Rangers vs. Flames: Third Period Surge Vaults Rangers Past Flames

Breaking news: The New York Rangers have finally won a hockey game.

It certainly came down to the wire, but for the fourth time in 21 games, the Rangers won a game in regulation time. The win also came with some promise, most notably from Neal Pionk and John Gilmour, who both made their NHL debuts tonight for the Rangers. The infusion of youth on the backend was evident tonight and it’s something that will become the norm over the next 12 months.

Listen, when everyone hears the word rebuild most think long drawn out misery with years of agony. If tonight was any indication, this rebuild is going to be a lot more fun than most people are expecting. There’s already a solid foundation with Filip Chytil, Lias Andersson, and Pavel Buchnevich and there’s plenty more on the way as the trade deadline draws closer.

Anyways, onto the game.

For the first time in quite a while, the Rangers came out absolutely flying in the opening minutes of this game. They outshot the Flames 20-8 through 20 minutes which paved the way for Kevin Hayes’ opening goal. The Flames completely forgot about Hayes in front of the net after some creative puck movement by Anthony DeAngelo. Hayes had three wacks at the puck before he eventually put the puck over the goal line and gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead.

Unfortunately, the lead would only last until the 18:15 mark with Brett Kulak answering right back with his first career NHL goal. Steven Kampfer gave Kulak way too much room coming down the left wing, and Kulak absolutely lasered a shot past Ondrej Pavelec. In a surprising turn of events, Henrik Lundqvist emerged as the goaltender for the second period with Pavelec remaining in the locker room with a reported knee injury.

Michael Grabner broke the tie again for the Rangers in the second period with a bit of a fortunate bounce off of Mike Smith. The Flames were able to rattle off two consecutive goals near the end of the period and regained a one goal lead heading into the third period. Following a middle frame that was filled with mostly killing penalties, the Rangers completely turned it around in the third period.

Rick Nash pulled the Rangers back even with a goal just off to the right of the post and brought some life back into the passionate MSG crowd. Nearly six minutes later, Mika Zibanejad brought the crowd to it’s feet once again following a beautiful pass from J.T. Miller. That goal would hold up to be with the winner with Henrik Lundqvist standing on his head during the closing minutes.

Following tonight’s victory, the Rangers will have a scheduled practice day before returning to action on Sunday afternoon in Winnipeg.