The New York Rangers kept their home ice winning streak alive this afternoon, and made it eight straight wins with a 4-3 shootout win over the Vancouver Canucks. Henrik Lundqvist, who bailed out the Rangers for a good portion of the game, was solid in the shootout and picked up his fourth straight win.
Much like last game against the Detroit Red Wings, the Rangers were absolutely miserable to start the game. That allowed Vancouver to carry the pace of this game, and despite Lundqvist standing on his head, the Canucks took an early 1-0 lead courtesy of Loui Eriksson.
Paul Carey’s failure to clear the zone led to a scoring chance the other way, and Eriksson snapped the puck through Lundqvist. With the Rangers still struggling to find their game, Vancouver kept the pressure on and eventually made it 2-0 at 7:21 of the second period.
The goal came as a direct result of the Rangers losing a puck battle in the corner, and Jake Virtanen absolutely smoked a wrist shot past Lundqvist’s right ear. The Rangers desperately needed a goal with the clock ticking down in the second, and Jesper Fast was the one to answer the call. The goal came off a triple deflection in the high slot, and after going off of Michael Grabner’s stick, Jesper Fast finally buried the puck from just inside the hash marks.
Fast’s goal clearly gave the Rangers life as just 19 seconds in the second period, the Rangers found the equalizer. Michael Grabner, who had numerous chances prior to the goal, finally caught Jacob Markstrom with a sneaky wrist shot while flying down the left wing. As quickly as the Rangers tied up the game, though, the Canucks came right back down the ice and restored their one goal lead just 40 seconds after.
As the goal fest continued, the Rangers would find the tying goal yet again following an absolutely ridiculous goal coming from Jimmy Vesey. Rick Nash created the chance by winning a puck race into the offensive zone, and found Vesey with a beautiful spin-o-rama pass back to the middle of the ice. Vesey capped off the pass with a smooth forehand to backhand move and roofed the puck under the crossbar to make it a 3-3 game.
Regulation and overtime would solve nothing in this game, so we headed to the shootout to find a taker for the second point. On the anniversary of Marek Malik’s magical between-the-legs goal, it was fitting that this game went the distance in the shootout. The Rangers and Canucks traded goals in the third and fifth round, which set the stage for the seventh round.
After tying the game in the third period, Jimmy Vesey had the opportunity to end this game once and for all. He did just that with a perfectly placed snipe into the right corner of the net, and gave the Rangers their eighth straight win at Madison Square Garden.
After losing their previous winning streak to the Columbus Blue Jackets back on November 17, the Rangers have started another winning streak with four straight victories. As the Metropolitan Division teams continue to pick up points, the Rangers are keeping pace and currently sit in the second wild card spot holding a one point cushion.
The Rangers have all but eliminated the remains of their horrendous start to the season, and while some wins aren’t pretty, they are picking up much needed points. Following this afternoon’s shootout victory, the Rangers have another home matchup scheduled for Tuesday night against the Florida Panthers.