After falling to the Detroit Red Wings late last week, the New York Rangers rebounded tonight with a huge 1-0 overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks. For the second game in a row the Rangers forced overtime, but unlike Wednesday night, they found a way to get the job done. Even though they didn't necessarily play as strong as they did against Detroit, they were able to hang alongside with one of the top teams in the Western Conference tonight.
Cam Talbot had yet another big game tonight for the Rangers, as he earned his fifth shutout of the season, and came up with several key saves throughout the evening. In his last seven appearances, Talbot has posted a 5-1-1 record, along with a 1.69 goals against average, and .943 save percentage. At the other end of the ice, Corey Crawford had one heck of a game as well, and also kept this game scoreless with a few mind blowing saves.
The Rangers had several golden opportunities to break the scoreless tie in regulation, but Crawford came sprawling back on at least three separate occasions. Both goaltenders played absolutely lights out tonight, hence the game needing overtime to be decided.
Early on in the game, the Rangers gift wrapped a few power play opportunities for the Blackhawks, but they were able to hold down the fort. The Rangers did an excellent job tonight on the penalty kill, and didn't really give the Blackhawks a whole lot to work with. Through four different power play attempts, the Rangers only allowed three total shots, which is pretty amazing in itself.
After going 58 minutes without any scoring, the Rangers had a huge opportunity of their own with a little under three minutes remaining in the game. The Blackhawks were caught with too many men after a sloppy change, which sent the Rangers to just their second power of the game. While they weren't able to get a whole lot set up, they did send through a few threatening opportunities that Crawford turned aside.
That eventually set the stage for overtime, which surprisingly, only took 32 seconds to decide a winner. Derick Brassard, the eventual goal scorer, started the entire play with a big defensive play in the neutral zone. Brassard was actually the last player back when the puck gets moved up the Zuccarello, and he was able sneak through the middle undetected. Mats Zuccarello also made an excellent play to curl up just inside the blue line, and find Brassard wide open with a crisp cross-ice feed.
Once he received the puck, Brassard had plenty of time to make a decision, and wound up for an absolute laser of a slap shot. The puck just barely slipped between the arm of Corey Crawford, and flew into the net for the game-wining goal.
The Rangers are in the midst of their toughest stretch of the season with the likes of the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, Washington Capitals, New York Islanders, and Chicago Blackhawks coming up over the next several weeks. Through three games against the Nashville Predators, Detroit Red Wings, and Chicago Blackhawks, the Rangers have earned 5 out of a possible 6 points. That's a huge start to this difficult stretch, and they will need to keep that up on Tuesday against the New York Islanders.