After a discouraging loss to the New York Islanders just 48 hours ago, the New York Rangers responded this afternoon with a huge 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. It took a shootout to decide a winner, and Henrik Lundqvist made damn sure the Rangers took two points home before heading into Washington tomorrow evening. Lundqvist was simply spectacular all afternoon, and he looked like the Lundqvist from earlier on in this season with the performance he put on today.
In addition, Chris Kreider finally broke his scoreless drought early in the second period, and it appeared to jump start him following the goal. Aside from Lundqvist coming back into form, if there's one thing the Rangers need, it's Kreider putting the puck in the back of the net on a consistent basis. Hopefully his goal this afternoon gives him some much needed confidence, and gets him going during the second half of the season.
The Rangers had a bit of a sloppy start to this game in the early going, and it wound up costing them on the scoreboard. Just 3:58 into regulation, the Flyers grabbed their first lead of the game after Brayden Schenn tapped home a centering feed from Sean Couturier. The goal came after the Rangers failed to stop a Flyers rush, and no one picked up Schenn on the backdoor. Yet another defensive miscue wound up costing the Rangers, and they had to find a way to get back into the game.
Luckily, the Rangers got their chance later on in the period and J.T. Miller brought this game back even. After keeping the Flyers hemmed in on the power play, Ryan McDonagh caught the Flyers sleeping on the rush. McDonagh hit J.T. Miller up the wing with a beautiful outlet pass, and that gave Miller plenty of room to break in down the left side.
Before the Flyers were able to get back and defend, Miller snapped a hard snap shot past Steven Mason and beat him just over the left pad. That goal was huge to get the Rangers back in the game, and also led to a strong end to a period that started out very questionable. Despite that, though, the Flyers turned the tides in the second period and out-shot the Rangers 11-4 through 40 minutes.
Even though they only registered four total shots through the second period, one wound up in the back of the net courtesy of Chris Kreider. Rick Nash made it all happen by sending a perfect saucer pass over to Kreider after gaining the zone with speed. All Kreider had to do was elevate the puck enough to beat the sprawled out Mason, and he gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead.
The third period was much better in terms of defending for the Rangers, but an offensive zone penalty wound up coming back to bite them. A little over a minute into the power play, Wayne Simmonds capped off a ridiculous passing play and tied up the game at 2-2. Henrik Lundqvist wasn't too pleased with the result, and rightfully so, because Simmonds was left all alone at the far post.
That eventually lead to a hectic closing to regulation time, and set the stage for quite the overtime period. While most goalies probably groan at the thought of 3-on-3, Henrik Lundqvist clearly welcomes it. Lundqvist was lights out during the extra period, and made several huge saves to keep this game alive and kicking for the Rangers. Neither team was able to find the game winning goal, and this game would have to be decided in the shootout.
Henrik Lundqvist started it off with a big save on Shane Gostisbehere, and Zuccarello followed it up with a beautiful move to give the Rangers the advantage. From that point on, neither team was able to find another goal, and Lundqvist turned aside Jakub Voracek's final attempt to seal the deal for the Rangers. The Rangers have been alternating wins and losses now over the last nine games, and they are in desperate need of another lengthy winning streak.
They will have another opportunity to get such a winning streak started with another game tomorrow evening against the Metropolitan Division leading Washington Capitals.