If you turned this game off following the second period, you missed one heck of a game. The New York Rangers were able to erase a 3-0 deficit heading into the third period, and somehow came away with two points. Anthony Duclair notched his first career NHL in the process, and it couldn't have come at a better time. Henrik Lundqvist also had a rocky start thanks to his defense, but locked it down in the third period as the Rangers completed the comeback.
Things were pretty quiet in the early going in this game, as both teams were playing solid defensively in their own end, which didn't leave a lot of open ice. Later on in the first period though, is when things took a turn for the worst. With under 30 seconds remaining in a scoreless first period, Chris Kreider took down Jonas Brodin with a reckless hit from behind, and Brodin remained down for some time.
Kreider wound up receiving a five minute major for boarding, along with an accompanying game misconduct on the play. There was obviously zero intent to injure coming from Kreider, but he really needs to learn how to use his strength correctly, and when to hold up in certain situations. There's really no excuse for Kreider to continue to plow his way through when there is clear intent that the defender is holding up.
The good news is, Brodin wound up returning later on in the second period which may help Kreider's case against a suspension. Luckily enough for the Rangers, the Wild were reluctant to shoot on their extended power play, which made for a fairly easy penalty kill. The Rangers wound up killing off the initial major penalty, but just shortly after, they found themselves down by a goal.
A few seconds after the penalty expired, Nate Prosser was able to sneak down from the point undetected, and slipped the puck under Henrik Lundqvist. Then just a minute later, it was Matt Cooke, who also slipped in undetected, and tapped the puck over Lundqvist for the 2-0 lead. The Rangers defensive zone coverage had been outstanding up until that point, and two mistakes wound up costing them. A few minutes following the goals, things started getting extremely ugly, as the Rangers took their second major penalty of the game.
This time it was John Moore, who followed through with a vicious elbow to the head of Erik Haula, and received an automatic match penalty for a hit to the head. It was yet another hit that was completely uncalled for, and will likely result in some sort of suspension. Moore is considered a repeat offender, as he was suspended during the playoffs last season, when he concussed Dale Weise late in the series against the Montreal Canadiens.
As a result, the Wild went to work on their second extended power play of the game, but once again come up empty handed. The Wild continued to amp up the pressure though, and wound up finding the back of the net once again just several minutes later by Jason Pominville.
Then, the third period happened.
Whatever happened in between the second and third period, it clearly set the Rangers off, as they rattled off five goals to complete the unthinkable. Kevin Klein and Rick Nash got the party started in the third period, as they each added a goal apiece, which brought the Rangers back within a single goal. Just a minute after Nash's goal though, the Wild were able to get one of their own back, as Jason Zucker tipped in Nino Niederreiter's shot to make it 4-2.
From that point on, the Rangers poured it on, and scored three consecutive goals to take a 5-4 lead with just over three minutes remaining in the game. First it was Derick Brassard, who tapped in Carl Hagelin's rebound as the puck landed in behind Darcy Kuemper after it rang off the crossbar. About eight minutes later, Anthony Duclair finally broke the ice, and knotted the game up at four with probably the biggest goal of his young career. You can check the endless amounts of awesomeness in Evan's GIF post.
Right after the ensuing faceoff, the Rangers came right back down the ice, and Derick Brassard set up Mats Zuccarello for the game winning goal. Zuccarello dumped the puck in off the faceoff, and for some reason, the Wild let Brassard walk right in behind the net to retrieve the loose puck. At that point, everyone was focused on Brassard which opened up a passing lane to Zuccarello, and the rest is history. Zuccarello's celebration pretty much summed up how everyone felt after watching that magic happen right before our eyes. So, let's take one last look at it.
The Rangers were able to hold on to their one goal lead for the final two minutes of the game, and literally robbed two points from the Minnesota Wild. The Rangers will have another extended break, and will be back in action this Saturday as they host the Winnipeg Jets at Madison Square Garden.
Let's enjoy this one for the time being!