After dropping their last two games by the score of 3-0, the New York Rangers finally got back into the win column tonight with a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Henrik Lundqvist kept the Rangers in the game as the Blue Jackets attacked right out the gate, and sealed the deal as the Blue Jackets were in search of a late tying goal.
Unlike the last few games, the Rangers were able to get some decent time in the offensive zone and generated a handful of chances in close. Unfortunately, Sergei Bobrovsky stood tall coming out of the gate, and kept the Rangers scoreless for the entire period. At the other end of the ice, Henrik Lunqvist also held himself to a similar standard, and turned down all of the scoring opportunities the Blue Jackets had in the offensive zone.
However, there was some cause for concern as the Rangers still appeared to be shaky when trying to relieve pressure in their own end. Nearing the end of the period, the Blue Jackets could have easily made this a 1-0 game after Rick Nash, and Dan Boyle coughed up the puck on blind passes to the middle of the ice. Luckily for them, Lundqvist was on top of his game and turned down the multiple opportunities the Blue Jackets had following the two costly turnovers.
After a back and forth period for both teams, the Rangers FINALLY got on the board just 5:59 into the second period, which was their first goal in seven periods. Marc Staal was able to capitalize on a broken play in front of the net, and chipped the puck through a group of bodies in front of Bobrovsky. Bobrovsky was unable to track the puck through the traffic in front, and the puck just barely slipped over the goal line.
You could tell the goal rejuvenated the Rangers, as they continued to control the play after gaining the one goal lead. A little over four minutes later, the Rangers extended their lead to 2-0 as Chris Kreider capitalized on a beautiful seam pass from Derek Stepan. Stepan was able to hit Kreider in stride on the far boards, and slipped the puck through three Blue Jacket players before connecting on the tape-to-tape pass. Kreider capped off the beautiful pass with a delayed move to the backhand, and flipped it over Bobrovsky to give the Rangers a two goal lead.
Nearing the end of the second period, the Rangers were forced to kill off a late slashing penalty on Carl Hagelin, and did so rather convincingly. The Rangers tried to carry the momentum over to the third period, but were greeted with a quick goal coming from the Blue Jackets. Right after Rick Nash was denied at the other end of the ice, Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi were caught admiring the play, which allowed Scott Hartnell to slip up ice undetected.
Ryan Johansen hit Hartnell with a crisp pass to spring him on a breakaway, and he ripped a scorching wrist shot over the shoulder of Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers were forced back on their heels following the goal, but were able to hang on despite the Blue Jackets controlling the play late in the game. With less than five minutes remaining in regulation, the Rangers appeared to score off of a Kevin Klein deflection in front, but it was quickly waived off by the referee.
After reviewing the play for several minutes, it was determined that Klein's stick was well above the crossbar, and the goal was officially waved off by the war room. The goal would have put the game away for the Rangers, but they were faced with a last ditch effort by the Blue Jackets with Bobrovsky at the bench. The Rangers were able to kill off the remainder on the time on the clock, and finally got back in the win column after dropping the previous two games.