March 24, 2012; Toronto, ON, CANADA; Toronto Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak (42) defends New York Rangers forward Ryan Callahan (24) during the first period at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-US PRESSWIRE
The New York Rangers came away with a huge 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. Ryan Callahan, and Brad Richards both scored in the shootout for the Rangers, to give them the victory. With that win, the Rangers get a three point padding in the Atlantic, as the Penguins also lost to the Ottawa Senators tonight as well.
The Maple Leafs started off the scoring with a goal coming from Cody Franson. On the goal, Stu Bickel pinched deep into the Leafs zone, attempting to keep the puck in the zone. Brandon Dubinsky was the last forward back, and failed to read the play, and allowed a 2-on-1 rush the other way. Phil Kessel slid the puck then slid the puck over the Franson who had the easy tap-in on the backdoor.
Just three minutes later, Marian Gaborik tied up with game with an off-angle shot that found it's way into the net. The puck appeared the deflect off of the defenseman in front of Jonas Gustavsson, which redirected the puck short side. Tim Erixon also picked up his second assist in two games, as he fed the puck to Gaborik.
Follow after the jump for more.
Just six minutes into the second period, Joey Crabb gave the Leafs another lead as he jammed the puck under Henrik Lundqvist. You can't really blame Lundqvist on this one, as both Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi failed to pick up Crabb in front of the net.
However, the Rangers were able to answer yet again, as Brandon Dubinsky jammed home a rebound of his own to tie the game a two. John Mitchell won the face-off, and the puck was tangled up around the hash marks. Dubinsky was able to locate the puck, and flip it over the sprawling Gustavsson.
After the second period, the Rangers were credited with a total of 42 hits in through both periods. Although, this game wasn't nearly that physical, and it appears the stat keepers were very generous tonight. Anyways, the Rangers were able to grab their first, and short lived lead of the night courtesy of Marian Gaborik.
Brad Richards made a spectacular play, in order to get back on sides, while picking up the puck at the same time. Richards then chipped a pass up to Gaborik which sent him in alone. Gaborik snapped the puck through the legs of Gustavsson to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead.
Literally 18 seconds later, Tim Connolly was able to respond for the Maple Leafs, as he jammed home yet another rebound in front of Henrik Lundqvist. Henrik Lundqvist has definitely been off of his game, despite the Rangers winning this game. He's been having trouble controlling his rebounds, which happened very often tonight. Although, he came out with a few huge saves tonight, including the HUGE glove save on Tyler Bozak in the shootout.
Regulation and overtime would solve nothing for both teams, and we headed to the shootout to decide the extra point in this one. In the first round, both Tyler Bozak and Marian Gaborik were denied by both goaltenders. Tim Connolly would eventually put the Leafs up 1-0 in the shootout with a nifty backhand over the shoulder of Lundqvist.
Brad Richards was the next shooter for the Rangers, and he came into this one going 0-for-8 in his previous shootout attempts. To everyone's surprise, Richards snapped a shot over the blocker of Gustavsson to knot it up in the shootout. Nazem Kadri was up next for the Leafs, and he shanked it a good fifteen feet over the net, and hit the "other" net above the glass.
That left Ryan Callahan with the game winning goal on his stick. The captain responded with basically the same shot that Richards scored on, and the Rangers gathered a much needed second point in this game. As mentioned earlier, the Penguins dropped 8-4 to the Ottawa Senators, which allowed the Rangers to gain a three point lead on the Atlantic Division once again.
I thought the Rangers played a fairly decent game, after making some pretty horrid mistakes early on in the game. But, at the end of the day, the Rangers found a way to get two points once again, just like they have this entire season. The Rangers will have two days off now, before they ship off to Minnesota, to face-off against the Minnesota Wild.