Rangers keep on rolling over Carolina in a shootout; Kevin Klein scores late tying goal
The Rangers (16-10-4) managed to find a way to win again over the hard-working Carolina Hurricanes (9-20-3) in the shootout. JT Miller and Kevin Klein were the goal scorers for the Rangers, and Mats Zuccarello sealed the victory in the shootout.
The Rangers rallied twice in the third period to sweep their road trip, winning all four games. It is only the fourth time in team history that the Rangers have swept a road trip of four or more games. The shootout victory also extended the Rangers season high win streak to five games.
Kevin Klein continues to come through in the clutch for the Rangers, and tied the game for the Rangers with just 2:23 remaining in the third period. His goal came following a controversial call, after a Matt Hunwick goal was called off when Cam Ward was without a helmet.
Cam Ward had a very good game, and kept the Hurricanes competitive for the entire night, like he has done all season. Ward made 33 saves, including some very impressive ones early on. However, in the third period, the referees called off a Matt Hunwick goal after it appeared that Ward’s helmet came off. However, Ward took the helmet off his head as the puck was going in.
JT Miller continued his great play as of late, scoring his fourth goal of the season, and getting the Rangers on the board against the Hurricanes. Miller was playing the right wing position on the third line tonight, and has shown the versatility he can provide to the Blueshirts.
Henrik Lundqvist was not really tested that often, only facing 20 shots, but he was able to make 18 saves. He saved his best stuff for the shootout, where he stopped Chris Terry with a great glove save to win it for the Rangers.
Despite not picking up a point, Rick Nash was probably the best skater on the ice for the Rangers. Nash always plays great defensive hockey, and he provided a lot of offensive pressure against Carolina. Nash nearly scored after he fired a puck through the pads of Ward, but it slid wide of the net.
The Rangers came out in the first period firing on all cylinders, throwing tons of shots at Cam Ward and the Carolina defense. The Blueshirts even got a few odd man rushes and chances in front, but Ward was able to keep it out of the back of the net.
Despite all of the pressure, it was the Hurricanes who were able to score the first goal of the game. Kevin Hayes tried to connect on a pass, but there was some miscommunication, and Nathan Gerbe and Chris Terry went on an odd man rush. Gerbe made a great pass to Terry, who one-timed it for the first goal of the game.
It was quite discouraging for the Rangers, who were dominating all facets of the game before the goal. It could have demoralized them, but the Blueshirts continued to pressure Ward and play strong. Their forecheck was sensational in the first period, forcing a lot of turnovers and creating chances
Jeff Skinner had a few quality chances for the ‘Canes, but Lundqvist was able to prevent further damage. But Ward stole the show in the first, making big stops against Hagelin, Kreider, and Hunwick to give Carolina a 1-0 lead after the first 20 minutes.
The second period was pretty much the same story. The Hurricanes smartened up on defense and limited the Rangers chances, and neither team really dominated any part of the period or had any notable chances.
Early in the third period, Rick Nash was able to draw a hooking penalty. On the ensuing powerplay, JT Miller was able to score the first goal of the game for the Rangers, his fourth of the season.
The play started when Mats Zuccarello spotted JT Miller ready to make a run up the middle of the ice. Zuccarello was able to hit him in stride, and Miller had all kinds of time in front of the net, and made a great deke to slide it past Ward and tie the game at one.
Zuccarello picked up his ninth assist of the season, and Ryan McDonagh got his eighth of the year.
Before the Rangers could build any momentum, Jeff Skinner was able to give the Hurricanes back their one goal lead just 26 seconds after Miller scored.
Skinner took the puck down the far wing, and threw a backhand at Lundqvist, who mishandled the puck and let it slide through his legs.
It was a goal that Lundqvist should have stopped, and ultimately did not allow the Rangers to build any momentum off of their goal.
Later on in the period, it appeared that Matt Hunwick tied up the game on a slap shot, but the referee whistled no goal because Cam Ward’s helmet was off. Ward took a shot to the mask from Rick Nash, and could not get the ref’s attention because of a scrum in front of the net. Ward removed the mask off his head as the puck was going into the net.
Personally, I didn’t like this call. Yes I am a little biased, but the mask did not appear to be that loose at all. Also, he waited a very long time to remove the mask, and the puck was already going into the net when he was taking it off. It was also very dangerous on his part, and could have been bad if the puck was being shot towards his head.
Shortly after that incident, Kevin Klein came through in the clutch again, scoring the tying goal with under three minutes remaining in the third period.
Chris Kreider won a puck battle behind the net, and made a great pass to Klein up top. His wrist shot found its way through a crowd of people and into the back of the net, giving him seven goals this season.
The Rangers were able to hold on bring the game into overtime. In the shootout, Zuccarello beat Ward on the Rangers first attempt, and after Lundqvist robbed Chris Terry with the glove, the Rangers walked away with two points.
Yet again, it wasn’t a pretty win, but the Rangers found a way to win for the fifth consecutive game, continuing their season high win streak. They are also getting contributions from players that aren’t necessarily their “key guys.”
JT Miller continued his strong play since he rejoined the Rangers, and scored his fourth goal in his last eight games. Miller has also played every forward position, showing his versatility and what he can provide to this team.
Kevin Klein deserves all of the credit that he gets. Klein is a tremendous defensive player, and now, he leads Rangers defensemen in points with 11 (7-4-11). Klein is one of the unsung heroes this season, and continues to come through in the clutch when the Rangers need him most.
Mats Zuccarello also picked up another point, giving him 15 points (6-9-15) this season. Zuccarello has been playing much better lately, and is hopefully in the midst of an upswing in production.
The Rangers next game will be Sunday night, where they will finish the home-and-home series against the Carolina Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden at 7 PM.
1) Kevin Klein – 1 G, 5 HT, 21:11 TOT
2) JT Miller – 1 G
3) Mats Zuccarello – 1 A, 6 HT, 20:03 TOT
Posted on December 21, 2014, in Game Recaps and tagged Alain Vigneault, Anthony Duclair, Cam Talbot, Carl Hagelin, Carolina Hurricanes, Chris Kreider, Dan Boyle, Dan Girardi, Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard, Dominic Moore, Edmonton Oilers, Eric Staal, Henrik Lundqvist, Jesper Fast, John Moore, Jordan Staal, JT Miller, Kevin Hayes, Kevin Klein, King Henrik, Lee Stempniak, Madison Square Garden, Marc Staal, Martin St. Louis, Mats Zuccarello, Matt Hunwick, MSG, New York Rangers, NHL, NHL 2014-2015 Season, NY Rangers, NYR, Rangers Nation, Rangerstown, Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh, The Duke, The Ranger Zone, Vancouver Canucks. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.