That's more like it.
After letting a 3-1 lead slip away last game against the Washington Capitals, the New York Rangers responded tonight with a huge 3-2 overtime win over the Anaheim Ducks. It certainly didn't come easy by any means, but the good news is that the Rangers now head into the holiday break with two hard earned points tucked away in their back pocket. Alain Vigneault has been calling for his top players to step up over their last little losing streak, and tonight, they certainly did.
The duo of Mats Zuccarello and Derek Brassard was simply sensational all game long, and they accounted for all three of the Rangers goals this evening. In addition, the fourth line also continued it's strong play in the offensive zone, and gave the Ducks issues on numerous occasions tonight. Henrik Lundqvist also had a nice little bounce back game tonight after getting shelled during the last two outings.
Unfortunately, despite an early push by the Rangers, they found themselves down by a goal during the opening 11 minutes, and were forced to claw back. Following a questionable non-icing call, Rickard Rakell was able to pry the puck loose from Marc Staal, and made a move to the front of the net. On the way out, Rakell lost the puck and it slipped right to Corey Perry who was waiting in the high slot.
Perry was able to make an impressive turn around move, and whipped a shot past Lundqvist to give the Ducks the first lead of the game. Thankfully, a few moments later, the Rangers were able to force the Ducks into two consecutive turnovers, and Derek Brassard knotted the game up at one. It was a huge goal not only to bring the game back even, but also instilled some much needed confidence in the Rangers forecheck.
Following the first period, there wasn't a whole lot of action during the middle frame as both teams only registered 10 shots on goal, combined. There were a ton of penalties though, so each team got a nice little workout on the penalty kill. Finally, in the third period, the Rangers created an opportunity off yet another turnover and took full advantage of it. Mats Zuccarello was credited with creating this entire goal after ripping the puck from Jiri Sekac, and setting up Derick Brassard a few seconds later.
All Brassard had to do was hit the net after the beautiful centering feed, and gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead early in the third period. At this point, the Rangers were in control and looked to be on the way to their first win in four games. However, the Ducks wound up making things interesting after Rickard Rakell sniped one past Henrik Lundqvist, and brought the Ducks even with under three minutes remaining.
This game would eventually need overtime to be decided, and it set the stage for an incredible finish. After keeping possession for the opening minutes of overtime, Derek Stepan found Ryan McDonagh sneaking through the middle, and sent him in on a breakaway. Cam Fowler was forced to make a last-ditch effort play and yanked McDonagh's jersey which resulted in a Rangers power play.
With a little under 2:30 left in overtime, the Rangers finally found the chance they were looking for, and sent the Ducks packing. Dan Boyle wound up making a beautiful play that drew in two Ducks players, before sending it back over to Mats Zuccarello on the far side. Without any delay, Zuccarello teed up the perfectly placed pass and wired a slap shot past John Gibson to seal the deal for the Rangers.
As if you couldn't tell by the Rangers' reaction after the goal, that was a win they truly needed and wanted pretty badly. With two points finally in hand, the Rangers will have a nice holiday break before returning on Monday for a meeting with the Nashville Predators.