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Rangers rally for four goals to take down the Coyotes: Rick Nash scores 700th point

Bobby Bevilacqua

henrik lundqvist and viktor stalberg 10-22

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers (5-2-1) were able to move past an early Coyotes (3-3-1) goal and rally for four straight goals, giving New York their second straight home victory.

Despite a very slow start to the game, consisting of the Coyotes clogging the ice and trying to limit everything the Rangers were trying to do. For the first half of the game, it tended to work, with Arizona shutting down all of the Rangers offensive moves.

This was also the first time that the Rangers and Coyotes had played since the teams swapped Anthony Duclair and Keith Yandle, one of the blockbuster trades at last year’s deadlines. Yandle fared better in this game, scoring his first goal of the season.

This first period was rather uneventful. The Rangers totally controlled the game for the first 15 minutes, dominating possession, up in shot attempts 17-3 after one period, and shutting down the Coyotes at the blue line. Nothing really came of it, as the only had six shots on goal, no real second chance opportunities and no high scoring chances.

The Coyotes were trying to minimize what the Rangers could do, and capitalize on turnovers whenever that happened. Basically, they lulled them to sleep. And amazingly it worked.

The top two lines were easily the team’s best. Rick Nash carried his momentum over from last game. Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan were also noticeable.

The closest the Rangers came to scoring came with 9:52 remaining in the period. Derek Stepan flung a shot at Mike Smith which wound up getting loose in the crease. Oliver Ekman-Larsson inadvertently kicked the puck at his goalie, and a combination of Smith’s stick and Shane Doan’s stick stopped the puck from crossing the line.

rangers vs coyotes 10-22

The Rangers had some early chances against Arizona, but Mike Smith was up to the task. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Coyotes first shot on goal came 14:26 into the period, and they scored shortly after. Dan Girardi went out of his way to hit Martin Hanzal, but Hanzal dumped it to Max Domi, leaving Girardi out of position. Domi made a great pass to Klas Dahlbeck, and he wristed one past Henrik Lundqvist, putting Arizona up 1-0.

Not much was happening early on in the second, and the Rangers were still struggling to get to the middle of the ice and generate high quality scoring chances. Through their first 23 shot attempts, only eight hit the net. Arizona blocked 15 shots through the first 40 minutes.

New York did manage to finally break through, and it was Chris Kreider scoring his first goal of the season. Marc Staal worked the puck up to Mats Zuccarello at the blue line, and the Norwegian carried it on the attack. He sent an incredible pass across the ice to Kreider, who re-directed it past Smith despite being pressured from behind. The game was knotted at one goal apiece.

Arizona suddenly decided to put on the pressure, flinging the puck at Lundqvist for the last few minutes. Henrik was sharp, making a few good saves, and a total of 14 in the period. Arizona was up in shots 19-15 after two periods. The third period was much more wide open, with both teams taking advantage of the open ice in the neutral zone and creating more scoring chances in this 20 minutes than they had through the rest of the game.

Arizona had 15 shots this period and New York had 11. Kevin Hayes gave the Rangers the lead just over two minutes into the period, capitalizing on a Mike Smith error. Smith went behind his net to move the puck, but JT Miller took it away on the forecheck. He quickly passed it to Hayes and he backhanded it into the empty net.

A few minutes later, the Rangers were awarded a power play after Mats Zuccarello was high sticked. Right off of the faceoff, Keith Yandle scored his first goal of the season and the first against his former team. Yandle’s shot deflected off of two Coyotes and past Mike Smith, giving New York a crucial two goal lead.

keith yandle goal celebration 10-22

Keith Yandle celebrates his first goal of the season. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The rest of the period was full of some back and forth action, including a late flurry by the Arizona Coyotes. Henrik Lundqvist stood tall, making some really impressive saves, including yet another highlight reel save after recovering from his own mistake. The Rangers would seal the deal with under a minute to go, and it was Rick Nash scoring with the Coyotes net empty. Well, kind of. Nash muscled through a few defenders to get a breakaway clear at the empty net, and he was impeded because of a hooking penalty.

The rule states that if the net is empty and a player is prevented from scoring in any way, it’s a goal. So Rick Nash scored his first goal of the season and his 700th NHL point without even putting the puck in the back of the net. It’s not too often that happens.

The third period was the period that the Rangers were looking to do. However, like Marc Staal said, playing against Dave Tippet’s system is “miserable.” They clogged the ice, prevented high quality scoring chances and made the first half of the game excruciatingly hard.

Rick Nash has been absolutely tremendous the past three or four games, but in reality, he simply hasn’t had any luck. Scoring his first goal should help boost his confidence and hopefully jumpstart his game.

Chris Kreider also had a really good game. As soon as he netted that first goal, his attitude and energy levels blew through the roof. Kreider needs to start playing like that all of the time, but this was a good start.

Zuccarello continues to mean so much to this team. Now the leading scorer with four goals and two assists, he was the playmaker tonight, setting up Kreider and Keith Yandle for their goals. He’s a sparkplug, he plays aggressive on both ends of the ice, and he’s truly established himself as a top line player.

Henrik Lundqvist is playing out of his mind. He finished with 34 saves in this contest, earning his fourth win of the season. With the way he is playing, if he stays consistent, we could see a Vezina nomination in his future.

The Rangers have a day off before heading to Philadelphia for the first time this Saturday.

THREE STARS

1) Henrik Lundqvist – 34 SV, .973 SV%

2) Mats Zuccarello – 2 A, 2 SOG, 3 TK, 17:18 TOT

3) Keith Yandle – 1 G, 3 SOG, 18:54 TOT

Honorable Mention: Chris Kreider – 1 G, 4 SOG, 17:20 TOT

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Posted on October 23, 2015, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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