Following Tuesday’s shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens, the New York Rangers vaulted right back into the win column with a 2-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. In a similar fashion compared to last game, the Rangers ran into yet another hot goaltender, and had to scrounge up a late goal to force overtime this evening. Thankfully, Henrik Lundqvist was equally as strong as Frederik Anderson and had a handful of his own big saves in this one.
Throughout a majority of the game, the Rangers were easily the better team but a combination of bad luck and strong goaltending kept them off of the scoreboard. Despite controlling the play, the Maple Leafs caught a fortunate bounce early in the first period, and they took a 1-0 lead at the 10:56 mark of the first period.
Connor Brown picked up his 15th goal of the season after a point shot from Jake Gardiner deflected in front, and landed right in the crease. Brown cleaned up the rebound in front, with Henrik Lundqvist unable to react in time to turn the shot aside. From that point on, the Rangers continued to pressure the Leafs but were held scoreless until the midway point of the third period.
With the Rangers’ power play units struggling to score over the last little while, they had their chance at redemption in the third period. That is where the Rangers finally found a way to break Andersen, and J.T. Miller notched his 19th goal on the year just two seconds after the power play expired. Although it won’t officially get marked down as a power play, the Rangers generated a ton of zone time on the opportunity and it eventually resulted in a goal.
Brandon Pirri, who was reinserted into the lineup tonight, provided the initial shot that deflected in front and led to the tying goal. With regulation time solving nothing, this game would need extra time, and boy, it surely didn’t disappoint. The Rangers and Leafs put on quite a shot in overtime, and both teams traded chances at either end of the rink.
However, the goaltending in this game was just too strong and neither team was able to find the winning goal. It was truly a shame that one of these goalies had to lose via the shootout with the way that overtime concluded, but it is what it is. Unlike last game, the Rangers were able to prevail in the shootout, with both Mats Zuccarello and Mika Zibanejad netting goals in two consecutive rounds.
Henrik Lundqvist faced the final shot of the shootout, and turned aside Nazem Kadri’s attempt to give the Rangers a massive 2-1 victory. Following tonight’s win over the Maple Leafs, the Rangers will have Friday off to prepare for a weekend double header against the New Jersey Devils and Columbus Blue Jackets.