Going to Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs in their own back yard, the New York Rangers walked away from a potentially tricky game with a 5-2 win over their origina six rival. There is never a bad time to beat the Maple Leafs, but getting revenge after what the Leafs did at the Garden a week ago feels like retribution. New York managed to get its pound of flesh for that disappointing performance.
For a game with seven goals, it didn't start until the second period. Mika Zibanejad carried the puck into the offensive zone. He gives it to Blake Wheeler, whose shot gets blocked and bounces off Zibanejad a few times and past the Maple Leafs netminder. A 1-0 lead early against a team that can cause problems with its offense is a very good start, but the Rangers needed more.
The Leafs would prove why the Rangers needed more goals than this when they entered the offensive zone through the skates of Morgan Rielly. He would find Auston Matthews all alone in the slot and Igor had no chance with that one as Matthews wires it in past the former Vezina trophy winner. Toronto's star power showed it was ready to keep the Leafs in this game.
New York would get it back on the powerplay. Winning an offenive zone faceoff, the Rangers go around the horn from Erik Gustafsson to Jonny Brodzinski over to Alexis Lafreniere. Laffy fires, and Morgan Rielly deflects it past his own netminder. New York took a 2-1 lead into the third period, knowing that they would have to see out a storm from the Maple Leafs.
It turns out that they were unable to do that. Jake McCabe would pick the puck up behind the Ranger net. He was able to find Auston Matthews cruising through the slot, and once again, Igor had no chance to stop a chance of that quality from someone that good. It was tied up at two because of two individual blown coverages leading to Auston Matthews being left completely alone.
New York would bring the puck forward on the stick of Braden Schneider. With no clear pass, Schneider decides he's going to drive the net, which is never a bad idea. He gets in close, and manages to get the puck under the pad of Martin Jones to make it a 3-2 lead once again for the New York Rangers. Now, the Blueshirts had to find a way to hold on and see this game out.
It would be the Ranger powerplay that delivered the blow that broke the game open. With five minutes left in the game, Vincent Trocheck moves it back to Gustafsson at the point before getting it back. Trocheck then drops it back to the blueline ford Gustafsson who fires the puck over to Artemi Panarin. A fake shot buys him some time, but then he really lets it fly and the Maple Leafs had no answer for this, it beat Martin Jones and became a 4-2 game.
Mika Zibanejad would have no problem converting with the empty net to make it a 5-2 game, and the Rangers would see it out. Winning once again to keep up their points percentage that remains the best of the NHL. Beating a team that they have had a fierce rivalry with over the years too is a good sign, but the Rangers not losing their heads giving up the lead twice is a good sign, and managing to convert the win bodes well against a team like the Leafs.