The New York Rangers got their fifth straight win tonight with a 2-1 shootout victory of the Phoenix Coyotes. Although it was a fairly easy night for Henrik Lundqvist, he had to make a few great saves tonight, including locking it down in the shootout. Derek Stepan was credited with the shootout winner tonight, with a great shot over the glove of Mike Smith.
Just two minutes into the first period, Mike Rupp and Paul Bissonnette dropped the gloves right off a face-off. Rupp got some good punches in early, as well as Bissonnette. It's also worth noting that the Rangers are undefeated when there is a fight in the opening five minutes of a game. The Rangers had handfuls of chances in the first, and Mike Smith was up to the task on all of them.
While the game was pretty even in the physical department, the Rangers had a clear cut advantage offensively. Henrik Lundqvist made some great saves on the Coyotes five shots. The Rangers outshot the Coyotes 12-5 in the first period of play.
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In the second period the Rangers came out with some speed once again. They again had tons of chances, but there was a man named Mike Smith still in the way. With about five minutes left in the period, the Rangers would gain their first power play of the game, as well as the only penalty called this game so far.
However, the Rangers struggled big time, and were unable to even gain the zone on the Coyotes. Derek Stepan had the lone shot on the power play when he broke down the wing on Mike Smith. Stepan let go a quick wrist shot, but Smith once again, snagged it with the glove. Even with the Rangers outshooting the Coyotes 21-10, the score still remained tied going into the locker rooms.
Finally, just two minutes into the third period, Ruslan Fedotenko put the Rangers on the board. Brian Boyle did a great job in front of the net, and put up a monstrous screen on Mike Smith. However, just under ten minutes later, Radim Vrbata notched his 20th goal of the season. It was a bit of a defensive lapse, as Vrbata was left wide open in the slot, nothing Henrik Lundqvist could do.
The game would need to be decided in overtime, where Marian Gaborik would eventually be awarded a penalty shot. However, Mike Smith continued his solid play, and made a sprawling save to keep the game tied. The save by Smith could easily be the save of the year, wow what a save.
Overtime solved nothing, and off to the shootout we went. After three shooters missing, Vrbata scored once again, and left it up to Marian Gaborik. On his second attempt on Smith, Gaborik slipped the puck five-hole to tie it. After another two rounds of saves, Derek Stepan came in and shot the puck over the shoulder of Smith. I called it since the beginning of the shootout, the only way to beat Smith is with a quick shot, and Stepan did just that.
It was all up to Henrik Lundqvist to turn down the captain of the Coyotes, Shane Doan. Doan made a move to the backhand, and Lundqvist stuck with him the entire way. The Rangers would win up winning their fifth straight game in dramatic fashion.
The Rangers next game will be at home once again, this Thursday against the Ottawa Senators.