The New York Rangers blew a 2-0 lead for a second consecutive night, and did so on Henrik Lundqvist night to boot. New York jumped out to an early two-goal lead through 20 minutes, but that lead slowly slipped away goal by goal, until Frederick Gaudreau put Minnesota up 3-2 in the third period. Igor Shesterkin played well for the Rangers once again, and tried his best to keep the Rangers afloat later on in the game, but his effort only went so far.
Barclay Goodrow (10) - Jacob Trouba (14) & Ryan Strome (24) - 8:47
With the pre-game festivities seemingly energizing the Rangers, it didn’t take very long for a packed Madison Square Garden to erupt. Just under nine minutes into the opening period, the Rangers caught the Wild on a 3-on-2 rush into the offensive zone. Two great passes by Ryan Strome and Jacob Trouba setup Barclay Goodrow, who was left all alone at the top of the crease. Goodrow received a great final pass from Trouba before settling the puck and flipping it into the near empty net.
Chris Kreider (31) - Jacob Trouba (15) & Mika Zibanejad (28) - 17:08
Feeding off of their opening tally, the Rangers kept forcing the issue later on in the period and were rewarded for their efforts. After an ill-advised icing by the Wild, the play shifted all the way back to offensive zone for what later became a critical faceoff. Mika Zibanejad won the ensuing faceoff cleanly to Jacob Trouba, who bombed a heavy slap shot towards Cam Talbot. The rebound kicked right out into the high slot where Chris Kreider was skating, and he was able to tap the puck past Talbot with a between the legs shot. The goal gave the Rangers some much needed momentum heading into the first intermission where they led 2-0 on the scoreboard.
Kevin Fiala (12) - Ryan Hartman (15) & Jordie Benn (3) - 12:18
For as strong as the Rangers were in the first period, the tables completely flipped during the middle 20 minutes of play. Minnesota did an excellent job of clogging up the neutral zone, and forcing the Rangers into several mistakes in their own zone. That eventually led to Kevin Fiala’s goal that brought the Wild back within a goal. Fiala was able to lose his coverage in front of the net, transitioned into a shooting position, and fired a one-timer over the shoulder of Igor Shesterkin.
Mats Zuccarello (13) - Krill Kaprizov (33) & Matthew Boldy (4) PPG - 13:47
Lundqvist: 'don't let that guy score'— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) January 29, 2022
A few moments later, old friend Mats Zuccarello made his presence known just as Henrik Lundqvist said ‘don’t let that guy score’ live on the MSG Broadcast. The goal came on the ensuing power play after Alexis Lafreniere was sent off for an undisciplined interference penalty. After some quick movement on the man-advantage, the puck worked its way over to Mats Zuccarello, who wound up for the slap shot. The shot found its way through the partial screen in front, and deflected in off of the right goal post.
Frederick Gaudreau (3) - Kevin Fiala (19) & Mats Zuccarello (27) - 1:49
After giving up two unanswered goals, things went from bad to worse for the Rangers early in the third period. Just 1:49 into the final frame of play, Minnesota was able to capitalize on extremely passive coverage by New York. Frederick Gaudreau was able to slip by Libor Hajek on the weak side of the ice, and Kevin Fiala hit him up a perfect pass in stride. Gaudreau was able to fly down the right side of the, and snapped a quick snap shot just under the crossbar to make it a 3-2 game.
The Rangers attempted a last push during the final minute of play, and appeared to tie the game with under two seconds remaining. However, the official adamantly waved off the goal after saying the goaltender’s pad was pushed into the net. It looked more like Talbot’s pad moved back into the net because he was lunging towards the puck, but at the end of the day, it won’t change the call. Following tonight’s disappointing loss on Henrik’s special night, the Rangers will have Saturday off before returning to action on Sunday against the Seattle Kraken.