New York Rangers 3, Devils 2 (SO)- Stepan Sparks Comeback Win

Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports /

The New York Rangers defeated the New Jersey Devils 3-2 in a shootout on Sunday night. Derek Stepan scored the game-tying goal with fewer than two minutes remaining, and Kevin Hayes scored the shootout winner.

In a feature here at Blue Line Station, we will be providing thoughts and analysis following every Rangers game. Make sure to stop by after games to see what you might have missed!

Game Action:

  • Prior to the game, Marlana VanHoose sang a stunning performance of the National Anthem. The Garden crowd was on their feet before the game even kicked off. You can read about Marlana here. Phenomenal.
  • Unfortunately, Matt Puempel ruined the Rangers momentum by taking an unnecessary cross-checking penalty. Kevin Hayes nearly scored a shorthanded goal, but Cory Schneider made the stop. Hayes and Miller are wonderfully in sync on the penalty kill.
  • Rick Nash also had a chance on the penalty kill. To the naked eye, it would appear the Rangers had the man advantage.
  • New York followed the Devils’ failure with a failure of their own. As per the norm, the Rangers passed the puck around, but did not take a single shot on the advantage.
  • The Devils dominated the remainder of the first period. New York did see a few chances from Rick Nash stopped by Cory Schneider, but for the most part it was all Devils. Considering New Jersey’s lack of offensive flair, New York should have done more. Still, 0-0 after one period, Devils up 11-8 in shots.
  • Marc Staal earned a trip to the penalty box early in the second. Former Ranger P.A. Parenteau poked a rebound past Henrik Lundqvist to hand the Devils a 1-0 lead. Pretty passing by the Devils.
  • Damon Severson lost an angle to Chris Kreider, who used his big body to draw a penalty with 11:28 remaining in the second. You likely guessed this, but the Rangers failed to take a shot on the ensuing power-play.
  • Rick Nash put his shoulder down and drove to the net with five minutes remaining in the period. Unfortunately, Cory Schneider stopped him once again. While the Rangers struggled, Nash looked like a man possessed.
  • With 1:46 remaining, J.T. Miller forced a pass into traffic, and Oscar Lindberg took a penalty. New York successfully killed the opportunity, ending the 2nd down 1-0, 21-16 Devils in shots.
  • New York finally broke through with 11:50 remaining in the third period. An extended shift in the Devils zone ended up with the puck on Mats Zuccarello’s stick. Cory Schneider lost Zuccarello in traffic, who slid it to a wide open Chris Kreider in front of the net. Kreider pocketed the puck in the open net to tie the game. 1-1.
  • Miles Wood returned the favor fewer than three minutes later. Dan Girardi failed to move the puck from behind his own net, allowing New Jersey to pluck it off of his stick. It was an entirely unnecessary blunder that led directly to a goal against. Lundqvist stood no chance. 2-1 Devils.
  • With 1:27 remaining, Nick Holden launched to the net for a golden opportunity, but was tied up and unable to convert. Holden, McDonagh, Skjei, and Staal were active offensively throughout the evening.
  • Only 14 seconds later, Ryan McDonagh took a wrister at Derek Stepan’s open stick, finding a perfect deflection. Stepan’s re-direct found an opening above Cory Schneider and into the net to tie the game.
  • 2-2, 27-25 Devils up in shots at the end of regulation. Second consecutive overtime game for the Rangers.
  • 3 on 3 overtime was predictably hectic. Both teams tallied strong chance after strong chance until the clock ran out. Either team could have won it at any point, quite the exciting stretch of hockey.
  • In the shootout:
    Zuccarello goal, Henrik Lundqvist save.
    Vesey stopped by Schneider, Lundqvist save.
    Stepan shot off the post, Mike Cammalleri goal.
    Hayes goal, Lundqvist poke check save.
  • Rangers win 3-2 in the shootout.

Final Thoughts:

  • We will have an article on this shortly, but Alain Vigneault must stop changing his lines every night. At some point the forwards must be afforded the opportunity to gain consistency and chemistry with their linemates.
  • Kevin Hayes, J.T. Miller, and Rick Nash should be given an extended look together. Hayes and Miller have proven to work together on the penalty kill, while Hayes and Nash have been magical at even strength.
  • More importantly, Jesper Fast and Oscar Lindberg belong in the bottom six, with bottom six players. It’s no coincidence that when Vigneault moves them up, the Rangers score less. They are perfect bottom six forwards, but below average top six forwards.
  • Henrik Lundqvist was brilliant once again. In the 3 on 3 overtime, he single handedly kept the Rangers from losing.

Next: Skjei Follows McDonagh's Lead

  • Big game against the Pittsburgh Penguins coming up on Tuesday night. Lundqvist will want revenge after failing to make it through his last start against the defending Stanley Cup Champions.