Brassard gives Rangers the overtime win in Chicago; Talbot picks up the shutout
After a scoreless 60 minutes of hockey, all it took was one Derick Brassard slap shot just 32 seconds into overtime to send the Rangers home with a big two points, bringing them to within just one point of the Islanders in the division with three games in hand.
The defensive effort from the Blueshirts was absolutely incredible, doing a really fantastic job of stopping some of the higher quality opportunities from Chicago. When there were a few lapses, Cam Talbot was there again, having his third consecutive extremely strong start.
Talbot would finish the night with 29 saves, earning his 14th win of the season, as well as his fifth shutout of the season. It was the first Chicago shutout for the Rangers since January 25, 1969. The Rangers also lead the NHL with 10 shutouts, just the eighth time in franchise history that they have reached that mark.
Talbot is 5-1-1 with a 1.69 GAA and a .943 save percentage, as well as two shutouts, in his past seven starts. For someone who was unexpectedly thrust into the starter’s role, what he has done is absolutely tremendous.
It was also New York’s 40th win of the season, doing so in their 64th game, the fifth fewest mark in franchise history. The Rangers improved their record to 15-3-5 against Western Conference opponents, including a 6-0-2 record in their last 8 games versus the west.
Although the Rangers defense was really strong throughout the game, their offense was asleep for most of the second period, and parts of the first and third period. Very early in the first, Corey Crawford made a great save on Boyle’s one timer, and Cam Talbot answered with a glove save on Brandon Saad.
The Rangers best chance came from James Sheppard, playing in just his second game as a Ranger. Kevin Hayes was strong on the forecheck, and worked the puck to Sheppard. His wrist shot was stopped by Crawford’s right pad, and then his rebound was also stopped, coming within inches of scoring his first goal as a Ranger. At the end of the first period, the Rangers had a 16-8 advantage in shots, with most of them coming from the outside.
The second period was when Chicago started playing better. They had the first five shots on goal, but like the Rangers, could not find a way to put one past Talbot. The closest they came was when Patrick Sharp hit the post with a wrister on their fourth power play of the game.
After Cam Talbot robbed Sharp on a rebound opportunity, the Rangers began to come alive in the closing minutes of the period. Crawford closed up on a Yandle rebound opportunity, and then he had a beautiful sequence of saves on a Klein slap shot, a St. Louis spinning wrist shot, and finally a glove save on Stepan’s rebound chance. It seemed like neither team would ever score, and the game headed to overtime.
After a save on a Toews backhand, the Rangers carried the puck into Chicago’s zone. Zuccarello carried the puck into the zone, and then threaded a pass through three Blackhawks. Brassard skated in, and blasted a slap shot short side, beating Crawford on Brassard’s 14th goal of the season, and his second overtime winner this season. Ryan McDonagh had the secondary assist.
Mats Zuccarello extended his assist streak to three games, with five assists in the last five games. He now has 39 points (12-27-39) this season.
This was a great win for the Rangers before heading to Nassau to take on the Islanders in a huge divisional matchup. The Rangers are rolling at the perfect time, with points in 13 of the last 14 games (10-1-3), and points in 16 of the last 18 games (13-2-3).
The Rangers penalty kill was tremendous in this game, going 4-4 and allowing just three shots on goal in those eight minutes. The Rangers are 30-34 in their last 12 games on the penalty kill. They did a great job again tonight, and it really helped prevent Chicago from building momentum.
I thought the fourth line had a tremendous game. James Sheppard was inches away from scoring, and the line had a lot of quality chances, helping to jumpstart the offense late in the game.
Chris Kreider had a really good game early on. You can see that he is continuing to learn how and when to use his speed and strength. In the first period, after beating Duncan Keith on the outside, Kreider muscled Keith off of him, sending him into the net, while one-handing a good shot on net. It was pretty impressive, and he has been really good.
For how good of a season he has had, almost nobody talks about Brassard and how he has developed into the Rangers most skilled and consistent center on the team. The goal was his 14th of the season, ending a 15 game goal scoring drought. But despite that drought, he has still been productive, and has 16 points (2-14-16) in the last 17 games. Hopefully this jumpstarts his goal scoring a bit, but you can’t ask for anything more out of Brassard.
Since Henrik Lundqvist has been injured, the Rangers have managed to pull through with a 11-2-3 record, something most people thought would not be possible.
The Rangers next game will be Tuesday night, when they take on the New York Islanders for the fifth and final time this season at the Nassau Coliseum, the last time that these two teams will play there in the regular season.
1) Cam Talbot – 29 SV, 1.000 SV%
2) Derick Brassard – 1 G, 2 SOG, 17:20 TOT
3) Mats Zuccarello – 1 A, 17:55 TOT
Posted on March 9, 2015, in Game Recaps and tagged Alain Vigneault, Brad Richards, Cam Talbot, Carl Hagelin, Chicago Blackhawks, Chris Kreider, Dan Boyle, Dan Girardi, Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard, Detroit Red Wings, Dominic Moore, Henrik Lundqvist, Jesper Fast, Johnathan Toews, JT Miller, Kevin Hayes, Kevin Klein, King Henrik, Mackenzie Skapski, Madison Square Garden, Marc Staal, Martin St. Louis, Mats Zuccarello, Matt Hunwick, MSG, MSL, New York Rangers, NHL, NHL 2014-2015 Season, NY Rangers, NYR, Patrick Kane, Rangers, Rangers Nation, Rangerstown, Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh, Tanner Glass, The Ranger Zone, Zuccarello. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.