Just 24 hours after taking a big game in Washington, the New York Rangers followed it up with a 3-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes at Madison Square Garden. Given the Rangers emotional win last night, many expected the Rangers to have a less inspired effort while playing on tired legs. While that was the case for a brief portion of the first period, the Rangers battled through it and came away with two more points tucked away in their back pocket.
Surprisingly, Henrik Lundqvist was given the start after going last night in Washington, and while it may have been a gamble, it paid off just fine for the Rangers in the end. The Coyotes came out absolutely flying early on in this game, and just 33 seconds in, they jumped out to a 1-0 lead courtesy of Radim Vrbata.
Vrbata wound up getting apiece of Connor Murphy’s point shot, and caught Lundqvist off guard while he was reacting to the initial shot. Following the goal, the Rangers started to find their legs a bit and eventually knotted up the game a little past the halfway mark of the period.
Josh Joori was the recipient of the goal, and notched his first goal as a Ranger off of a slick feed from Michael Grabner. Jooris followed it up with a great effort in front of the net, and slammed home the loose puck while diving over Louis Domingue in the crease. Later on in the second period, the Rangers took their first lead of of the game coming off of a power play goal from J.T. Miller. After coming up empty on their first opportunity, the Rangers made the Coyotes pay this time around, and made it a 2-1 game.
Ryan McDonagh created the goal with a wide shot that was intentional, which allowed Miller to get his stick on the puck and deflect it past Domingue. Unfortunately, nearing the end of the second period, the Coyotes were able to pull even thanks to Vrbata’s second goal on the night. After quickly entering the zone, Vrbata let a sneaky shot fly just inside the blue line, which apparently caught Lundqvist napping a bit.
With the game tied heading into the third period, the Rangers looked to turn the momentum back in their favor early on in the final frame. Thankfully, they were able to make quick work of that and Dan Girardi put the Rangers back on top at the 1:55 mark.
Brady Skjei did an excellent job of creating space in the offensive zone by dishing the puck off the boards, and it came right out to Girardi for the shot. Girardi let go a booming slap shot from just inside the blue line, and it beat Domingue just over the blocker.
The Rangers had a few opportunities to snag an insurance marker throughout the period, but were unable to finish off their chances. With the goalie pulled in the final minute, the Rangers were able to keep the Coyotes to the outside and secured their second win in as many days.
After sweeping the weekend, the Rangers will have two much needed days off before returning to Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night against the Boston Bruins.