A day after enjoying Thanksgiving dinner, the Blueshirts provided the blueprint for how to cure a turkey-hangover.
The key? Superb goaltending. They had that in spades as Henrik Lundqvist stood on his head while he waited for his team to come out of its’ food coma.
A rough first period that Marc Staal called, “ugly,” ended in a scoreless tie, thanks in part to Hank’s 17 saves.
During the intermission the Rangers awoke from their semi-comatose state and came out firing in the second period. Mats Zuccarello — who played a big role in the finish of the game — stated, “we expect opponents to be like that every game. We followed up a bad first period with a strong second.”
Marc Staal went on record stating, “we didn’t have our legs early, but a brief chat in the locker room woke us up and we found our legs and started skating in the second. We started taking it to them a lot better.”
While the Blueshirts did indeed, “take it to them,” in the second, Jimmy Howard put on his annual, “Jimmy Howard Show.”
With the teams still scoreless after 40 minutes, it was clear that this game was following a familiar pattern.
Nine of the last 10 times these teams have met, the game went into overtime. Going back further, 17 of 21 match-ups between these teams have gone beyond regulation.
The Red Wings finally broke through in the third period when they capitalized on the Rangers failing to clear the zone during a power-play. Tomas Tatar scored from the left face-off dot and it was 1-0 Wings.
With time winding down — under 10 minutes to play — the Rangers used their leftover turkey grease to slide the puck through Howard’s five-hole to tie the game. The goal came courtesy of Chris Kreider, who slid the loose puck through Howard’s wickets to let loose a thunderous ovation inside Madison Square Garden.
And then came overtime.
Detroit stormed the Blueshirts’ zone. But a save by Lundqvist and quick pass to Brady Skjei sent the puck up the ice.
Skjei carried the puck deep into Detroit’s zone, and as he battled his defender, passed the puck to a streaking Zuccarello.
Zucc held the puck just long enough to see what his options were. And that hesitation was all he needed to allow him to snipe the puck past Howard for the game-winner.
BLUESHIRT BULLET POINTS
HOME ICE ADVANTAGE: The 7th Avenue Skaters have now won seven-straight contests on home ice.
HIS MAJESTY: Lundqvist has started the last 11 consecutive games. During that stretch he’s allowed two goals or less in seven times. That’s good enough for a 2.20 GAA. Tonight he stopped 40 shots enroute to the 2-1 overtime win.
KZB=GAG?: The GAG Line was famous for scoring a “Goal A Game.” Now KZB isn’t quite at that level, but Kreider, Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich have combined to light the lamp at least once in 14 of 17. Overall, KZB has 41-points (22G, 19A) in its’ last 17 games.
The Rangers face the Sedin Twins, (Daniel and Henrik), and the Canucks Sunday (Nov. 26) at MSG. Game time is 2:00 p.m. ET and the broadcast is on MSG Network.
It wasn’t pretty in the beginning, but most wins aren’t. While the Rangers lost the shots battle, they won the war; 2-1. That’s all that matters.