This New York Rangers team is hard to describe. They are an analytics fan’s worst nightmare. They never seem to play an easy game and it feels like that are always forced to overcome a deficit. The key thing is that they do overcome deficits and they did it once again, coming back after trailing 3-2 in the third period to win in overtime against the Anaheim Ducks.
Gerard Gallant was not exactly enthused about the first two periods. “Real good third, obviously…fortunately for us we got a chance to tie it up. Win in overtime. Good game overall, first and second were okay, both teams exchanged some chances, but not a lot happening.”
They did it with Alexandar Georgiev in goal as he broke a personal five game losing streak. He played well in a game that should help restore his confidence.
Gallant agreed, “I thought he looked good, he looked solid, he looked comfortable tonight and that’s a good sign for him.”
Coming off a four game road trip, the possibility that they could have a bad game was always there and they didn’t get off to a great start. In fact, they really didn’t wake up until the third period when they had to rely on the power play to tie the score with just 6:20 left in the game.
As usual, it was the Rangers’ stars who came through. Chris Kreider spoke about the whole team when it came to resilience. “I think it speaks to how focused this group is on accomplishing our first goal which is to make the playoffs.”
The first period wasn’t exactly action packed with only 13 shots between the two teams. The Rangers took an early lead when Filip Chytil led a breaking Jonny Brodzinski who fired a wrist shot past John Gibson just 4:29 into the game.
It was Brodzinski’s first goal of the season in a game inwhich his line with Chytil and Barclay Goodrow was one of the team’s best.
Gallant was very happy with Chytil’s play. “We talked about it after the Dallas game. I thought that was his best game…he plyed a good strong physical game. He did everything strong with the puck. Tonight he looked really good. He looked confident, that’s going to be key for us.”
With just under six minutes left in the period, Max Comtois scored on a lucky bounce when a Troy Terry richocheted off Comtois and Georgiev into the net.
After killing a penalty to start he second period, at 3:06, Mika Zibanejad scored with an extra man on the ice due to an Anaheim penalty. Dryden Hunt drew a penalty and they kept the puck in the Ducks zone for 30 seconds and finally fed Zibanejad who lasered a shot from an impossible angle. It was a stunning shot.
That lead lasted less than two minutes as Jacob Trouba tripped Isac Lundestrom and the Ducks converted on the power play when Cam Fowler scored on a shot from blueline with Georgiev screened.
The third period was all Rangers until Derek Grant was sprung for a breakaway by a pass from Danny O’Regan past an out of position Braden Schneider. The play came after a long shift in the attacking zone and after a Patrik Nemeth point shot was blocked.
On the goal, it appeared that Georgiev was undecided whether to try the poke check and the shot beat him over the shoulder.
The goal came with 9:25 left in the game and the Rangers pressed furiously for the tying goal, with the next eight shot attempts. Some of them came with the man advantage when Max Comtois went off for hooking Adam Fox. The Rangers power play went to work and it was all Blueshirts in the offensive zone and they cashed in when Kreider missed a tip-in, but gather the puck when it rebounded off the boards and he put into the net.
It took 55 seconds for the Rangers to score in overtime. Zibanejad and Kreider led off with a long possession, then the Ducks had a good scoring chance with Troy Terry missing the net. The Rangers took advantage with Zibanejad at the end of his shift feeding a breaking Panarin. Adam Fox had also been out for a long shift, but he trailed Panarin into the zone, took the shot and beat John Gibson for the game winner.
Here is a video recap of the game.
There were a lot of good takeaways from this game. Another comeback win. The power play is unstoppable. Georgiev played well and won a game. A strong game by the third line. They won in the first game back from a road trip.
On the negative side, they had to come back from trailing in the third period. They also had more trouble than they should have with a team they should have dominated.
The positives outweight the negative and that bodes well for the team’s postseason hopes and makes Chris Drury’s job harder as the trade deadline nears.