The New York Rangers battled the red-hot Columbus Blue Jackets at Madison Square Garden. With almost all hope lost, Derek Stepan kept the Rangers alive.
FIRST PERIOD: The New York Rangers faced a bustling Columbus Blue Jackets team eager to keep a streak alive, keeping this game neck-and-neck. At 5:38, Rangers’ Kevin Hayes was blocked on a breakaway but teammate Martin St. Louis (21) picked up the loose puck in front of the net and buried it past Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, Hayes (25) tallying the assist. At the other end of the rink, Henrik Lundqvist looked to be in top form, tracking the puck and blocking shots, generating loud Hen-rik chants. The first penalty of the game came at 8:24 when Dan Girardi was called for high-sticking. Nevertheless, New York’s defense was excellent during the two-minute disadvantage. Less than a minute later, the Rangers went back on the penalty kill as Mats Zuccarello took a trip to the penalty box after tripping Dalton Prout; Again, Rangers D denied Columbus a goal. With less than three minutes left, Tanner Glass had a couple quality shots on goal before a turnover by Ryan McDonagh cost the team, Lundqvist unable to stop Matt Calvert (12) from knocking in a rebound, tying it 1-1 at 17:20. Then a large scrum against the boards occurred after the whistle, but no penalties were called. Columbus led the Rangers in shots on goal, 13-10, the game tied one apiece going into intermission.
New York Rangers
SECOND PERIOD: At just 36 seconds in, Girardi (4) parked at the side of the net tapped in the puck for the Rangers 2-1 lead, Derek Stepan (39) with the primary feed, Chris Kreider (24) also helping out. The first Rangers power play came after Cody Goloubef was penalized for cross-checking at 8:31, yet the Blue Jackets were able to keep the Blueshirts from converting on the man-advantage. As soon as play returned to the 5-on-5, Lundqvist was forced to make a terrific right pad save on Goloubef fresh out of the penalty box. The Rangers got another power play as Mark Dano was given two minutes for interference at 14:42. However, the shorthanded Blue Jackets came close to scoring as Ryan Johansen attempted a rising wrist shot, the puck gobbled up by Lundqvist’s glove for an amazing save. Pressure in Rangers zone caused trouble when Dano (8) batted in a rebound Hank couldn’t keep in the glove, and the score was tied up again, 2-2 before the third period; The Blue Jackets and Rangers even in SOG, 11-11.
THIRD PERIOD: At 5:08, Prout was hit with a delay of game after lifting the puck over the glass and the Rangers were put on their third power play. The Rangers put the pressure on as defenseman Keith Yandle hit off the Columbus post. Back at even strength, the curse of the former Ranger struck again as Brandon Dubinsky (12) scored at 8:14, giving the Blue Jackets the 3-2 lead. Unfortunately for New York, Columbus immediately went on their third power play at 8:35 but the Blueshirts were able to kill off this penalty just the same. The Rangers kept possession of the puck for most of the next half as one of Zuccarello’s shots were deflected by Bobrovsky’s stick-save. With a Rangers empty net, Girardi was given an open invitation to a goal by Bobrovsky but Girardi just missed it. With only 28 seconds left on the clock, Stepan (15) found net on a slapshot, Madison Square Garden erupting with applause. Kreider (25) and J.T. Miller (13) tallied assists. New York tallied more SOG this period, 15-6.
OVERTIME: After Lundqvist robbed Jack Johnson, the Rangers offense gave Bobrovsky all they had with shot after shot. It wasn’t enough to keep Columbus away from their own zone as a scary good chance just missed the net, passing over the crossbar thanks to Kreider’s defensive play. The Rangers pushed right back and eventually broke through as Stepan (16) gained possession, switched from the back hand to the forehand and sank the puck past the five-hole! The Rangers won 4-3, excelled at the dot, 39-25 in face-off wins, and had more SOG, 6-2 in OT.
STARS OF THE GAME:
1- Derek Stepan, 2 goals, 1 assist
2- Henrik Lundqvist, 32 saves, .906 SV%
3- Chris Kreider, 2 assists
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