The New York Rangers pulled a rabbit out of their hat this afternoon and defeated the Philadelphia Flyers by a final score of 3-2. With the way the Rangers played throughout this game, they probably had no business taking two points, let alone forcing overtime. However, in the absence of Ryan McDonagh, Keith Yandle stepped up big time and found the tying goal with just 12 seconds remaining.
Ryan McDonagh wound up leaving the game midway through the first period after taking a sucker punch from Wayne Simmonds, and never returned. Obviously there is a ton of concern surrounding the captains status, as losing him would be a huge blow at this point in the playoff race. As a result, Keith Yandle was vaulted up the lineup following McDonagh's injury and led all defensemen with 27:33 of ice time this afternoon.
While the ending to this game was certainly exciting for the Rangers, the beginning, however, was not as entertaining. Losing McDonagh early in the game was already bad enough, but things got much worse later on in the second period and the Flyers took an early 1-0 lead. Just prior to the goal, Dominic Moore was whistled down for a questionable hooking call, and that sent the Flyers to the power play.
Exactly a minute later, Shayne Gostisbehere faked a shot from the point and ripped the puck through a ton of traffic in front. Henrik Lundqvist was unable to track the puck through bodies in front, and that gave the Flyers their first lead of the game. That lead would carry over into the third period, where the Rangers looked to rebound and finish the game off strong.
Just three minutes later, the Rangers finally found the bounce they were looking for and evened up the game at one. Chris Kreider was able to get apiece of the puck after Dan Girardi tossed a shot on net and deflected the puck over Steve Mason. While it appeared as if the Rangers were finally trending in the right direction, Philadelphia bounced right back with a goal of their own about two minutes later.
Ryan White received a nifty little feed from Gostisbehere off to the left side of the net and ripped a low shot past Henrik Lundqvist. As good as Lundqvist was throughout the afternoon, he probably should have turned that one aside given it was from a non-threatening angle. Regardless, though, the Rangers needed a late push in order to force overtime and they eventually found the tying goal.
With 12 seconds remaining in regulation, Jesper Fast set Keith Yandle up at the point and Yandle unleashed an absolute bomb from just inside the blue line. Steven Mason wasn't able to locate the puck as it came in and Yandle came away with a huge tying goal to force overtime. The Rangers certainly had several opportunities in overtime, but they wound up whipping those chances just wide of the net.
Neither team was able to find the winning goal in the extra frame, so this game went to the shootout in order to decent a winner. After back and forth action in overtime, the Rangers made quick work of the Flyers in the shootout after Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan scored. Henrik Lundqvist was able to finish off the game with two consecutive saves and earned the Rangers two huge points in the standings.
As previously mentioned, the Rangers probably had no business even being in this game, but they found a way. While we wait to hear the status of Ryan McDonagh, the Rangers will began preparing for another big matchup on Monday night against the New Jersey Devils.