The New York Rangers’ losing streak halted at two this evening as they rallied late in the third period to defeat the Arizona Coyotes 3-2. Kaapo Kakko’s go-ahead goal at 17:42 of the third period held up as the game winner, as New York’s power play went 2-on-3 throughout the game. Keith Kinkaid was spectacular in goal for the Rangers tonight, and came away with his first win of the season after turning aside 29 shots.
Loui Eriksson (1) - Clayton Keller (12) & Ilya Lyubushkin (5) SHG - 17:46
The Rangers had a pretty slow start to this game, which is understandable given their recent travel schedule. However, a shorthanded goal against is never the way you want to start a game, and Loui Eriksson registered his first goal in a Coyotes sweater. The Rangers were caught with four players forward on the power play, and a great flip by Ilya Lyubushkin generated a small 2-on-1 opportunity. A cross-ice feed by Clayton Keller opened up a shot for Loui Eriksson, and the puck trickled over the goal line after squeaking through Keith Kinkaid.
Kaapo Kakko (4) - Mika Zibanejad (17) & Chris Kreider (5) - 10:40
It took the Rangers until the midway point of the game to finally generate meaningful offensive pressure in the Coyotes’ zone. Chris Kreider made a great play while on the delayed penalty and found Mika Zibanejad opening up for a shot in the high slot. Zibanejad’s shot gave Scott Wedgewood some trouble, and the rebound dropped behind him in the crease. Kaapo Kakko was waiting right on the doorstep and slammed home the rebound to tie up the game at 1-1 in the second period.
Clayton Keller (7) - Nick Schmaltz (3) & Anton Stralman (3) PPG - 8:47
Just prior to the halfway point of the third period, the Coyotes had some jump in the offensive zone and carved up the Rangers with some pretty passing. Anton Stralman made a great pass to open up space for Nick Schmaltz, and created a mini 2-on-1 opportunity down low. Schmaltz elected to pass across the crease to Clayton Keller, who was cutting to the net, and Keller fooled everyone on the ice. Keller’s made a quick move to his backhand and slipped the puck past Kinkaid to restore Arizona’s one-goal lead.
Mika Zibanejad (6) - Adam Fox (26) - Chris Kreider (6) PPG - 14:14
With Artemiy Panarin leaving the game for an undisclosed reason early in the second period, Mika Zibanejad replaced him in the left circle on the first power play unity. That immediately paid dividends as Zibanejad’s power play tally pulled the Rangers even with under six minutes to play in regulation. With Chris Kreider providing the screen on front, Zibanejad let go a heavy wrist shot through traffic and beat Scott Wedgewood cleanly over the right shoulder.
Kaapo Kakko (5) - Chris Kreider (7) & Ryan Strome (14) PPG - 17:42
The Rangers had another huge opportunity late in the game as Arizona was whistled down for having too many skaters on the ice. That setup a late power play chance for the Rangers, and it didn’t take very long for them to take advantage of the moment. Following some great puck movement, Ryan Strome moved the puck down low to Chris Kreider standing on the goal line. A quick step out front was all Kreider needed to open space, and he zipped a pass back to the middle of the ice. Kaapo Kakko was well positioned to redirect home the hard pass, and gave the Rangers their first and only lead of the evening.
It certainly was much harder than it needed to be given the Coyotes’ record, but the Rangers found a way in the end. Their offense has had a tough time scoring throughout the last three games, but they showed up late in this game when the opportunity presented itself. Following a rough travel schedule, the Rangers will head back home tomorrow before returning to action on Friday night against the Vegas Golden Knights.