The New York Rangers put on quite the performance tonight at Madison Square Garden, and blew out the Anaheim Ducks by a score of 7-2. This game started off with goals being traded between both teams, but it was the Rangers who finally pulled away with four unanswered goals in the final 40 minutes. Cam Talbot was phenomenal once again in between the pipes, and turned away 32 of the 34 shots that were thrown his way.
Keith Yandle also had a monster game, along with Derek Stepan, who each came away with three points on the evening. Yandle has been taking a ton of unnecessary hate after going pointless in his first handful of games with the Rangers, but he has been settling in very nicely as of late. He put up three assists tonight, which brings him to the 40 assist mark, and two of the three came at a crucial time when the game was still close in the first period. It took Yandle a bit to settle in, but if we continue to see more of what we saw tonight? Watch out.
The Rangers finally came out with a good start to this game, and wound up taking an early 1-0 lead just 1:24 into regulation. Ryan McDonagh's initial point shot took took a few bounces in front of Fredrik Andersen, and eventually ended up behind him in the crease. Chris Kreider was able to locate the loose puck that was practically sitting on the goal line, and slammed it home for the early lead in this game.
Despite the Rangers jumping out to the early lead, Anaheim responded a little under two minutes later to knot the game up at 1-1. Corey Perry was able to win a puck battle behind the net, and quickly cut to the front of the net after making a nifty move on Mats Zuccarello. Perry finished it off by ripping a hard shot under the glove of Talbot, and just like that this game was even once again.
However, as quickly as the Ducks responded, the Rangers restored their one goal lead at the 5:24 mark on the power play. Derek Stepan capped off a beautiful passing sequence between Rick Nash and Keith Yandle, and bombed a low shot through traffic. Andersen never even caught a glimpse of the puck with Chris Kreider posted up at the top of the crease, and the Rangers finally broke their 0-for-18 power play goal drought.
The Rangers eventually capitalized four minutes later, as Kevin Hayes' spin shot deflected off of Carl Hagelin, and popped over Andersen's pad. Keith Yandle started the entire play with a crisp stretch pass through the neutral zone to Hayes, and the rest is history. Following the goal, the Ducks elected for a goaltending change, and John Gibson came in to relieve Andersen of his duties for the night.
Just as it appeared as if the Rangers were smooth sailing, Corey Perry netted his second goal of the evening after he absolutely undressed Ryan McDonagh. Talbot was essentially left out to dry, and Perry flipped the puck over his pad to cut the Rangers lead in half once again. Following the first period, this game seemed like it was going to be quite the high scoring game, and it certainly was in one direction.
Throughout the final 40 minutes, the Rangers rattled off four consecutive goals coming from J.T. Miller, Derek Stepan (his second), Jesper Fast, and Derick Brassard. Miller started off the party with a wicked wrist shot that sailed just under the bar after receiving a beautiful pass from Mats Zuccarello. About 14 minutes after that, Stepan converted on his second goal of the night, and beat Gibson through the legs following a giveaway by the Ducks.
Then, it was Jesper Fast and Derick Brassard scoring two minutes apart in the third period, and sent the Rangers en route to a massive 7-2 win. Fast was able to catch Gibson napping in his crease, and slammed home the wraparound on the far side that just barely found a seam between the pads. Finally, Derick Brassard closed out the scoring on another incredible pass from Mats Zuccarello, and tapped the puck into the empty net.
The Rangers may have struggled last night against the Carolina Hurricanes, but tonight's performance was a huge statement win. They not only knocked off one of the top teams in the league, but also did so in dominating fashion. Not to mention, the Rangers are still down a top-six forward in Martin St. Louis, Kevin Klein, and of course, Henrik Lundqvist. This team never gets rattled, and continues to march along no matter what happens.
On to Los Angeles.