Henrik Lundqvist and Jimmy Howard stole the show on Friday night at Madison Square Garden in regulation playing to a 1-1 tie, and in 3-on-3 overtime Brady Skjei and Mats Zuccarello made some magic.
After a broken play in the Rangers’ end, Skjei skated up the ice and bested two Detroit Red Wings players before setting up Zuccarello for the game-winning goal to give the Rangers a third win in a row, and their seventh straight victory at MSG this season.
The goal was a perfect cap to a thrilling game in which both goaltenders were simply phenomenal. The teams traded chances back and forth, and during the first two periods Lundqvist brushed aside 27 shots while his counterpart on the opposite end of the ice stopped 22.
The Red Wings came out strong out shooting New York 17-6, but in the second period the Blueshirts out shot Detroit 16-10.
Just hold your breath for the final minutes of the period pic.twitter.com/W8SAawjJWf— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) November 25, 2017
Both goaltenders were asked to make some difficult saves both at even strength and on the power play, and the game remained deadlocked at 0-0.
At 4:05 of the third period, Tomas Tatar finally broke the ice with 0:02 remaining on a Jesper Fast boarding penalty. Marc Staal failed to clear the puck from the slot and eventually the puck made its way to Tatar who fired it past Lundqvist.
At that point the Rangers tried to kick it into a higher gear, and finally the team broke through to the other side at 10:17 of the third period.
Chris Kreider tied the game after putting home a knuckleball of a pass/shot attempt by Pavel Buchnevich, and the Rangers had life.
Both sides would trade more chances in regulation and both failed to scored.
At the end of regulation Lundqvist had stopped 40 of 41 shots, and Howard had stopped 29 of 30 shots. It only took 0:37 of overtime for Zuccarello to score the game-winning goal which was his fourth of the season, assisted by Skjei and J.T. Miller.
The Rangers have now won three games in a row, and find themselves back in a playoff spot for the time being with a record of 12-9-2 and 26 points. Things are looking up in the standings, and for some of the team’s most important players as well.
After a slow start to the season, Lundqvist is 8-2-0 in his last 10 starts with a 2.05 goals-against average and a 0.940 save percentage, and is getting locked in at the right time.
The Rangers’ next game is a Sunday afternoon matinee vs. the Vancouver Canucks with a scheduled start time of 2:00 p.m.