The New York Rangers picked up their third win of the preseason tonight, and defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in the shootout. The Rangers struggled during the second period, but there was a lot to like about this game aside from that. Ryan Malone had a big game tonight, as he tied up the game late in the third period, and then won the game in the ninth round of the shootout.
Henrik Lundqvist had another strong game as well, and appears right to start the regular season. The two goals that the Blackhawks scored on him, he really didn't have much of a chance on either of them. The first one he had Andrew Shaw planted right in front of him, and the second one was just a beautiful passing play capped off by Patrick Kane's cross-ice feed to Shaw.
Anthony Duclair was rather quiet on the score sheet, but still had a pretty strong game in all three zones. He wasn't invisible by any means, and connected with Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis on a few pretty passing plays. Lastly, J.T. Miller appears locked into the 3C spot, as he had another strong game, including a perfect pass to Malone on the tying goal.
The Rangers wound up getting on the board first tonight as Martin St. Louis redirected Matt Hunwick's shot at the top of the crease. Hunwick made a great play at the blue line to get himself in a position to shoot, and unloaded a cannon towards Corey Crawford. St. Louis was also in perfect position, and wound up getting the tip of his stick on the shot to deflect the puck over Crawford's shoulder.
The Blackhawks responded later on in the second period with a pair of goals, and took a 2-1 lead into the third period. Patrick Kane picked up the Hawks first goal on an absolute bomb of a shot through Andrew Shaw's screen, which beat Lundqvist just over the right pad. The second goal came just about two minutes later as Shaw capped off a beautiful passing sequence between Brandon Saad, and Patrick Kane.
In the third period, the Rangers responded with quite the offensive attack, and it wound up paying off with less than five minutes remaining in the game. Jesper Fast and J.T. Miller combined to create a turnover at the Hawks blue line, which created a mini odd-man opportunity. Miller picked up the loose puck, found Ryan Malone cutting to the far post, and placed a perfect tape-to-pass which Malone tapped past Crawford to tie the game.
Overtime didn't solve anything, as both teams traded a handful of chances in the extra period, and it was off to the shootout. Mats Zuccarello scored first for the Rangers on a nifty forehand to backhand move, and gave the Rangers the early lead in the shootout. The next two shooters missed for both teams, which allowed Teuvo Teravainen to tie up the game in the third round. The next four rounds were scoreless for both teams, as Henrik Lundqvist and Corey Crawford battled it out in the crease.
Finally in the ninth round, Ryan Malone capped off the game by slipping the puck five hole on Crawford, and gave the Rangers their third win of the preseason. The Rangers will close out the preseason tomorrow night against the New Jersey Devils. Final cuts are expected at some point after that, as the Rangers look to finalize their opening night roster prior to the Tuesday deadline.