After clawing their way back into the game, the New York Rangers gave up a late tying goal and eventually fell in overtime 5-4 to the Los Angeles Kings. For the most part, aside from the opening few minutes, the Rangers played a decent game tonight, but just couldn't finish the job with the time ticking down. Antti Raanta, who got his first start in over a month, had a rough start to this game, but settled in after the Kings jumped out to a two goal lead.
With that long of a layoff, it's no surprise that it took a few shots against for Raanta to get back in the rhythm. As a result, just 33 seconds into the game, the Kings were able to catch the Rangers napping, and took the early 1-0 lead. Anze Kopitar was given way too much time to pick his spot, and sure enough, he snapped one just over the block of Raanta. A little over ten minutes later, the Kings went to work on the power play, and Marian Gaborik eventually gave the Kings a two goal lead.
Much like the first goal, the Rangers gave Gaborik all the time in the world, and with his powerful shot, he ripped one through Raanta to make it a 2-0 game. At this point, it looked as if it was going one of those nights, and the Rangers were going to get their doors blown off. However, the second goal wound up jump-starting the Rangers, and they clawed right back about two minutes later.
Kevin Hayes made a big time play behind the net, and shoveled a quick pass out to Viktor Stalberg who was all alone in front. Stalberg wound up fanning on the shot initially, but got just enough of it, and the puck trickled in behind Petr Budaj. The goal came at a perfect time too, and the Rangers went into the locker room feeling good about their response.
That trend carried over to the second period, where the Rangers rattled off two straight goals, and suddenly had a 3-2 lead. The first goal came courtesy of Derek Stepan, who stripped the puck from Tyler Toffoli, and slipped the puck through Budaj's legs to knot the game up at two. A few minutes later, Mats Zuccarello caught a lucky bounce after tossing a shot on net, and the puck somehow fell in behind Budaj. After a last ditch effort to keep the puck out, Budaj wound up swatting the puck into the net, and the Rangers took a 3-2 lead.
Unfortunately, with less than four minutes remaining in the second period, a bad turnover by J.T. Miller got the Kings back into the game. With a chance to create a 4-on-2 rush, Miller misplayed the puck and it deflected backwards off of a Kings skate. That allowed Milan Lucic to walk in with plenty of space, and he hit Anze Kopitar on the backdoor who was all alone.
After giving up the late goal, the Rangers needed a big response in the third and they finally broke through with five minutes remaining in regulation. Mats Zuccarello made an unbelievable individual play to avoid a check, and found Kevin Hayes cutting in on the far side of the net. Zuccarello placed the puck perfectly on his tape, and Hayes was able to shovel the puck home to make it a 5-4 game.
With the Rangers poised to close this one out, another bad bounce wound up costing them an important second point. Anze Kopitar completed the hat trick with 30 seconds remaining in regulation, and wound up bouncing the puck in off of Kevin Klein's chest. Then just three minutes into the overtime period, Tanner Pearson caught a beautiful pass from from Alec Martinez and snapped the winning goal past Raanta.
This was an extremely disappointing loss, mainly because the Rangers were able to claw their way back into it after falling behind early. While it does suck to lose that one, the Rangers have collected 9 out of a possible 10 points over the last five games. They will have an opportunity to get back into the win column on Sunday night, when they host the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden.