After last night's late collapse against the Chicago Blackhawks, the New York Rangers rebounded tonight with a 4-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Given the Leafs current roster, tonight's win was probably a little too close for comfort, but at the end of the day, they grabbed two points. Antti Raanta got the start tonight with the Rangers playing on a back-to-back, and responded very nicely.
Raanta's last start against the Los Angeles Kings was a bit shaky, but that was expected after sitting out for over a month and a half. His strong play was extremely evident in the first period, when the Rangers were on their heels a bit, and let the Maple Leafs dictate the play early on. As strong as Raanta was, the Maple Leafs were able to catch a lucky bounce just four minutes in and took the 1-0 lead.
Martin Marincin's point shot deflected off of Dan Girardi in front of the net, and the puck trickled out off to the side of the net. P.A. Parenteau stuck his foot out in an attempt to redirect the puck on net, and it wound up slipping in behind Antti Raanta. It probably should have been ruled a kicking motion, but given the league's inconsistent ruling, it's no surprise that this one counted.
With about two minutes remaining in the first period, Leo Komarov took a run at Ryan McDonagh, and caught him in the head with an unnecessary elbow. McDonagh went down to the ice immediately, and given that he just returned last game from his previous concussion, there was some serious concern. He wound up remaining on the bench for the last minute of the period, but never returned when the team's came back out for the second period.
As a result, Komarov was assessed a five minute major, along with an accompanying game misconduct. With Kevin Klein coming to the captain's aid, he was also given two minutes for roughing, which cut the Rangers power play a little short. However, in that three minute span, the Rangers were able to take advantage, and Derick Brassard bombed home the tying goal.
Keith Yandle did an excellent job of drawing a player over, which opened up Brassard for a wide open blast. About five minutes later, Mats Zuccarello gave the Rangers their first lead of the night after botching the shot on a wide open net. Jonathan Bernier was completely sprawled out after saving Derek Stepan's attempt, and all Zuccarello had to do was elevate the puck and it was an easy goal.
At first, the goal never counted, but after a quick review, it was determined that Bernier's pad was over the line when he made the save. That lead would remain intact until the closing moments of the third period, where the Maple Leafs made their final push. With over two and a half minutes remaining, Mike Babcock got aggressive and pulled his goaltender for the extra attacker.
His aggressiveness wound up paying off as just a few seconds later, Colin Greening tapped home the tying goal after a scramble inside the blue paint. Closing out games has become a difficult task for the Rangers as of late, and it looked as if we were heading down that path once again tonight. However, exactly a minute later, Derek Stepan rifled home a pass from Mats Zuccarello, and the Rangers regained the lead.
J.T. Miller did an unbelievable job of tracking down the puck, and stripping Morgan Reilly before dishing the puck back to Zuccarello. That capped off a three point night for Miller, who continues to generate an immense of offense in the absence of Rick Nash. The Leafs elected to pull the goalie one final time, but this time around, the Rangers closed out the game with an empty netter.
Derick Brassard was credited with the final goal, which capped off a big 4-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Following the back-to-back, the Rangers will have a nice two day break before returning to Madison Square Garden for a matchup with the Detroit Red Wings.