Following an embarrassing defeat on Wednesday night against the Ottawa Senators, the Rangers leaped back into the win column this evening with a 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. The win snaps a short two game losing streak by the Rangers, as they improved their record to 13-5-3 this season at Madison Square Garden.
Unlike the previous game, the Rangers had a better start to this game and tested Jonathan Quick with some early chances. Unfortunately, though, that early start would quickly swing back in the Kings favor for a good portion of the first period. Even though the Kings outchanced the Rangers 24-18 in shot attempts, the Rangers would be the first team to break the ice.
At the 10:23 of the first period Chris Kreider deflected a Kevin Shattenkirk point shot on the power play, and gave the Rangers the 1-0 lead. It was a bit of a fortunate bounce for Kreider with the puck deflecting off of his knee and in behind Jonathan Quick. For Shattenkirk, he continues to find ways to get shots through on net and picked up his 16th assist on the season.
The one goal Rangers lead would last until the 3:46 mark of the second period, where Marian Gaborik notched the tying goal in his 1000th NHL game. The goal came off of a weird angle shot from the left side, which Gaborik was able to slip between the legs of Henrik Lundqvist. Kevin Shattenkirk initially kept Gaborik to the outside lane, but a perfectly placed shot evened the game up at one.
Nearly 11 minutes later, the Rangers regained their one goal lead after Kevin Hayes absolutely lasered a shot past Quick on the far side. Ryan McDonagh picked up the primary assist on the goal by feeding the puck over to Hayes just as he was getting hit along the boards.
The Kings would continue to hang around, and eventually tied up the game for the second time at 7:59 of the third period. Led by Gaborik line once again, Torrey Mitchell slammed home a loose puck generated by a rebound and made this a 2-2 game. That left this game to be decided in the final 10 minutes.
After coming up empty on his prior chances, Rick Nash finally delivered for the Rangers at a big moment. Nash made a perfect defensive play in the neutral zone to separate Christian Folin from the puck and broke down the left wing with speed. He was able to quickly snap on a shot on net before Derek Forbort came over to make the play and beat Jonathan Quick over the shoulder.
That goal would hold up to be the game winner with J.T. Miller icing the game with an empty net goal at the 19:06 mark of the third period. Overall, it was a much better effort tonight from the Rangers and they walked away with two big points from the Kings, who lead the Pacific Division.
The Rangers will have an opportunity to make it two wins in a row tomorrow night as they meetup with the Boston Bruins starting at 5:00 PM.