The New York Rangers scared everyone a bit, but managed to score three unanswered goals in the final two periods en route to a 4-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes. The Rangers surrendered two powerplay goals to Sam Gagner late in the first period, which gave the Yotes a 3-1 lead heading into the break. After that, Lee Stempniak scored twice and Chris Kreider scored his second of the game to give the Rangers the win.
Mike Smith had a very strong first period, robbing both Tanner Glass and J.T. Miller, and at that point –coupled with the Gagner goals– you thought this would be a wasted opportunity for the Rangers. But it was not so. The Rangers rallied from behind –like they seem to do a lot this season– and ensured that they came away with the two points.
Cam Talbot was solid in net, although he did allow a bad goal, stopping 37 of 40 Arizona shots that a porous Rangers defense allowed. Let’s remember that the game itself wasn’t pretty, and the Rangers really didn’t play solid defense all game. They gave up a ton of quality scoring chances to a team that really doesn’t generate offense. But a win is a win.
On to the goals:
Yotes 1, Rangers 0
Rick Nash didn’t see Mark Arcobello coming off the bench, which allowed David Moss to hit him entering the zone. Arcobello got Talbot moving from left to right, then shot back the other direction, under his blocker, for the first goal.
Rangers 1, Yotes 1
Ryan McDonagh led the rush on this beauty of a powerplay goal, dropping the puck to Mats Zuccarello at the red line. Zucc gained the zone, then dropped to Dan Boyle at the point. Boyle got the puck back to Zucc along the boards, who one-touched it to Kevin Hayes at the top of the circle for a mini 2-on-1 with Kreider. Hayes made the defenseman commit, then slid the puck around him to Kreider who beat Smith.
Yotes 2, Rangers 1
I know this is a 5-on-3 goal, but Talbot needs to stop this one from Sam Gagner.
Yotes 3, Rangers 1
Mark Stone’s pass, while on the 5-on-4 from the above goal, deflected off Hayes’ skate right to Gagner in the slot. Gagner had time to kick the puck to his forehand, turn, and shoot before someone got to him. Can’t really blame Talbot on this one.
Rangers 2, Yotes 3
Gagner turned the puck over to John Moore at the top of the circle. Moore quickly shot the puck, which Lee Stempniak deflected past Smith.
Rangers 3, Yotes 3
5 mishandled the puck at the blue line following an Antoine Vermette faceoff win, and Kreider was off to the races. Only two people can catch him in this league, one plays for the Rangers, and the other is Erik Karlsson. Kreider got his own rebound following Smith’s save and tied the game.
Rangers 4, Yotes 3
Hayes won the offensive zone faceoff, and after a few shot attempts and a few seconds of Arizona running around, Hayes wound up with the puck in the high slot. He turned and got the puck in front to Stempniak who had absolutely no one near him. Stemp had two attempts to get the puck by Smith for the winner.
This game was a lot closer than it should have been. Arizona isn’t a good team this year and they are already preparing for the Conor McJesus lottery. This was certainly a high event game though, with lots of shot attempts from both teams (over 50 each) at even strength.
This tells a much different story than USAT/FF. The Yotes had much higher quality chances, as the Rangers decided to take a day off from playing defense. Guess they figured they played tight once against Calgary and didn’t need to again last night. They lucked out here.
The fourth line had a very, very strong game. Yes, that includes Tanner Glass, who almost scored early on. It was the best game I’ve seen the fourth line play –when Tanner Glass is on the line– all season.
This shows what we see above: The Rangers didn’t play well defensively and allowed a lot of shots from high quality areas. Better teams beat them in this game.
Typical Alain Vigneault matchups here, with McDonagh and Girardi getting the Doan/Vermette line. There’s not much else to matchup on from the Yotes though.
Well, the Rangers are in first place for now, and have gone 27-6-2 in their last 35 games. That’s really good. Superb even. Not many teams will be able to keep pace when you get 56 of 70 possible points. There’s still 20 games left in the season, so a lot can happen. But if you told me the Rangers would lose once in regulation in three weeks without Henrik Lundqvist, I would’ve slapped you.
Sometimes, you just gotta find ways to win. That’s something this team has done all year.
Gifs courtesy of gifgoldmine.com