Zibanejad’s Overtime Winner Tops Lightning 1-0
It took the Rangers nearly 64 minutes to find a goal in this game, but thankfully, by the time they scored it was good enough for an overtime winning goal. Antti Raanta, who was given the nod tonight, played out of his mind in this game and was the driving force behind this Rangers’ win. Raanta turned away 28 shots this evening, and one of his biggest saves came moments before the Rangers ended the game in overtime.
Prior to tonight’s game, the Rangers a pair of recalls from the Hartford Wolf Pack in Tanner Glass and Steven Kampfer. Obviously there was a ton of uproar regarding Glass, given his performance during his previous two seasons with the Rangers. In just 5:17 of ice time tonight, Glass registered a mere 2 hits and didn’t contribute a whole lot aside from that.
However, the Rangers wound up winning this game so Alain Vigneault will likely spin Glass’ presence into a positive one. As for Kampfer, he played rather well in just 8:40 of ice time, but he did take a nasty him from behind early in the game. It is unknown if that hit affected him some way or another, but in the amount of time he was given, he didn’t appear that out of place.
Despite the score remaining 0-0 after the first period, the Rangers were lucky they were down a few goals. That was due largely in part to Antti Raanta, who kept the Rangers in this game all night long. As good as the Lighting were in the first period, the Rangers turned the tables back in their favor a bit during the second period.
With Raanta stealing the show in the first period, Andrei Vaslievskiy took the spotlight right back during the middle frame. Both goaltenders were simply spectacular tonight and as a result, it was going to take quite a shot to beat one of these goaltenders. The scoreless tie carried on right through the third period in this game, and both teams would need overtime to decide this contest.
After both teams traded chances in the opening minutes of overtime, the Rangers finally had the chance they were looking for with a little over a minute remaining. Ryan McDonagh opened up the scoring opportunity after making a strong play in front of the net, and cut off Ondrej Palat driving the right post.
Following the chance, Victor Hedman wound up accidentally skipping the puck past Jonathan Drouin, which left a wide open lane for Mika Zibanejad. Ryan McDonagh quickly dished a outlet pass up to Zibanejad, and he finished off the breakaway with a slick forehand shot. The goal was Mika’s second overtime winner of the season, and he gave the Rangers two huge points in the standings.
With tonight’s game in hand, the Rangers will look ahead to tomorrow night’s matchup against the Florida Panthers. It will be interesting to see how the Rangers open tomorrow’s game, given that this one went the distance tonight in Tampa Bay.