The New York Rangers put together a solid outing in Los Angeles tonight, and were able to grab their first win of this young regular season. The entire line of Brad Richards, Derek Stepan, and Rick Nash were on point all night, and lit up the score sheet as well. While the Kings didn't have the strongest of games, the Rangers didn't make it easy either, and kept the Kings on their heels the entire 60 minutes.
It started early for the Rangers as they were able to establish their forecheck, and were finishing checks with every chance they had. Ryan Callahan also got things going with a punishing hit on his first shift of the game, and sent Robyn Regehr flying into the boards.Their hard nosed play would eventually pay off as Brad Richards collected a rebound, and flipped it over Jonathan Quick to give the Rangers the 1-0 lead on the road.
This goal came as a direct result of the Rangers forecheck as Derek Stepan was able to knock away the puck at the blue line, and forced the turnover. Rick Nash fired a quick shot, and Richards was right on the doorstep to pick up the rebound. As the second period came into focus, things started getting a little chippy on both ends of the rink. It only took three minutes before we had our first throw down of the night, between Arron Asham and Kyle Clifford.
Asham, who is essentially fighting to stay in the lineup, played a great game tonight, coupled with his fight in the second period. Just a few minutes after the fists were flying, Richards was able to pick up his second goal of the night off yet another turnover at the blue line. This time it was Rick Nash who interrupted the Kings breakout, and quickly fed it over to Richards to spring the odd-man rush.
With Richards attempting to make a cross-ice feed, Slava Voynov made a diving attempt to break up the play, but it wound up deflecting off of his stick and through Quick's five hole. However, the Kings were able to jump right back into the game as Jake Muzzin slipped in undetected and ripped a quick wrister over the shoulder of Lundqvist to cut the lead back to 2-1.
Things got a little interesting in the third period, as the Rangers were sent to their third penalty kill of the game off of a trip from Benoit Pouliot. Off of the ensuing faceoff, Ryan McDonagh ripped the puck down ice, only to have it wind up in the net. Jonathan Quick came out to stop the puck, wound up dropping his stick, and knocking the puck into his own net to give the Rangers a 3-1. It was a bizarre moment, but it's a goal the Rangers wouldn't mind taking.
Henrik Lundqvist was able to shut down the Kings for the rest of the third period, and the Rangers went on to win their first game of the season. Alain Vigneault also received his first win as head coach of the Rangers, since being appointed earlier this summer. If the Rangers can keep their foot on the gas peddle for tomorrow night's game, we'll be in for another entertaining one.