The New York Rangers will be heading back to Madison Square Garden with some confidence, as they topped the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in overtime, thanks to Derick Brassard. Cam Talbot also picked up his first NHL win tonight, and made some key saves throughout the game to keep the Rangers in the mix. Mats Zuccarello, Benoit Pouliot, and Derick Brassard all stepped up big tonight, and provided the Rangers with the offensive spark they have been missing for quite some time.
Chris Kreider also played a solid, solid game. He was hard on the puck, quick on the forecheck, and even had a few scoring chances. Kreider is a completely different player than we saw September, and looks very confident. We've seen these types of flashes from Kreider, but if he keeps up this level of play, he'll be a major asset to the Rangers moving forward.
After some back and forth action in the opening minutes of the first period, the Red Wings were able to strike first. Mats Zuccarello made a awful play at the blue line, that eventually lead to an odd-man rush back the other way. With Anton Stralman caught up in no mans land, Drew Miller broke in down the wing, and ripped a shot under the arm of Cam Talbot. It was just a perfectly placed shot, and the Rangers found themselves in a 1-0 hole late in the first period.
The Rangers have had some questionable bounce back periods over the last few games, but tonight's second period might have been the most dominating performance we have seen. The Rangers were just completely dominant in the offensive zone, and were generating scoring chance after scoring chance. Jimmy Howard played out his mind in the second period, and definitely kept this game from getting out of hand.
Late in the second period, the Rangers finally got the perfect opportunity to break back into the game as they received a power play late in the period. Following some great puck movement in the offensive zone, Benoit Pouliot found a loose puck to the side of the net, and chipped it in over a pile of players in the crease.
It was the type of goal Pouliot has been well overdue for, and was able to come through when the Rangers needed him the most. But, with the way the Rangers luck has been going this year, they gave the goal right back with 11 seconds remaining in the second period.
Taylor Pyatt took a very undisciplined penalty in the defensive zone, and gave the Red Wings are chance to weather the storm. Unfortunately for the Rangers, they did just that. Daniel Alfredsson found himself wide open in the slot, and Pavel Datsyuk put it right on his tape. Alfredsson wasted no time, and ripped it right over the shoulder of Talbot, and once again the Rangers shot themselves in the foot nearing the end of the period.
With 20 minutes left to play, the Rangers had a difficult task a head of them, and didn't disappoint. Mats Zuccarello was able to bounce back from his prior turnover, and chipped in the tying goal within the first two minutes of the third period. Zuccarello has also been snake bitten to start the year, and it was great to see him chip in at such an important time of the game.
The game would eventually head into overtime, with each team picking up at least a point in the standings. With the Red Wings pressuring throughout the overtime period, the Rangers were able to slow down the game in the final minute of overtime. Benoit Pouliot would make an unbelievable play along the boards, and chipped the puck into the offensive zone to lead Derick Brassard on a breakaway. Brassard wound up freezing up Jimmy Howard, and ripped one through the five hole to give the Rangers the win, and two points in the standings.
It was just an overall great game from the Rangers, as they were able to bounce back multiple times throughout the game, and eventually prevailed with two points. The Rangers will be heading back to MSG with a 3-6 record, which isn't great, but it's also not the end of the world either. They'll also be heading into Monday night's game with some major confidence from tonight's win, along with a rowdy crowd at the World's Most Famous Arena.
Until then, Let's go Rangers!