The New York Rangers won their sixth game this evening after two huge third period goals, and defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 in regulation. The Rangers continued their trend of turning up their game in the third period, and were rewarded yet again this evening. Antti Raanta, who started his first full game since December 29th, had a very strong game this evening and turned away 25 of the 27 shots he faced.
Raanta came up huge in the third period, and turned away several high percentage scoring opportunities with the Jackets making a late push. Aside from the bad bounce against midway through the third, the Blue Jackets only other goal came at the 8:12 mark of the the first period. It came courtesy of Brandon Dubinsky, who buried a feed from Brandon Saad after Saad beat Dan Girardi into the corner for a loose puck.
While Girardi’s error led to the first goal against, he certainly made up for it early in the second period and tied up the game at one. After Kevin Hayes lost the puck on an attempted shot, Girardi quickly followed up and tossed a shot on net. The puck wound up taking a fortunate bounce off of the defenseman in front and beat Sergei Bobrovsky over the glove.
Nearing the end of the second period, the Rangers were given a power play which carried over to the third period. Even though the Rangers didn’t score, it gave them some momentum and they were able to translate that into the go-ahead goal. Kevin Hayes picked up his 15th goal of the season after surprising David Savard in the neutral zone and stealing the puck to create a breakaway opportunity.
After several head fakes, Hayes caught Bobrovsky biting on the shot and slipped the puck between his legs to make it a 2-1 game. At that point, the Rangers were well in control of the game, until an unfortunate bounced knotted the game back up. A centering feed from Nick Foligno wound up catching a piece of J.T. Miller’s skate in front of the net and the puck deflected in behind Antti Raanta.
That goal certainly could have been deflating to the Rangers but they jumped right back into the action several minutes later. A little under two minutes later, Jimmy Vesey stormed up the ice on a mission, made a slick move around Savard and scored with a Marty St. Louis-esque shot from just outside of the crease.
That goal would wound up being the decider for the Rangers, as Antti Raanta held down the fort for the remaining few minutes. This win now marks the sixth straight win for the Rangers, with Thursday night’s matchup against the New York Islanders looming.