The New York Rangers probably deserved two points tonight, but the massive performance from Carey Price gave the Canadiens a chance, and they grabbed a 3-2 victory in the shootout. As a whole, the Rangers played a solid game this evening and probably would have won if not for Price’s last-second save in overtime to send the game to a shootout.
Henrik Lundqvist, who had a similarly strong game, dueled it out with Price for most of the night which made for quite the goaltending battle. Lundqvist’ strong play was evident during the opening minutes, where the Rangers were struggling to find their legs. Unfortunately, Lundqvist could only do so much before the pressure finally got the best of the Rangers.
Andrew Shaw was able to get Montreal on the board at the 3:55 mark of the first period, and slammed home a wrap around from behind the net. Thankfully, that goal appeared to put the Rangers on notice and they responded a short time later. The goal all started with a monster zone entry by Jesper Fast, who then sent a pretty pass over to Oscar Lindberg for the easy tap in.
For all of the speculation surrounding the Rangers and potentially adding a bottom-six rental player, their fourth line played a pretty dominant game tonight. After allowing the tying goal, the Canadiens answered right back early in the second period with a power play goal coming from Shea Weber.
Much like the first period, the Rangers were able to find a response several minutes later, and evened the game up at 2-2. After failing to convert earlier in the game on a breakaway, Rick Nash certainly made up for it with his second opportunity and buried the puck under the crossbar. Rick Nash had a pretty dominant game in the offensive zone tonight, so it was nice to see him redeem himself on the second go around.
That goal would be the last one in regulation, with both goaltenders locking down the nets and sending this game to overtime. The Rangers best chance in overtime came with under 10 seconds remaining, when Price made a ridiculous diving save to deny J.T. Miller of the game-winning goal. Miller probably could have elevated the puck a bit more on the shot, but it’s still an absurd save to keep the Canadiens alive in the game.
As a result, this game would go the distance and the skills competition would need to be used as the decider. Mats Zuccarello started it all off with a slick goal to get the Rangers on the board, but Alexander Radulov would answer in the second round to pull the Canadiens even.
Following a series of saves from Price and Lundqvist, Paul Byron had an opportunity to put the game away in the fifth round. Byron was able to fool Lundqvist by changing up the angle, and quickly dishing a shot through the five-hole to give the Canadiens the additional point. Despite losing the coin flip in the shootout, the Rangers played a strong game and will have plenty of positives to build off of moving forward. The Rangers will have another tough Atlantic Division matchup coming up on Thursday, as they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs.