Just 24 hours after an unfortunate conclusion in Washington, the New York Rangers got back into the win column with a 5-2 win over the New Jersey Devils. Mats Zuccarello’s two goal night powered the Rangers this evening, with Henrik Lundqvist holding down the fort at the other end of the ice.
With a quick start under their belts during the opening minutes of this game, the Rangers were rewarded for their effort and came away with the first goal. Jimmy Vesey was able to finish off a beautiful passing play between Boo Nieves and Paul Carey to give the Rangers the early 1-0 lead. Despite shooting from a bad angle, Vesey slipped the puck over Keith Kinkaid’s blocker hand just off to the right side of the net.
A little over 20 minutes later, Jesper Fast eventually doubled up the Rangers lead following a perfect centering feed from Rick Nash. Nash did an excellent job of digging the puck out from the corner, and found Fast wide open in the high slot for the easy scoring chance. Fast quickly snapped the shot over Kinkaid’s glove hand, and the Rangers held a comfortable 2-0 lead.
That comfortable two goal lead only held up for about four minutes, with the Devils immediately answering back with a point blast from Damon Severson. The Devils took over a big following their opening goal, and forced the Rangers into taking a delay of game penalty short thereafter. Thankfully, the Rangers were able to escape the penalty kill without a goal against, and right as Smith exited the box, the Rangers made it a 3-1 game.
Mats Zuccarello came away with his sixth goal of the season after cleanly stripping Severson of the puck, and snapped a quick wrist shot past Kinkaid on the partial breakaway. Just as the tide appeared to be changing following the Devils power play, Zuccarello immediately put an end to it, and restored the Rangers two goal lead.
Zuccarello wasn’t satisfied with just one goal, either, as he netted his second goal of the night at the 6:21 mark of the third period. This time around, J.T. Miller and Zuccarello exchanged cross-ice passes before Zuccarello eventually wired one over the shoulder of Kinkaid to give the Rangers the added insurance marker.
The Devils would quickly eliminate that three goal lead with Miles Wood cashing in on a one-timer chance off to the right of Henrik Lundqvist. Pavel Zacha made an incredible feed over to Wood through traffic in front, and Wood slammed the puck home to give the Devils their second goal of the evening.
Following a few tense moments after the Wood goal, the Rangers finally put the icing on the cake with Kevin Hayes pouncing on a rebound in the crease. Rick Nash picked up his second assist of the night on the goal, and gave the Rangers the 5-2 lead heading into the closing minutes. The Rangers did an excellent job of clogging up lanes to preserve their three goal lead, and closed it out to take their 11th win in the last 12 games at Madison Square Garden.
At the conclusion of their four game Metropolitan set, the Rangers were able to take home six out of a possible eight points. As a result, they sit just two points out of third place ahead of Monday night’s matchup against the Dallas Stars. We’ll see if the Rangers can continue their winning ways at Madison Square Garden yet again.