The New York Rangers have now won three straight games following Kevin Shattenkirk’s overtime goal against the Florida Panthers. Unlike last game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Rangers ran into a bit of a track meet with both teams combining for nine total goals throughout the evening. Henrik Lundqvist, despite giving up four goals, had another strong outing. Most will point to the late tying goal as blemish on the record, but at the end of the day, it was just a nicely played shot by Vincent Trochek.
Funny enough, with nine goals scored in this game, absolutely nothing came during the first 20 minutes of this game. Both teams were clogging up the lanes and playing pretty conservative in the early going. However, everything seemed to open up during the final 40 minutes and both teams traded goals.
Colton Sceviour opened the scoring for the Panthers at the 3:11 mark of the second period, following a creative deflection off to the left of Henrik Lundqvist. A few moments later, Nick Holden tied the game up at one after a fortunate bounce landed right on his stick inside the right circle. Holden immediately ripped a shot on net, and beat Roberto Luongo before he was able to get back into position.
Sceviour would scored his second of the night during within final six minutes of the period and made it a 2-1 game. Thankfully, Kevin Shattenkirk responded back four minutes later with a sneaky wrist shot from the point that found it’s way through traffic. The goal trading would continue during the third period, with Michael Grabner and Keith Yandle making it a three all game with under 12 minutes remaining in regulation.
Finally, it appeared as if the Rangers had a stranglehold on this game with Rick Nash giving the Rangers a 4-3 lead just past the halfway mark. Nash did an excellent job positioning himself in front of the net and deflected Ryan McDonagh’s heavy point shot.
Unfortunately, despite the Rangers keeping most of the play outside, and wicked wrist shot from Vincent Trocheck tied the game at 18:04. After grabbing a point, the Rangers immediately jumped on the Panthers at the beginning of the overtime period. That eventually led to a quick breakout pass by J.T. Miller, which sprung Kevin Shattenkirk and Rick Nash on a 2-on-1 the other way.
Nash carried the puck into the zone before dishing a pass over to Shattenkirk for the game winning goal. Shattenkirk did an excellent job of waiting the extra second while Luongo was in transition, and put the shot against the grain to the far side. With tonight’s win, the Rangers have now won three straight games and suddenly sit just a single point out of a playoff spot.
As bad as the Rangers started the season, they have done an excellent job as of late by righting the ship and picking up points. A few lineup decisions are still questionable by Alain Vigneault, but so far so good in terms of a quick turnaround. The Rangers will be back in action this coming Monday as they meet up with the Columbus Blue Jackets at Madison Square Garden.