The New York Rangers came away with a very big win over the Minnesota Wild tonight, beating them 3-2 in regulation. With this win, the Rangers have gained a three point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Penguins no longer have a game in hand on the Rangers.
Just 11:23 into the game, Brian Boyle gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead after he tapped in a rebound that fell behind Josh Harding. Anton Stralman took the initial shot from the point, where Brandon Dubinsky directed it on net, and it fell behind Harding. Boyle tapped the puck into the empty net, and the Rangers finally got on the board.
This game came shortly after a premature whistle, which resulted in Ryan Callahan's goal being waived off. The Rangers had three opportunities in the first period to score with the man advantage, but were unable to convert. It would wind up hurting them later on in the game.
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After a solid opening period from the Rangers, they got themselves into penalty trouble early on in the second period. Brian Boyle took a delay of game penalty as he lifted the puck over the glass. Kyle Brodziak would eventually slam home a rebound in front of Henrik Lundqvist on the ensuing the power play. After going 0-for-3 in the first period, the Wild were able to convert on their first power play of the evening.
Shortly after the Wild tied up the game, Marian Gaborik put the Rangers back on top with a great feed from Brad Richards. After taking a series of boo's the entire night, Gaborik annoyed the home crowd even more after he flipped a puck over Josh Harding. Brad Richards made a great play in the corner, and made an even better no-look pass out in front, that landed right on the tape of Marian Gaborik.
Once again, the Rangers found themselves down a man for the second time in the game. And again, the Wild found a way to score once again on the power play, which in turn hurt the Rangers big time. The captain, Mikko Koivu was the recipient of the goal, off of a great cross-ice feed from Dany Heatley. As the Rangers were still 0-for-3 on the power play, the Wild were doing exactly the opposite by going 2-for-2. It's also worth noting that the Wild's power play was ranked 26th in the league heading into tonight's game.
The second period wasn't the greatest hockey the Rangers have played, but they were able to cling to a 2-2 score. The Rangers came out with some better jump in the third period, and it wound up paying off in the end. Ruslan Fedotenko was able to put the Rangers ahead with just over six minutes remaining in the game. Ryan McDonagh made a great play in the corner to get the puck out, which happened to fall right on the stick of the wide open Fedotenko.
Speaking of Ryan McDonagh, he had a great game tonight, both defensively and offensively. He picked up two assists on the final two goals from the Rangers, and also played solid in the defensive end. He also had 80+ family and friends in attendance tonight, the same as Stu Bickel, and Derek Stepan who were all Minnesota natives.
The Rangers will be back in action tomorrow night against the Winnipeg Jets starting at 7:00 PM. Another huge two points are on the line tomorrow night, as the Rangers have a chance to to move up five points on the Pittsburgh Penguins.