The New York Rangers continued their offensive dominance tonight, and defeated the Arizona Coyotes tonight by a score of 5-1. The Rangers put four straight goals on the board in the third period, including a highlight reel goal from Kevin Hayes, and came away with two huge points. Cam Talbot also had another night game for the Rangers turning away 34 shots, and is now 4-1-1 since taking over for the injured Henrik Lundqvist. In addition, Alain Vigneault came away with his 500th career win as a coach, which puts him top 20 on the all-time list, and a big congratulations to him as well.
Despite no one getting on the board in the first period, the Rangers came out strong early on with a ton of puck possession, and had a few quality scoring chances. That momentum eventually carried over to the second period, where the Rangers capitalized just 55 seconds into the second period. Derek Stepan was able to find Chris Kreider flying down the left wing, and sprung him in on a partial breakaway. Using his insane amount of power, Kreider forced his way to the front of the net, and tapped the puck under Mike Smith on the backhand.
We've said this numerous times before, but that is quickly becoming a patented move by Kreider, and no goaltender seems to have an answer for it. Following the early goal by Kreider, the Coyotes started to push back with pressure of their own, and eventually tied up the game at 1-1. Oliver Ekman-Larsson set up the entire goal with an excellent pass through traffic, and found Antonie Vermette uncontested on the backdoor.
Tanner Glass was the one covering Vermette on the play, but seemed to drift away, and left Vermette enough to time jam home the rebound. Heading into the third period, the Rangers needed to be much better while possessing the puck, and they did exactly that.
Rick Nash got the onslaught started 1:19 into the third period after Kevin Klein hit him with a quick outlet pass from inside his own zone. Nash was able to gain a step on Keith Yandle, and ripped a wicked wrist shot right under the bar to give the Rangers the 2-1 lead. With the Coyotes playing last night, it was expected that they play with take a slight dip, and the Rangers took full advantage.
About 11 minutes later, Kevin Hayes extended the Rangers lead to 3-1 on an absolutely gorgeous shorthanded goal, and surprised Mike Smith with the quick shot. Hayes got the entire play started with a huge defensive play in his own zone, and lugged the puck all the way up the ice while fighting off the defender. With Ekman-Larsson taking away the pass over the Tanner Glass, Hayes took it upon himself to drive to the net, and finished it off with a beautiful shot.
The Coyotes were pretty much dead in the water following the pair of goals, and the Rangers wound up adding two more insurance goals to extend the lead to 5-1. Marc Staal came away with the third goal of the period after he slammed home a loose puck that popped out to him with a scramble in front of the net. Lee Stempniak closed out the score three minutes later after his rebound took a strange bounce in front, and flipped over Mike Smith's head.
Cam Talbot turned down the remaining chances from the Coyotes late in the game, and the Rangers went on to win their third straight game. Tomorrow will be an off day for the Rangers before they return to Long Island for a meeting with the New York Islanders.