Would the Rangers speed be countered by the Ducks defensive structure?
Here’s how the game played out:
Quickly, the New York Rangers got on the board. With 1:24 into the game, Chris Kreider was able to put in a loose puck past Ducks goalie Frederick Anderson for his 18th of the season. Assists were credited to Derek Stepan (33) and Ryan McDonagh (18). Ducks forward Corey Perry answered back at the 2:50 make with a wrist shot past Cam Talbot. Assists were credited to Patrick Maroon (24) and Sami Vatanen (25). The Rangers took advantage of their first power play opportunity, after a boarding penalty was called on Maroon. A struggling power play unit? It sure did not look like it. After some strong play and puck movement from the first unit, Stepan took a one-timer from the back-end to score his 12th of the season. Assists were credited to Keith Yandle (38) and Rick Nash (24), who made a strong move to the net, earlier in the play. After a successful penalty kill that delighted the fans at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers extended their lead to two goals. This time, it was Kevin Hayes putting the puck on net after a spin-o-rama. The puck looked to deflect off a player in front, in this case Carl Hagelin. He was credited with his 16th. Assists were credited to Hayes (21) and Yandle (39), his second of the game. It found its way through the legs of Anderson. Unfortunately, the Ducks goalie was chased out of the net after that goal, and replaced by John Gibson.
The Ducks got one goal back. Forward Corey Perry tallied his second goal of the game, scoring off a wrist shot for his 31st, with an assist from Ryan Getzlaf for his 43rd. Following the goal, Dan Boyle and Perry got into a scuffle, near the team benches. This resulted from an earlier play, where Boyle was taken fell awkwardly into the boards from a Ducks player. Offsetting penalties were assessed. After a tripping penalty was called on Ryan Kesler, he drew the ire of the Rangers bench. Marc Staal was seen with his stick in the face of Kessler and Tanner Glass had some choice words for the Ducks center.
The period ended 3-2, Rangers. Shots on goal were 17-11, in favor of the Ducks.
New York Rangers
To start the period, no penalties were carried over for either team. With close to three minutes into the second, the Rangers went back up to two goals off the stick of J.T. Miller. Coming off the left side, he put a wrist shot over the shoulder of Gibson. This was made off a play from Mats Zuccarello, who got his 30th of assist of the season. Also assisting on the play was Yandle, who scored his 40th of the season and third point of the game.
In the second-half of the period, the scoring velocity seemed to simmer. Both teams had their chances, however, both defenses held their own. After giving up two goals in the first period, Talbot didn’t allow puck pass him. And when the Ducks were buzzing, the defense held their own. Much could be said for Gibson. After giving up an early period goal, he settled down and kept the Rangers offense at bay.
With close to four minutes left in the period remaining, Stepan scored his 13th goal of the season, on one foot. This was his second goal of the game, giving him three points through two periods.
As the period ended, the Rangers had a 5-2 lead, out-shooting the Ducks 9-6.
The third started with the Ducks taking it to the Rangers. Through the first four minutes of the period, the Rangers were on their heels. The team was unable to put any shots on Gibson cause the Ducks were able to hold the puck in and make Talbot work for his 19th win of the season.
After a commercial break, the Rangers’ Jesper Fast scored his fifth goal of the season, on a back-handed attempt from behind the Ducks goal. The assist was credited to Hayes (22), who scored his second point of the game.
When it rains, it pours. Derick Brassard scored his 15th goal of the season, off a pass from Zuccarello. It was his 31st of the season.
After some brilliant saves, notably a glove save on Perry to deny his hat trick, the Rangers went on to win 7-2 over another Western conference top-tiered team.
NHL Stars of the Game
– Derek Stepan: two goals, one assist, +1, five shots
– Keith Yandle: three assists, +3, four shots
– J.T. Miller: one goal, one assist, +2, two hits
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