Recap: 4th Line Shines In Rangers 52nd Win

Recap: 4th Line Shines In Rangers 52nd Win
Apr 5, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; New York Rangers center Barclay Goodrow (21) celebrates his goal with center Jonny Brodzinski (22) during the first period against the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Friday Night Original Six hockey, there’s nothing like it. While the Rangers have been sitting pretty in a playoff spot longer than any other team in the league, this would prove to be an important game for the Detroit Red Wings who continue fighting for their playoff life in their chase for a Wild Card spot. It wouldn’t be a flashy night for the Rangers, but their fourth line really stepped up and led the way to a gutsy 4-3 win throughout a consistently close game.

1st Period:

Both teams had some jump in their game from the start and carried that pace throughout the opening twenty minutes. It would only take the Rangers six minutes to get themselves on the board as a great forecheck from Kaapo Kakko forced an awful turnover from Austin Czarnik in the neutral zone. This  allowed for a quick shot from Will Cuylle that snuck through Alex Lyon to give the Rangers an early 1-0 lead.

Not long after, Dylan Larkin nearly made it a tie game as he snuck a shot through Jonathan Quick and off the post. Soon after which, former friend Andrew Copp would tuck in on a point blank backhander after a great forecheck and feed from Joe Veleno to make it a 1-1 game.

Nearing the midway mark of the period, a collision between Barclay Goodrow and Shayne Gostisbehere didn’t quite sit right with Red Wings forward Robby Fabbri. Fabbri immediately went after Goodrow in what really can’t even be called a fight after the six we saw in the Rangers last outing. This resulted in a Rangers power play as Fabbri was given the additional instigator penalty on top of the matching roughing minors as the officials agreed the altercation didn’t warrant fighting majors.

The Rangers first power play chance of the night had a couple looks, including a great shot from Artemiy Panarin that was nabbed by the catching glove of Lyon but the score would remain locked at one each. Just a couple of minutes after the power play to the Rangers ended, Kaapo Kakko was called for hooking J.T. Compher to give Detroit their first man advantage of the night.

Detroit was a bit busier on their power play as they spent the majority of the two minutes in the Rangers soon, getting a handful of shots on net but again, things remained even. One thing that became noticeable on the Rangers side of things as the period went on, was Kaapo Kakko slotting in on the right side of the top line while Jack Roslovic wasn’t seeing much ice time at all.

With less than thirty seconds to go in the period, Peter Laviolette opted to give the fourth line a shift to close out the period. Thanks to an offensive zone face-off win from Jonny Brodzinksi, Barclay Goodrow was able to pick up the puck and quickly snap a shot past Lyon to regain the Rangers lead, 2-1.

A good start for the Rangers as they were rather aggressive on pucks in most areas of the ice through the first period. There was still some cleaning up they could do in their own end but a 2-1 lead after twenty was certainly a good start. Shots were tied at 13 apiece as both teams went 0-1 on the power play and registered nine hits.

2nd Period:

A strong start from the Red Wings resulted in a couple of strong looks from veteran defenseman Jeff Petry. On his first chance, Petry had plenty of time and space to walk the puck in from the point. After picking up his own rebound, Petry took it around the net and threw it to the opposite side in which J.T. Compher was able to get a piece of it to tie the game back up, now 2-2.

Not a great goal for the Rangers to give up as they not only struggled to clear their own zone, but allowed a very not fast veteran defender to go for a skate while they puck watched. A slow start to the period that was eventually broken up by another fantastic shift from the Cuylle – Wennberg – Kakko line that nearly resulted in a goal. It would however, result in a penalty as Cuylle was sent hard into the post from a cross-check by Petry.

The Rangers top unit saw the bulk of the two minute advantage and again, had some really strong looks; they just couldn’t find the back of the net. They continued to pester Alex Lyon and the Red Wings but weren’t having the easiest time in turning their scoring chances into goals.

With seven minutes to go in the second, Erik Gustafsson was called for hooking Detroit Captain Dylan Larkin. The Wings power play unit immediately went to work as Larkin had a great chance all alone in front but was robbed by the glove of Jonathan Quick. However, Larkin would be “quick” to get his revenge as Detroit would again benefit from a rebound off a hit post by David Perron.

Laviolette again, answered with his fourth line and sure enough, a drop pass from Jimmy Vesey allowed for Brodzinski to send it across the royal road to find Barclay Goodrow for his second of the night to tie it back up, this time 3-3.

It would be right back to square one heading into the final period of regulation as the score was locked up 3-3. Shots after two were 28-22 in favor of the Rangers but the Red Wings still had the advantage in the face-off circles and had found a way to convert on special teams. The Rangers on the other hand, had the big advantage in attempts as well as high danger chances.

3rd Period:

It was a rather quiet first half of the period as play moved along with the score still locked at three apiece. Things finally opened back up as David Perron took a high-sticking penalty halfway through the period to give the Rangers power play their third chance of the evening. It was looking to be more of the same from the start but the Rangers would finally break through. Adam Fox fed Mika Zibanejad for the one timer that Chris Kreider was able to get a piece of. It wouldn’t be enough for a deflection, but it would be enough to redirect the puck to his opposite side in order to bang home the loose puck. 4-3 Rangers.

Kreider now ties the late great, Mr. Ranger for second on the all-time power play goals list with 108.

The fourth line nearly extended the Rangers lead on the next shift but Alex Lyon came up with another big save to keep his team within one. As play continued, the Red Wings would get another opportunity on the power play as Jacob Trouba took a bad defensive zone penalty with just under seven minutes to go in regulation. The penalty was met with arguably the Rangers best penalty kill of the night as the fourth line continued to be a bright spot for this team.

The Rangers iced the puck with two and a half minutes to go which prompted Detroit to pull Lyon for the extra attacker. After just missing the empty net, Detroit regained possession in the Rangers zone and began to really apply some pressure. After a couple of close calls, the Rangers managed to hold them off and an almost empty net goal from Jimmy Vesey killed off the final seconds to hold onto the 4-3 lead for their second win in a row, eighth in their last ten.

Tough to follow up all the excitement from Wednesday Night but the Rangers did a good job of staying the course, finding another way to win against a Red Wings team that was playing their own form of playoff hockey. The Rangers will head back home from Detroit to host the Montreal Canadiens this Sunday Night where the team will honor the legacy of Steven McDonald, announcing the winner of their annual Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award.