The New York Rangers continued their winning ways this evening, picking up their fifth straight win and sweeping the five game homestand at Madison Square Garden. Henrik Lundqvist also picked up his 400th win in the process, and became just the 12th goaltender in NHL history to earn the prestigious milestone. It certainly didn’t come easy, either, as the Avalanche forced The King to make 28 saves in this one.
Fittingly, this game started off rather quickly for the Rangers as Kevin Klein fooled Calvin Pickard with an off-speed slapper from the point. The puck just barely slipped under Pickard’s arm and trickled over the line to give the Rangers an early 1-0 lead. For the most part, the Rangers controlled the play for a good portion of the period, until the final minute.
That is when the Avalanche found their opportunity and convereted off of a blistering one-timer from Gabriel Landeskog. Nathan MacKinnon started the play by entering the zone with speed, and dropped the puck back to Landeskog for a bomb just inside the left faceoff circle. The lackluster ending to the first period clearly carried over to the second period, where the Avalanche slowly took back control of the game.
It eventually lead to the go-ahead goal coming from John Mitchell, who scored off of a weak wrister from the side boards. At first, it appeared as if there was some goaltender interference from Jarome Iginla in front, but after a quick review that was not the case. The Rangers were unable to find an answer to the Avs’ response following the goal, which set the stage for the third period.
Thankfully, the Rangers turned the game right around early in the third period, as Klein picked up his second goal of the game. Funny enough, it came from almost the identical spot as his first goal, but this time, he absolutely wired the shot just under the crossbar. About three minutes later, Rick Nash tapped home his 16th of the season off of a feed from Derek Stepan, and the Rangers regained their one goal lead.
From that point on, the Rangers never looked back and Henrik Lundqvist locked down the fort at the other end of the ice. The Rangers eventually iced the game with a little under two minutes remaining, as Kevin Hayes picked up his 14th goal on the empty net. After a historic night at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers will look ahead to Monday night’s contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets, where they look to extend their winning streak.