The only thing the New York Rangers could control today was their own result against the New Jersey Devils and they did just that in a 5-2 win this afternoon. Now the Rangers playoff fate is in the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning as they need a win in either regulation or OT to put New York in as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Rangers won today with the type of collective effort that was sorely lacking on Thursday against Atlanta.
In a must win game the Rangers fell behind the Devils just 2:03 into the game on a goal from Nick Palmieri when he deflected an Ilya Kovakchuk shot through Henrik Lundqvist.
The nervousness in MSG reached another level, but the Rangers would respond just 1:11 later with a goal from Chris Drury. Drury drive the net hard and converted the rebound on his backhand. The goal was Drury’s first of the season on his first shift since February 3.
Kovakchuk capped off his dominant first period with a goal of his own,with 41.8 seconds left in the period. On the play he out muscled Prospal and ripped the shot high on Lundqvist. The goal gave the Devils a 2-1 lead at the end of one and drained a lot of energy out of MSG.
The energy came back quickly when Wojtek Wolski scored off the rush just 1:52 into the second period. The play was a 2-on-1 rush with Stepan down the left side wall. After looking like he would pass Wolski fired and beat Brodeur short side.
With the next goal critical Ryan McDonagh scored at 11:59 to give the Rangers their first lead of the game. The goal came when Vinny Prospal passed from behind the net to McDonagh at the right faceoff dot. The goal was McDonagh’s first of his career.
Brandon Prust extended the Rangers lead to 4-2 at 16:06 of the period. Prust converted the rebound from a Dubinsky shot. The goal capped an excellent three goal period that gives the Rangers control over their part if today’s action.
The Rangers kept up the pressure and extended to a 5-2 lead at 10:49 of the third on a goal from Vinny Prospal. Artem Anisimov broke down the right side on a 2-on-1 and fed a beauty across to Prospal for the finish.
Michael Sauer and Ryan McDonagh played excellent games and showed why this defense core will be one of the best in the league for years to come.
Brian Boyle set the tone hitting anything that moved and hurling himself in front of shots.
Have to give Drury credit with all the injuries and struggles his goal was crucial goal.