Mar 28, 2012; Winnipeg, MB, CAN; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) makes a save off a shot from Winnipeg Jets forward Bryan Little (18) while forward Blake Wheeler (26) looks for the rebound during the first period at the MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-US PRESSWIRE
The first period was scoreless for both teams, but the Rangers had some key penalty killing, which helped keep this game scoreless. Stu Bickel and Ryan McDonagh were whistled down just about 20 seconds apart, and gave the Jets a 5-on-3 advantage. Henrik Lundqvist and the penalty held their ground and were able to kill off a very lethal Jets power play.
Shortly after, Anton Stralman took a very bone headed penalty when he knocked the net off its pegs, after Alexander Burmistrov took a rush. Ryan Callahan was up to the task once again, and was a machine killing off the two power plays. The Rangers weren't able to generate anything offensively, as a majority of the time was swept away with penalties.
Follow after the jump for more.
Just 3:58 into the second period, Winnipeg was able to jump out to an early 1-0 lead. Spencer Machacek put a shot from the off angle, which wound up deflecting off of the stick of Del Zotto. Due to the deflection, it handcuffed Lundqvist as he was already anticipating the shot. Things went from bad to worse just about a minute later, as Bryan Little was able to tap home a puck in the slot. Blake Wheeler made a strong play down low, and found Little in the slot.
At this point, the Rangers were looking just plain sloppy and out of whack. It wasn't until Brandon Dubinsky took a very undisciplined slashing penalty, that the Rangers were able to snap it back into gear. On the ensuing penalty kill, Ryan Callahan was able to dig out the puck down low, and get a shot on net down in the Jets end. Michael Del Zotto came in and found a rebound right in the crease, and jammed it between the pads of Ondrej Pavalec. This was a huge goal for the Rangers, as it was able to get them back in this game, and eventually lead to the tying goal.
Nearing the end of the second period, Mike Rupp was able to draw a holding penalty on Alexander Burmistrov, after a strong offensive shift by the fourth line. On the ensuing power play, Ryan Callahan jammed home another rebound in front of Pavalec, and brought the Rangers back to a 2-2 game. How about Ryan Callahan though? He literally put the team on his back this period, and helped them get back even. Now that's a captain if I ever saw one.
In the closing minute of the second, Brian Boyle took a stick up high, and it wound up going against Andrew Ladd. Boyle drew blood, and it was recorded as a double minor. With just about 3:00 remaining in the power play, the period came to an end. The Rangers should be holding their heads high after a strong rebound period, after being down 2-0 earlier on.
After gaining nothing from the remaining power play time, the Rangers still found themselves tied early on in the third period. However, just 3:07 into the third, Brian Boyle made a great play down low, drove out front, and slipped a puck short side on Pavalec. With the goal, the Rangers were able to grab their first lead of the game, and it came at the right time. Speaking of Brian Boyle, he's been playing some great hockey over the last three games. He now has three goals in his last four games, great for Boyle.
Just seven minutes later, Derek Stepan was able to capitalize on a crucial power play, about halfway through the third period. Brad Richards showed his patience yet again, and was able to force a shot on net. The rebound bounced out into the slot, were Stepan slid down and sniped it over the shoulder. The Rangers would eventually hold onto the 4-2 lead, and go on to win the game. With the win, the Rangers moved to first overall in the National Hockey League, and are now five points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Atlantic Division.
Henrik Lundqvist had another solid effort in net tonight, and looks to be back to his normal form. Also, this was probably one of the better games the Rangers had, in terms of responding, after being down early in the game. The Rangers will have a day off tomorrow, and they will head back to New York to take on the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night.