Mar 11 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers center Brad Richards (19) after the game against the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden. Rangers won 4-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE
The New York Rangers finally broke their longest losing streak of the season with Marian Gaborik's overtime winner tonight. It was a back and forth game tonight, but the Rangers definitely had the better chances as they doubled up the Islanders in shots.
The game started out pretty sloppy by both teams, but it was the Islanders that got on the board first. John Tavares knocked in a rebound that was loose in the crease, to the left of Lundqvist, and the play was reviewed. However, it was deemed a goal, as Tavares made no distinct kicking motion with his foot.
The Rangers were given a late power play when John Tavares was sent off for hooking. Brad Richards didn't waste any time as he split the Islanders defensemen, and ripped a wicked wrist shot over the shoulder of Nabokov. After heading into the intermission with a tie, the Islanders were able to bounce back and get the goal to put them ahead 2-1.
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Matt Moulson was able to bat the puck out of mid-air as Mark Streit's blast hit the glass and banked back out front. It was a very strange bounce, and you really can't blame anyone on that, except the glass. But once again, the Rangers found a way to battle back with another power play goal coming from Brad Richards.
Richards and Gaborik were trading passes, until Richards stepped into a slap shot that beat Nabokov through the legs, to tie up the game once again. However, the Rangers wouldn't be able to gain their first lead of the evening as Andrew MacDonald would put the Islanders ahead once again.
As MacDonald's penalty was expiring, Marian Gaborik attempted a centering pass that was deflected. John Tavares picked up the puck and sprung MacDonald out of the box, on a breakaway. He would get off a quick snap shot that beat Henrik Lundqvist over the shoulder, to put the Islanders up 2-3 in the second period.
Just three minutes into the third period, Brian Boyle got his stick on Ryan McDonagh's point shot, to redirect it past Nabokov for the third goal of the game. This was the third time the Rangers fought back in this one, and were able to tie up the game.
The Rangers had a huge kill nearing the end of the third, as the they took a bench minor for too-many men. This game took extra, time and Marian Gaborik was the hero. Brad Richards had tremendous patience with the puck, and found Gaborik open at the top of the slot. Gaborik snapped it short side on Nabokov and finally put this game away for the Rangers.
I just want to point out that Mats Zuccarello played a great game tonight, and he definitely improved since his last game with the Rangers. He's found a way to better use his speed and puck handling in the corners. He's also improved his passing, as he made some great passes on the power play tonight.
Brad Richards also had, easily, his best game of the season tonight. Coming away with two power play goals and an assist on the game winning goal.
Overall, this was a win the Rangers desperately needed heading into this seven game home stand. The Rangers will host the Carolina Hurricanes this Tuesday. Then it will be the most anticipated match-up on Thursday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, where Sidney Crosby could return to the line-up.