The New York Rangers were able to overcome a relentless Carolina Hurricanes this afternoon, after scoring three goals in the third period and taking home a 4-2 victory. The first two periods of this game were absolutely abysmal for the Rangers, with the Hurricanes completely controlling the game in the Rangers end. At the end of the first period, the Rangers only put three shots on net, while the Hurricanes came away with 15.
However, one of those three shots for the Rangers wound up finding the back of the net, and it came off of a bit of a broken play at the top of the crease. Derek Stepan’s original shot wound up coming right back to him, and he shoveled a quick shot back towards Michael Leighton. With Kevin Klein driving the, Leighton was unable to get back into position, and Stepan’s shot just barely crossed the goal line.
The play went to a review, and thankfully, Leighton bobbled the shot just enough for the puck to be visible across the goal line. After coming away with a fortunate lead following the first period, the Rangers continued to come up empty through the neutral zone. The Hurricanes, like last game, completely clogged up the neutral zone, and essentially made the Rangers work for their space.
Unfortunately, the Rangers didn’t actually decide to wake up until the third period, but thanks to Henrik Lundqvist, they were still in the game. At the 8:34 mark of the second period, the Hurricanes dominating play finally paid off after Viktor Stalberg evened up the game. Following 40 minutes of play, the Rangers clearly had no business being in this game, and then, the third period happened.
The Rangers started the third period with a sense of urgency, and looked like a completely different team coming out of the locker room. They finally forced the pace through the neutral zone, which backed off the Hurricanes, and allowed the Rangers to go to work. Michael Grabner gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead just 5:54 into the third, following a beautiful centering feed by Brady Skjei. Grabner’s speed allowed him to break away from the defensemen, and he flipped the puck over Leighton after receiving the perfect pass from Skjei.
However, the Hurricanes found a way to respond almost immediately, and Victor Rask pulled the Hurricanes even once again. With the Rangers looking for a crucial goal, Chris Kreider stepped back into the spotlight once again and notched two goals within a matter of five minutes.
Kreider’s first goal came off of a net front scramble, where the puck landed right on his stick in the high slot, and flipped it over the sprawling Leighton. Then a few minutes later, Kreider was able to break in down the left wing, and banked the puck in off of the post with a quick snap shot. The Hurricanes pulled the goaltender with a little over a minute and a half left, but were unable to generate much of anything.
Despite their poor play through the first two periods, the Rangers found a way to take it up a notch in the third period, and were rewarded for their strong play. But make no mistake, if not for Lundqvist coming up big early on, the Rangers probably don’t have an opportunity to take this game.
Following this afternoon’s win, the Rangers will have a two day break before returning to action on Tuesday night against the New York Islanders.