired Brad Richards‘ rebound from in tight. Crawford extended the pads to stop Kreider off a feed from Klein, then miraculously kept the game scoreless after St. Louis picked Vermette’s pocket and fired a shot, followed by Stepan. It was at this point it became evident Crawford was stealing the show. Talbot responded with a stellar save of his own soon after on Marian Hossa. A mental breakdown occurred at 17:22, when Shaw was forced to serve a too many men on the ice penalty. This left the door wide open for the Rangers to walk out of the United Center with two points. However, New York squandered the opportunity, spending too much time in their defensive end, and nothing came of the chance. Shots in this period were 14-8 in the Rangers’ favor.
The Rangers struck at 00:32 to win it; Derick Brassard the overtime hero. Mats Zuccarello(27) muscled ___ off the puck and found the trailing Brassard(14) on the far side who rocketed a slapper past Crawford for the win. Ryan McDonagh(17) got the secondary assist on the GWG.
THREE STARS OF THE GAME:
1. Cam Talbot: 29 saves
2. Derick Brassard: OT GWG goal
3. Corey Crawford: 36 saves