Recap: Rangers Tame Wild, 4-3 (SO)

Led by Adam Fox, the Rangers were dominant, despite the close score.

After grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory against the Devils, the Rangers looked to get back on track Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild.

There was a good pace to the first period, as both teams created some offensive chances. The Wild came away with two goals, while the Rangers came away with three posts. Jon Merrill scored the first of the game on a shot Igor Shesterkin never saw, as he was screened by an amorphous blob of Rangers and Wild. Kirill Kaprizov scored the second on the rush. Jacob Trouba gave the dangerous winger far too much room, and Kaprizov faked a shot before unleashing an absolute laser. Ryan Reaves notched the secondary assist, so I guess we know who won that trade.

Score aside, the Rangers looked pretty solid for most of the period. With a little better puck luck, they could have come away with a goal or two. Marc-Andre Fleury made some big saves, including a highlight-reel glove save on Kaapo Kakko (who else?), but he definitely got a little help from his iron friends.

The Rangers broke through early in the second, however. Jimmy Vesey poke checked the puck away from Matt Boldy in the Rangers zone, and K’Andre Miller took care of the rest. Like a bulldozer with a rocket strapped to it, he both overpowered and out sped the back checking Boldy before snapping a shot into the back of the net. The goal was Miller’s twenty-first point, which is a new career high, surpassing his total from last season in half the games.

The Rangers dominated the next fifteen minutes, and eventually Adam Fox tied the game. Mats Zuccarello, pressured by Artemi Panarin and Fox, lost the puck along the boards, which led to a two-on-one. Everyone in the world was expecting Fox to pass to Trocheck, but he fired the puck stickside instead.

Zuccarello redeemed himself early in the third, putting the Wild back out in front with his seventeenth goal of the year. Sam Steel found Zuccarello with a cross-ice pass in the neutral zone, leading to a shot from the right circle. Shesterkin fought it off with his glove, but it popped into the air and into the net. Not the best look from Shesterkin, but personally, I’m always happy to see Zucc score.

Minnesota held off the Rangers for a little while, but eventually pinned the Wild in their zone for what felt like forever. After a thrilling sequence of shots, looks, and keep-ins, Fox walked the puck from the left circle and drew Fleury out of the crease before centering the puck. A pile-up ensued, and eventually the puck crossed the goal-line. Filip Chytil was given credit with the game-tying goal, and the last that would be scored in regulation.

In the three-on-three, the Rangers continued to possess the puck and create chances. The Wild took a bench minor for too many men, and while the shooting gallery continued, the Rangers could not capitalize. So the game went to the shootout, where Kaapo Kakko and Artemi Panarin scored for the Rangers. Zuccarello scored the only goal for Minnesota, as Shesterkin made saves on Kaprizov and Freddy Gaudreau.

So the Rangers notched the extra point, but frankly Minnesota was lucky to get anything out of this one. The Rangers offense was relentless, and even though they had to come back twice, it never really felt like they were in danger of losing the game. NaturalStatTrick had the Rangers at 5.02 xG compared to the Wild’s 2.67.

It wasn’t all good news for the Blueshirts though. Julien Gauthier and Chris Kreider both left the game with what appeared to be upper-body injuries. Gauthier sustained his on a hit from Reeves in the first, while Kreider exited after a hit from Marcus Foligno. Hopefully the injuries are nothing serious.

The Rangers, who moved into third in the Metro, will host the Dallas Stars Thursday night.