The New York Rangers closed out the 2018 calendar year with one final win as they defeated the St. Louis Blues 2-1 in regulation time. Henrik Lundqvist completely stole this game for the Rangers as he turned away 38 of the 39 shots in faced, most of which came in the final two periods of play. It was vintage Hank tonight, and if not for him, this game could have gone very different for the Rangers on New Year’s Eve.
Ryan O’Reilly (15) - Assists: David Perron (12) - 10:08 1st Period
Despite the Rangers having the better of the play in the first period, it was the Blues who opened the scoring midway through. David Perron and Ryan O’Reilly combined on a nice little reversal play in the corner, which finished with a heavy one-timer shot from O’Reilly. Henrik Lundqvist wasn’t able to position himself in time, and the puck sailed over his shoulder to give the Blues a 1-0 lead.
Mats Zuccarello (4) - Assists: Chris Kreider (11) - 19:40 1st Period
After coming up empty on their previous two power play chances, the Rangers finally cashed in late in the first period with Mats Zuccarello’s fourth goal of the season. The Rangers kept their cycle game going on this opportunity and Chris Kreider eventually found Mats Zuccarello wide open on the right side of the net. Kreider quickly fed a cross-ice feed over to Zuccarello who buried the puck as soon as it touched his blade to even the game up at 1-1.
Boo Nieves (2) - Assists: Ryan Strome (6) & Kevin Shattenkirk (8) - 3:11 2nd Period
The game winning goal in this game came early in the second period right after the Rangers made a line change. Boo Nieves came right over the boards, intercepted the puck at the blue line, and drove to the net with plenty of space to work with. Nieves shoveled an off-angle shot on net that somehow found its way through traffic and in behind Jake Allen. The replay showed there were two deflections off of sticks in front of the net, both Blues’ players, and that held up as the game winner.
Following tonight’s victory in St. Louis, the Rangers will have a scheduled off day before returning to action on Wednesday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins to open the 2019 year.