New York - Last night the New York Rangers earned two crucial points in their 3-2 shootout victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Rangers bounced back beautifully after their defeat to the Maple Leafs on Monday in the first part of the home & home series. Last night, the defensive effort was palpable, and the sense of urgency throughout the lineup was on display.
After falling behind 1-0, Carl Hagelin was rewarded for his hard work and effort by scoring his first goal in 10 games. The Rangers then took the lead on a beautiful dangle at the point by Ryan McDonagh when he wristed one by Leaf’s goalie James Reimer. When leading the game after two periods the Rangers are 82-0-6 dating back almost three full seasons. That statistic alone shows how important it was to grab the 2-1 lead in such a crucial game heading into the third.
In the third, the Rangers actually blew the lead when Phil Kessel scored his second of the game (fourth of the series), tying the game up at 2 apiece. Regulation ended with some very exciting chances at both ends of the ice. The point earned was certainly welcomed, but with how tight the playoff race has become the Rangers knew they needed to get the full 2.
Henrik Lundqvist made a series of huge saves to get the game to the shootout. Saving his best for last, he made three consecutive stops on Toronto’s Nazem Kadri all alone in front of the net, a frantic moment for sure. When it came to the shootout, Mats Zuccarello did what he’s here to do, and scored the lone goal for either team propelling the Rangers to a HUGE 3-2 victory earning them the 2 points in the standings.
Last night’s win puts the Rangers in a 3 way tie for 6th place in the Eastern Conference with the Senators and the Islanders. With just 8 games remaining it seems as though the game Saturday night between the Islanders and Rangers at the Nassau Coliseum may be the most meaningful match-up between the two rivals in over a decade. Expect the atmosphere in the old Mausoleum to be absolutely crazy to say the least.
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