Well this sure was an entertaining game. The New York Rangers overcame three separate two-goal leads and scored three straight goals in the third period to beat the New York Islanders for the first time this season by a score of 6-5. Both Cam Talbot and Jaroslav Halak put on a clinic of how not to goalie, allowing a couple of weak goals a piece. But both goalies also made some big saves, so there’s that.
Ryan McDonagh scored twice for the first time in his career. Derek Stepan had a goal and two assists. Martin St. Louis, Chris Kreider, and Kevin Klein –who scored the game winner, Mr. Clutch– all added a goal and an assist.
This was an absolutely wild game with the Isles scoring 11 seconds in, getting three separate two goal leads, only to have the Rangers come back from each one of them. Then the Rangers just said, you know what, we want to win, and scored three straight as Isles fans chanted “You can’t beat us.” That’s always fun.
On to the goals:
Isles 1, Rangers 0
This is not the way the Rangers wanted to start this game. Talbot misplayed a puck behind the net, missing McDonagh with a pass, going straight to John Tavares, who fired it into the empty net. Eleven seconds in, it was 1-0. Poor play by Talbot there.
Isles 2, Rangers 0
Mats Zuccarello follows Mikhail Grabovski behind the net, opening Travis Hamonic at the point with a boatload of room. At the time the shot was taken, Frans Nielsen already had a step on Marc Staal, who drifted a bit too far away from his man. Nielsen banged home the rebound.
Rangers 1, Isles 2
Dominic Moore made a solid play to poke the puck away from the Isles deep in the zone, and Dan Girardi made another solid play to pinch in and collect the loose puck to bring it behind the net. Tanner Glass drove to the net, which created open ice for McDonagh at the point, who started creeping in. Girardi’s pass to the middle defelcted fortuitously to McDonagh in the high slot, who beat Halak low blocker (you’ll notice a theme on that).
Isles 3, Rangers 1
MSL peeled away from the mid-point into no man’s land on this play, allowing Johnny Boychuck to skate into the loose puck at the blue line and blow it by Talbot. It’s one Talbot should have stopped.
Rangers 2, Isles 3
Lee Stempniak made a great first pass to Stepan to start the rush out of the zone. Stepan got the puck to Kreider, who used Boychuk as a screen to let a wrister loose that eluded Halak. Halak should’ve had this one, but you could tell from his reaction time that he didn’t see it right away.
Rangers 3, Isles 3
The third line had a great forecheck, with Carl Hagelin and Kevin Hayes forcing turnovers to keep the zone. Eventually Girardi pinched, which forced Anders Lee into a turnover to J.T. Miller. Miller found McDonagh at the mid point, who blew it by Halak. This is one Halak should have stopped, but Hagelin was in front providing the screen.
As was pointed out in the comments, this one may have gone off Lubomir Visnovsky’s stick.
Isles 4, Rangers 3
The Rangers were unable to clear the zone on the PK, which gave the Isles a little life. The initial shot by Hamonic was stopped, but Talbot kicked the rebound right to the slot, where Ryan Strome had position on Girardi, who played this terribly. Strome got a few whacks before beating Talbot.
Isles 5, Rangers 3
Dan Boyle turned the puck over at the Isles blue line, leading to a 3-on-1 the other way. The Isles are way too skilled to let something like that go unpunished.
Rangers 4, Isles 5
Klein made a good play behind the net, delivering a hit to jar the puck loose, then moving it up the boards to Kreider on the wing. Kreider gained the zone with speed, made a nifty
backhand pass to Stepan, who beat Halak low blocker (that’s two).
Rangers 5, Isles 5
Kreider forced a turnover at the blue line, which Stepan picked up for a late rush. Stepan dished to MSL, who one-timed it over Halak’s glove.
Rangers 6, Isles 5
Derick Brassard did a great job maintaining possession and drawing all of the Isles attention to him. It left Klein wide open at the weak side point. Klein called for the puck, he got it, and he didn’t miss, low blocker (that’s three).
This game was ugly early, with the Isles dominating every aspect of the game. But the Rangers really came on in the third, dominating the game and putting three past Halak to win.
This chart is ugly, but the Rangers closed the gap late. The Isles still had a boatload more quality shots, but the Rangers showed they had some fight in them.
Tanner Glass was a positive Corsi, and actually played a good game. I’ll give credit where credit is due.
The Rangers usually don’t allow that many attempts from the slot. This was not the best defensive effort.
Jack Capuano, with home ice, elected to match Hamonic/Brian Strait against the Rick Nash line, which was an interesting choice. That line absolutely dominated the pair, but they were held off the score sheet for the most part. As for Alain Vigneault, he tried to get McDonagh/Girardi out there against Tavares as much as possible, but he didn’t have the last change.
This game was absurd, and this is what watching hockey in the 80s must have been like. It was a huge, huge two points for the Rangers, who are now two points back of the Isles for the Metro Division lead with two games in hand. Plus, it’s a mental edge knowing they can come back from leads against the Isles, who have had trouble protecting them.