After dropping three straight games, the New York Rangers are now winners of two straight, with their latest coming at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings. Henrik Lundqvist picked up career win number 300 which puts him one shy of tying Mike Richter, who holds the record for most all-time wins by a Rangers goalie. He also tied Eddie Giacomin with his 49th career shutout, and is one away from being the all-time leader in the shutout category as well. That Henrik Lundqvist guy is pretty good, huh?
Anyways, onto the game. Right from the opening face-off, the New York Rangers looked like they had a little extra jump in their step, and they leaped right on the attack. It wound up paying off as just 5:14 into the game, Brian Boyle capitalized on a loose puck in the high slot. Dominic Moore did a great job to lug the puck through the neutral zone, and quickly dished it off to the trailing John Moore. Moore's stick wound up breaking on the shot, and the puck somehow found its way to Brian Boyle. With his back turned, Boyle corralled the puck, and ripped a hard, low shot at Jimmy Howard. His shot wound up going off of Brendan Smith in front, and Boyle gave the Rangers the early 1-0 advantage.
As the game continued to carry on, you could clearly see the Rangers were starting to frustrate the Red Wings with their strong neutral zone, and defensive end coverage. Everything the Red Wings did, the Rangers and Lundqvist had an answer for. It also led to some questionable plays that went unnoticed by the officials that were controlling this game. I'm not one to complain about the officiating, but my word did it hit an all-time low this afternoon. Late in the second period, Justin Abdelkader took an unnecessary run at Ryan McDonagh, and continued to harass him behind the play.
Abdelkader continued to whack away freely with the referee doing nothing but spectating by the front of the benches. There's a huge difference between missing a penalty, and blatantly watching a penalty occur while doing nothing about it. Either way, the Rangers were able to overcome some of the questionable calls that were being made, and continue their quest for two points.
Finally, just 14 seconds into the third period, Chris Kreider was able to give the Rangers that 2-0 insurance goal they were searching for. Ryan McDonagh picked up the primary assist on the goal as he blasted a shot through traffic, and Kreider was able to get a slight redirection on the puck in front of Jimmy Howard. The goal was a perfect example of McDonagh's willingness to get that shot on net, and Kreider causing havoc at the top of Howard's crease while somehow getting a stick on the puck.
Then just about 12 minutes later, it was Kreider again as he ripped a shot from the left circle on the 2-on-1 rush with Derek Stepan. Stepan makes this goal happen as he rifled a pass over to Kreider before Jonathon Ericsson could react to play. With the pass being so crisp, Kreider basically had an empty net to shoot at as Jimmy Howard committed hard to Stepan taking the initial shot.
Henrik Lundqvist was able to withstand the Red Wings pressure for the final eight minutes, and went on to win his 300th career game in a Rangers jersey.
This was a huge weekend for the Rangers as they collected four out of a possible four points, and they continue their race for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That win puts them one point clear of the Philadelphia Flyers with one more game played, and three points ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Rangers will have tomorrow off before heading back to Raleigh to take on the Carolina Hurricanes once again.
Oh yeah, and be sure to check out Pierre McGuire's puck throw fail during a stoppage in play. It's pretty funny.