Rangers offense explodes in win over Anaheim and break out of scoring slump
After struggling to score for most of the month, the Rangers (46-18-7) offense exploded on Sunday night against the Anaheim Ducks (46-21-7), finding the back of the net seven times en route to a 7-2 statement victory for New York.
Anaheim came into the game with a four game win streak, and they were tied with the Canadiens with 99 points for first in the NHL. But the Rangers did not let that fact faze them, dominating one of the best teams in the league on home ice.
New York has been impressive on home ice this season, posting a 23-8-5 record at MSG, with points in 10 of their last 11 games at Madison Square Garden (9-1-1). They are 13-3-2 in their last 18 games against against Western Conference teams, and 16-4-5 against the West this year. The Blueshirts are 11-1-1 versus the mighty Pacific Division this season.
Since December 8th, the Rangers are a mindboggling 35-8-3 since December 8th, and are the only team in the league with less than 20 regulation losses. They’re 30-0-1 when taking a lead into the third period this season, and they’ve continued to win despite being without Henrik Lundqvist, Kevin Klein, and Martin St. Louis lately. And with today’s win, New York is back atop the league standings for the first spot in the NHL.
Cam Talbot was in net for the second game in as many days, and was tremendous yet again. Talbot made 36 saves, including a few really good stops on Corey Perry to keep the Ducks off the board and out of the game. Alain Vigneault said it best; “It was probably a much closer game than the score indicated. Cam was that much better than both of their goalies.” He is now 15-3-3 since taking over the starter role.
The first period was extremely entertaining, high scoring, and physical, with that playoff atmosphere surrounding this game again. The goal scoring started early, and it was Chris Kreider scoring his 18th goal of the season, a new career high, just 1:04 into the opening period. Ryan McDonagh fired a shot from the point that was deflected down by Derek Stepan and stopped by Frederick Anderson, but stayed in the crease. Kreider fought through a defenseman, and tapped it in for the first goal of the game, and a 1-0 Rangers lead.
Stepan’s assist on the play snapped a 12 game pointless streak, and Kreider’s goal ended an eight game goal drought.
That lead was short lived, as Corey Perry would tie the game at one just 1:16 later. Perry’s wrist shot traveled through a screen, and beat Talbot, and the game was tied at one goal apiece.
Just 4:58 seconds into the period, Patrick Maroon was called for boarding, giving the Rangers their first power play. And finally, they managed to score on the man advantage for the first time in eight games, ending an 0-18 streak.
It was a really good looking power play, with great puck movement and chances. Eventually, Rick Nash passed the puck to Keith Yandle at the point, and he quickly fed it to Derek Stepan. Stepan’s one timer went through a Kreider screen, giving the Rangers their lead back. It was Stepan’s first goal in 14 games, and Yandle’s first point on the power play as a Ranger.
Less than five minutes later, the Rangers scored again, their third goal just 10:16 into the game. Keith Yandle made a great pass through a few Anaheim players to Kevin Hayes. He carried it into the zone, spinning before firing a shot on net. The puck deflected off of Carl Hagelin’s stick and through Anderson’s legs, giving New York a 3-1 lead. It was Hagelin’s 16th goal of the season, and Anaheim’s head coach Bruce Boudreau pulled Anderson for John Gibson after he surrendered three goals on seven shots.
But, the Ducks were resilient, scoring 54 seconds after Hagelin to cut the lead to one. Corey Perry scored again, coming into the Rangers zone, toe dragging, and fighting past Ryan McDonagh to shoot one past Talbot for his second goal of the game. At the end of a very entertaining first, the Rangers led 3-2.
After the first period, the Rangers completely took over. They allowed 17 Anaheim shots in the first, but really tightened up in the last 40 minutes, and continued to pile on the offense.
The first goal of the period came off of the stick of JT Miller, continuing to thrive on the second line with his second goal in the past two games. Keith Yandle made another great pass through the neutral zone to Mats Zuccarello. He quickly passed it off to JT Miller streaking down the left wing, and his wrist shot went off of the post an in for the fourth goal of the game.
The assist was Yandle’s third of the game, the second time he has tallied three helpers in a game this season. He now has 45 points (5-40-45) with both the Coyotes and the Rangers this season.
Derek Stepan scored the other goal in the period, his second of the game and his third point of the game. The Rangers dumped the puck into the zone, with JT Miller negating the icing. The Ducks won the puck battle, but turned the puck over to Stepan. He waited until he had a spot to shoot at, and went five-hole on Gibson, giving the Rangers a 5-2 lead.
Just 6:12 into the third period, Jesper Fast extended the lead to four goals. Kevin Hayes won the faceoff forward, and Fast chased it behind the net. Gibson was slow to get to the other post, and Fast tried the wraparound, putting it off of Wisniewski’s stick and past Gibson for his second goal in the past two games, and his fifth of the season.
Derick Brassard would score the seventh and final goal of the game for the Rangers, converting on an amazing pass from Mats Zuccarello. JT Miller forced a turnover with a check, sending the puck behind the net to Zuccarello. He controlled it, and passed it through the crease to a wide open Brassard, and he scored his 15th goal of the season.
To top it off, Cam Talbot robbed Corey Perry with the glove from point blank range, earning himself a standing ovation from the Garden faithful. The Rangers skated away with a dominating 7-2 win.
The spread out production was incredible tonight, with 11 different Rangers scoring at least a point (Stepan – 2G, 1A; Yandle – 3A; Hayes – 2A; Zuccarello – 2A; Miller – 1G, 1A; Brassard – 1G; Fast – 1G; Kreider – 1G; Hagelin – 1G; McDonagh – 1A; Nash – 1A). Brassard, Kreider and Stepan all snapped goal droughts, which was really important in getting the Rangers key producers going before the playoffs begin.
Keith Yandle was an absolute monster from the back end today. When the Rangers acquired him, they knew his strength was puck moving. Yandle made two really great passes on Hagelin’s goal and Miller’s goal. He also made a nice little pass to Stepan on the power play. It was easily his best game as a Ranger, and this is what the Rangers expected when they traded for Yandle.
JT Miller had another really strong game tonight. Since being moved alongside Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello, Miller has two goals and an assist, thriving with the increased ice time, and playing well with his new linemates, both excellent playmakers. Vigneault said he always wondered if Miller can perform like Pouliot did last season, and Miller is showing that he may be the right guy for that position.
Derek Stepan has been working extremely hard in the two games before tonight’s matchup against the Ducks, playing well and getting chances. He really needed a performance like tonight, and hopefully this sets him on the right track again.
The Rangers have tomorrow off before they take on the Los Angeles Kings at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.
FOUR STARS (I have to add an extra one)
1) Derek Stepan – 2 G, 1 A, 5 SOG, 16:43 TOT
2) Keith Yandle – 3 A, 4 SOG, +3, 20:41 TOT
3) Cam Talbot – 36 SV, .947 SV%
4) JT Miller – 1 G, 1 A, 2 HT, +2
Posted on March 23, 2015, in Game Recaps and tagged Alain Vigneault, Anaheim Ducks, Cam Talbot, Carl Hagelin, Carolina Hurricanes, Chris Kreider, Corey Perry, Dan Boyle, Dan Girardi, Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard, Dominic Moore, Henrik Lundqvist, James Sheppard, Jesper Fast, JT Miller, Keith Yandle, 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, Rangers, Rangers Nation, Rangerstown, Rick Nash, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan McDonagh, Tanner Glass, The Ranger Zone. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.