After defeating the Detroit Red Wings yesterday in overtime, the New York Rangers were right back in action tonight as they took on the Los Angeles Kings. Henrik Lundqvist, who got the start again tonight, turned away 36 shots and played a crucial role in tonight’s victory. Lundqvist was the sole reason the Rangers were in this game, with the Kings heavily outshooting the Rangers all throughout the game.
Despite only having two shots early in the first period, the Rangers somehow grabbed the first lead of the night courtesy of a Brandon Pirri laser. Pirri not only did an excellent job of recognizing the play and creating a turnover, but also quickly releasing a shot before the pressure arrived from the Kings. He was able to beat Jeff Zatkoff through the legs and the Rangers took a 1-0 lead.
The Rangers carried over their opportunistic play into the second period, where Matt Puempel would eventually make it a 2-0 game. The play began with Dan Girardi making a defensive play in the neutral zone and quickly making an outlet pass up to Derek Stepan. That led to a 2-on-1 rush back the other way, and Stepan fed Puempel for the easy tap-in at the far side of the net.
After taking a 2-0 lead, the Rangers fell back a bit in their own zone yet again, which led to the Kings getting some extended zone time. That came back to haunt the Rangers near the end of the period, as Jordan Nolan cut the lead to just a goal at the 18:01 mark of the second. Thankfully, the Rangers were able to escape the period with just one goal against, and came out in the third period looking for an answer.
That answer was quickly established by the Rangers in the third after Mats Zuccarello picked up his first goal in 15 games, off of a sweet centering feed from J.T. Miller. That was essentially a backbreaking goal against for the Kings, who now found themselves down 3-1, and have been facing scoring issues all season long. Henrik Lundqvist held down the fort for the remainder of the game, until a last-minute squeaked past Lundqvist with 1.8 seconds remaining.
The Kings weren’t able to do much with the time remaining, as the faceoff came back to center ice and the Rangers picked up their third straight victory. After sweeping the weekend series against Detroit and Los Angeles, the Rangers will have a day off tomorrow before venturing into Philadelphia for a meeting with the Flyers.