Well, that was fun. Despite trailing 2-0 during the 1st period, the New York Rangers were able to overcome their deficit and take two points from the Sunshine state against an opponent that is desperately fighting for their playoff lives. For New York, these two points keep hopes of the division and home ice in round one alive as the Blueshirts edge closer to mathematically punching their playoff ticket.
It started early in the first when Jaroslav Halak couldn’t hold a shot from the point and Aleksander Barkov was there to poke the loose puck home during the ensuing chaos. It had to be Barkov because it is always Barkov. Ever since those rumors linking him with Broadway started years ago, he’s eaten the Blueshirts alive. It was challenged for offside but no dice. Ryan Lomberg would make it 2-0 later off a pass from Marc Staal soon after.
Kaapo Kakko would kick the Rangers back into life in the second as the kids were the driving force behind this comeback. Lafreniere thew it back to Chytil who tipped it on net and Kakko tapped in the rebound to get on the board. After that, Trouba would see a beautiful cross-ice pass to Alexis Lafreniere who would toe-drag around Bobrovsky to tie the game at two going into the third.
Patrick Kane would record his 450th career NHL goal on the weirdest bounce. He threw it on net, and it just went in. Chytil would pick up a puck behind Aaron Ekblad a little later and dispatch it behind the Russian netminder in this one. The Panthers would not say die as Barkov would net his second to make the final 13 minutes of this one a little more stressful than they needed to be, but the Blueshirts would hold on for the two points.
This was a good win because it keeps the pressure up on the two teams ahead of the Rangers in the standings. Despite victories for both Carolina and New Jersey, the Rangers were able to keep pace with two hard-fought points. They remain 4 points back of the Devils and 6 back of the Canes, despite having played 2 more games than Carolina. There is very much a division title to play for here for the Rangers.