Every season features a defining moment and the New York Rangers’ gutsy overtime win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday may well fall into that category.
Fresh off a big win over the Carolina Hurricanes the night before, the New York Rangers produced another heroic effort to start a four-game road trip in Canada on a high.
Going up against a revitalized Toronto Maple Leafs team who were starting to find their identity under new Head Coach Sheldon Keefe, the Blueshirts weathered a storm at times to gut out an impressive W.
It all started thanks to Brett Howden who got the Rangers on the board less than two minutes in, although William Nylander made it a tied game moments later as the penalty kill failed to deliver the goods.
Step forward Ryan Strome, though, who took the game on his stick by producing two big moments to really put the Blueshirts in the driving seat.
First, he was the benefactor of yet another superb piece of defensive work by Artemi Panarin who forced a turnover before diverting the puck to Strome, who proceeded to switch to his backhand and beat Frederik Andersen with a filthy move.
More from Blue Line Station
- Blake Wheeler’s Broadway Calling: Why He Chose the Rangers
- Rangers’ Playoff Redemption Recipe: Grit and Fresh Hopes
- Rangers’ Roster Chatter: Who’s Making the Cut and Who’s in the Penalty Box?
- Jacque Plante Trade Tree Between the Rangers and Canadiens
- These Rangers must learn Peter Laviolette’s ropes before they can fly
Then Strome pulled off something we rarely see him do which was to unleash an absolute hammer of a slapshot past Andersen.
Given the abundance of riches on the Toronto roster though, a fight back from the home team was inevitable and a rocket from Auston Matthews made it a one-goal game.
This Rangers team boast a bucketload of character, however, and they seized control of the contest again when Mika Zibanejad displayed his skill by faking the slapshot before beating Andersen with a wrister after being sprung free by a superb breakout pass from Chris Kreider.
However, the Maple Leafs have enough firepower to sink a small fleet of battleships and their vast weaponry came to play in the third period.
Pierre Engvall got a tip-in on a Tyson Barrie shot from the point before Matthews finally made all of Toronto’s pressure count after sending a one-timer past Alexandar Georgiev in the final minute of regulation.
Toronto continued to pile on in overtime which was over in a hurry as Strome sent a perfect breakout pass to Panarin who dished the puck to Tony DeAngelo, with the defenseman potting the game-winner.
It was a huge win for the New York Rangers as they look to keep their playoff hopes alive, and we had some takeaways from the game…