The New York Rangers have made quite a statement over the last four games and closed out their three-game road trip with a massive 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets this evening. As it stands right now, the Rangers are seven points out of their last wild card spot and have a game in hand on their opponents. Alexandar Georgiev got the nod in goal once again for New York, and turned in another solid effort with 36 saves on 37 total shots.
Pavel Buchnevich (13) - Jacob Trouba (17) & Chris Kreider (19) - 0:22 1st Period
Despite playing their second game in as many days, the Rangers opened up the scoring just 22 seconds into the first period. The goal came as a result of a faceoff win, and Jacob blasted a quick slap shot from just inside the blue line. Pavel Buchnevich was able to deflect the puck in the high slot, and fooled Elvis Merzlikins over the shoulder to give New York the early 1-0 lead.
Oliver Bjorkstrand (19) - Gustav Nyquist (24) & Scott Harrington (4) - 18:52 2nd Period
The Rangers were playing extremely well defensively for a majority of the game, but a broken play wound up leading to the tying goal for the Blue Jackets. Scott Harrington’s slap shot ended up in a cluster of players off to the side of the net, and Oliver Bjorkstrand scored on a desperate chip shot through traffic. Alexandar Georgiev never even saw the puck trickle over his shoulder, and suddenly the Rangers had themselves a game.
Chris Kreider (23) - Mika Zibanejad (27) & Adam Fox (25) - 16:49 3rd Period
One thing that has been evident over the last couple of games has been the Rangers’ mental toughness in these close games. Even after giving up a late second period goal, the Rangers came out in the third period looking for more. They eventually had their chance and Chris Kreider put the Rangers back on top with a late power play goal. Adam Fox and Mika Zibanejad both made excellent passes to setup the goal, and Kreider finished off the play all alone in the high slot.
Ryan Strome (14) - Philip Di Giuseppe (2) & Artemiy Panarin (48) - 18:49 3rd Period
With Columbus pulling their goaltender late in the game, a quick transition pass by Ryan Lindgren sent the puck the other way, and went right up to Artemiy Panarin. The Breadman was able to toss a pass over to two players on the far side, and Ryan Strome iced the game with 1:11 remaining in regulation.
The Rangers kept their composure tonight once again, and even though it may have been an ugly win, they picked up two crucial points in the standings. Tonight’s win keeps the playoff hopes alive for the time being, and New York will have another tough test with the Boston Bruins looming on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.