The New York Rangers rattled off their third straight victory this evening as they defeated the New Jersey Devils by a final score of 2-1. Aside from the final moments of this game, the Rangers controlled a majority of the play in the offensive zone and tossed 37 shots on goal throughout 60 minutes. Unfortunately, Corey Schneider was absolutely spectacular in between the pipes, and if not for him, this game probably gets out of hand in the early going.
However, the Rangers were able to convert twice within a span of 20 minutes and that was enough to get the job done. As for Henrik Lundqvist, he had a fairly easy game early on, and then went to work late in the third period with the Devils pressuring for a tying goal. Despite the Rangers strong play during the opening period, the Rangers came up empty after throwing 17 shots on goal, and went into the intermission with a scoreless tie.
After forcing numerous turnovers in the offensive zone, the Rangers were able to finally make the Devils play early on in the second period. Mats Zuccarello made a great play in the corner to knock the puck loose, and was able to make his way out to the high slot. By holding onto the puck, Zuccarello drew in both Devils defensemen and dished a quick pass over to Kevin Klein. Klein was in position to crank a one-timer on net, and after receiving a beautiful pass from Zuccarello, he wired it past Corey Schneider.
For someone playing through a fractured thumb, Klein didn't seem phased at all after rifling the shot, and he gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead. That lead would remain intact for a remainder of the period, and then four minutes into the third, J.T. Miller doubled up the Rangers lead. Miller, once again, stepped up at a big time for the Rangers and registered his 17th goal of the season.
The goal came from a fairly unsuspected spot after Miller received a pass from Derick Brassard, and fooled Corey Schneider with a long distance shot. Miller wound up keeping the puck on the ice after he shot it, and slipped the puck between Schneider's pads to make it a 2-0 game. At this point, it appeared as if the Rangers were in a comfortable spot and would be able to close this one out easily.
However, after going on the power play late in the game, the Rangers wound up gifting the Devils a shorthanded goal. The goal came after Keith Yandle made a high risk play at the blue line, which was blocked, and gave the Devils a 2-on-1 rush back the other way. Dan Girardi dropped down in an attempt to block the centering pass, but Adam Henrique connected with Travis Zajac on the backdoor.
As the final minute of the game approached, the Devils completely turned this game around and were furiously pressuring the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist wound up making a couple of crucial saves late in the game, and closed this one out for the Rangers. With the win, the Rangers have now made it three wins in a row, and have created a nice little four point cushion over third place.
The Rangers will have a huge matchup this upcoming Wednesday, where they will welcome in the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are right behind them in the standings.