The New York Rangers, courtesy of their power play units, earned their second consecutive victory tonight as they defeated the Arizona Coyores 6-3. Matt Puempel was a large part of the power plays success tonight, as he notched three goals with the man-advantage to earn his first career hat trick. One of which was the game-winning goal, while the final one sent Mike Smith into a fit of rage as he hulk smashed his stick on the post.
Since we’re on the topic of Matt Puempel, it’s almost fitting that he was the one to open the scoring in this game. A little under two minutes into regulation, the Rangers were given their first power play and they eventually cashed in at the 2:24 mark. Matt Puempel’s intended pass for Nick Holden wound up taking a deflection off of Alex Goligoski in front, and the puck slipped in behind Smith to make it a 1-0 game.
The Rangers wouldn’t stop just there though, as they quickly added on another power play goal a little under six minutes later. This time around, Nick Holden finished off of a beautiful centering feed from J.T. Miller and gave the Rangers an early 2-0 lead. Nearing the end of the first period, the Coyotes were able to cut the Rangers lead in after following a goal from Christian Dvorak.
Just prior to the goal, Dan Girardi launched the puck down the ice for an unnecessary icing call, despite being all alone in the corner. That lead to an offensive zone faceoff, which the Coyotes quickly converted off of and made it 2-1 heading into the first intermission. Thankfully, Chris Kreider was able to answer almost immediately during the second period, and restored the Rangers two goal lead off of a deflection at the top of the crease.
Much like the first period, the Coyotes upped the pressure with under five minutes remaining, and they were rewarded with yet another goal. Anthony Duclair was credited with his third of the season, after he deflected the puck off of Dan Girardi’s stick and over Antti Raanta to make it a one goal game. Then just 7:32 into the third period, the Coyotes knotted up the game after they were gifted a power play following a horrendous call on Ryan McDonagh.
Tobias Rieder not only beat Dan Girardi at the blue line, but also beat him to the net before tapping home the cross-ice feed from Radim Vrbata. After leading for a good portion of the game, the Rangers suddenly looked lost and let the Coyotes climb right back into the game.
However, the Rangers power play delivered yet again, and Matt Puempel gave the Rangers a 4-3 lead at the 14:40 mark of the third period. After Puempel gave the Rangers the late third period, J.T. Miller wound up icing the game with 27 seconds remaining after a crafty deflection with the net empty.
Matt Puempel clearly wasn’t satisfied with the two goal lead, and quickly tapped home his third goal of the night right off of the ensuing faceoff. Puempel’s third goal of the night finally closed out the scoring and earned the Rangers their second consecutive win. The Rangers will have one final game remaining during the 2016 calendar year, as they head into Colorado for a meeting with the Avalanche on New Year’s Eve. Hopefully they can close out 2016 on a high note.