Twice during Monday night's game against Columbus the Rangers erased Blue Jacket leads, and while the Rangers were able to salvage a point, they ultimately fell the to the Blue Jackets 4-3 in a shootout.
The Rangers got off to another slow start, and after they were unable to clear their own zone, Brandon Dubinsky got lost in front of the net, and deflected home a Nathan Horton shot to give Columbus a 1-0 lead late in the first period.
It looked like the Rangers would tie the game on the next rush, when Derek Stepan hit Chris Kreider with a cross-ice pass, but Kreider's bid clanked off the post. The Rangers would keep the puck in the zone though, and draw a penalty, which would prove to be a big play.
On the ensuing power play, Rick Nash walked the puck down from the circles, and fired a snap shot off the crossbar and in, sending the teams into intermission tied.
The second period momentum would swing completely in favor of the Blue Jackets thanks to an early penalty. Chris Kreider was assessed a five minute boarding major and a game misconduct for sending Fedor Tyutin hard into the boards. Dubinsky would subsequently challenge Kreider, and draw an unsportsmanlike penalty that would keep the play at 4-on-4 for two minutes.
Tyutin went into the boards really hard, and had his back to the play. It looked like Kreider was attempting to pull up, but either way, it's a tough spot to put a referee in, especially when Tyutin gets that banged up.
With the teams still skating four a side, Cam Atkinson picked Anton Stralman's pocket in the Columbus zone, and went the distance before beating Henrik Lundqvist on a breakaway. Stralman was a minus-two on the night, and had one of his tougher games in recent memory.
While the Rangers were able to kill off the three minute Columbus power play, the Blue Jackets would extend their lead to two late in the second. Again burning the Rangers in transition, Dubinsky sent a perfectly-weighted cross-ice pass to James Wisniewski as Columbus entered the zone, and Wisniewski fired a shot over the stick of Lundqvist to make it a 3-1 game.
The Rangers had 20 minutes to cut into a two goal deficit, and came out to start the third a little sluggish. However, with Kreider serving the game misconduct, Alain Vigneault elected to move J.T. Miller up to the first line in his place, and double-shift RIck Nash.
The move paid off, as Brian Boyle got the Rangers within the goal early in the period off a strong shift from him, Dominic Moore, and Nash. The goal was Boyle's third of the season, and his second in as many games.
The Rangers would continue pressing, and a frantic forecheck forced Correy Tropp to shoot the puck over the glass and put New York back on the power play. On a perfectly worked sequence that began below the goal line, Ryan Callahan retrieved the puck, passed it off, and went to the front of the net. Eventually, it ended up on Nash's stick, and with Callahan setting a screen, Nash fired a wrist shot just inside the post for his second of the game, giving the Rangers new life with a 3-3 tie.
The Rangers had a chance late in regulation to take the lead on another power play, but couldn't get one past Sergei Bobrovsky, who made 42 of his 43 saves in regulation.
The game would go to overtime, where Columbus would find themselves on a power play with a chance to win. Stepan was assessed an interference penalty after making contact with Wisniewski at the blue line as the Rangers entered the zone. The call incensed Stepan, who was visibly upset with the refs.
With a 4-on-3 advantage, Columbus got a lot of good looks, but Lundqvist stood tall, turning back six Blue Jacket shots in the OT.
The game would go to a shootout, where Columbus would convert on both of their chances, and Lundvist would be scored on twice.
In a game where they made many mistakes, the Rangers still had a chance to secure two points. It was a standout game for Nash, who snapped a four-game goalless drought. Miller also was very good for the Rangers in both zones, and looked comfortable when moved up with Nash and Stepan. It's also worth noting that Vigneault said in the postgame he didn't think Kreider's hit was worthy of a suspension.
The Rangers get back at it Wednesday when they travel to Chicago to take on the top in the NHL in the Blackhawks.
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