“It’s a big game.” — Alain Vigneault
Prior to tonight’s contest against the Devils, Rangers’ Head Coach Alain Vigneault stated that this was a “big game,” and his team certainly delivered.
The first period was barely a quarter over when Jimmy Vesey struck the first blow. A give-and-go with Paul Carey led to the Rangers’ first goal.
In truth, Keith Kinkaid should have made the save, but should have is different from doing.
After outshooting New Jersey 13-7 in the opening period, New York went back to work in the second.
The suddenly lethal Jesper Fast netted his sixth goal in eight games; doubling the Blueshirts’ lead.
Devils’ defenseman Damon Severson gave the Garden Staters hope when he cut the lead to 2-1. But he learned the hard way that hope is fleeting.
Less than three minutes after Severson made it 2-1, Mats Zuccarello forced a turnover in New Jersey’s zone and converted it into a goal; restoring the Rangers’ two-goal lead.
Zuccarello struck again early in the third to make it 4-1. But Miles Wood wasn’t ready to surrender. Wood sniped a shot past Henrik Lundqvist and suddenly it was now 4-2.
Kevin Hayes’ linemates — Jesper Fast and Rick Nash — each had multi-point nights, and Hayes was feeling left out. So what did he do?
Hayes batted home a loose rebound directly in front of Kinkaid’s crease to make it 5-2, thus joining the points party.
After the game, captain Ryan McDonagh had this to say:
“It was a big game. Knowing where we are in the standings. Especially with the tough loss last night to Washington.”
BLUESHIRT BULLET POINTS
PAPA JOHN’S: For the 18th time in 23 games the Blueshirts tallied three or more goals. And 15 of those 18 have seen them score four or more. Time to chow down.
DOUBLE-HEADERS: Since the start of the 2010-11 season the Rangers are 66-29-6 in the second game of back-to-back sets. They’re 2-1 this season.
HOME ICE ADVANTAGE: Going back to October 26th against the Coyotes, the 7th Avenue Skaters have won 10 of 11 games at MSG. Talk about your home ice advantage.
HOW THE METRO WAS WON: The Blueshirts completed a four-game Metropolitan Division slate; going 3-1. Going back further, the Rangers have secured at least a point in seven of 11 divisional games this season.
ONE-SIDED RIVALRY: Rivalries are built when two teams are hyper-competitive; usually resulting in a 50-50 split of victories. But the Blueshirts have now earned at least a point in 17 of 22 games against the Devils. This streak goes back to March 19, 2013. And the Rangers are 14-5-3 in that span.
HIS MAJESTY: Lundqvist’s victory breaks a tie with Tony Esposito for second most wins with a single franchise in NHL history. The win is his 419th, and only Martin Brodeur’s 688 are more.
The Rangers face Tyler Seguin and the Stars Monday (Dec. 11) at MSG. Game time is 7p.m. ET and the broadcast is on MSG Networks.
Not only did Kevin Shattenkirk make it clear that the team let one get away in Washington, but he also made it clear that facing the Devils is a big deal:
“They’re our big rivals. Every game against them is big. They’re intense games.”
Brooklyn-born David Gindi celebrated his sixth birthday tonight — taking in his first ever Rangers’ game. During the first intermission David had this to say: “I’m having a great time. This is a great game and I hope the Rangers win.”
David’s friend Albert Cohen, 11, added: “Jimmy Vesey had a great shot in the first period.”
Rest easy David, they won.