Rangers head into the holidays with an OT win against the Ducks

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs ducks battle 12-22

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers and their fans got a Christmas present a couple of days early.

With both teams desperately searching for a win, it was the Rangers (20-12-4) who came out on top, taking down the 30th place Anaheim Ducks (12-15-6) by a score of 3-2 in the final game before the holiday break. It was a win the Rangers really needed, giving them a bit of a confidence booster as they get ready to unwind over the next five days.

I’m not going to be overly critical, but it wasn’t the most prolific offensive performance from Vigneault’s squad. They clearly focused on defense first, and that worked for the most part. The Ducks had very few good scoring chances and they only managed 19 shots on goal.

The Rangers didn’t create many scoring chances either, they were given their two goals on turnovers. But still, they converted on both of those chances, as well as getting another power play goal in overtime.

The win snapped a four game losing streak, giving New York just their fourth win in the last 15 games. They aren’t out of the woods yet, and they need to keep up this kind of defensive play and string together some wins and good performances.

The first period was rather uneventful to be honest. Neither team really had all that many chances, with the Ducks outshooting the Rangers 8-5. New York only had three shots through the first 13 minutes or so.

The first 10 minutes saw almost no action. Tanner Glass dropped the gloves with Patrick Maroon in a decent fight, and Carl Hagelin got a nice ovation from the fans during a commercial break.

The Ducks opened the scoring at 11:16 of the first period, and it was Corey Perry scoring his team-leading 11th goal of the season. Firstly, the play happened because the referees waived off an icing, claiming that Mark Staal was close enough to the puck and they thought he was in the process of making a play. It was a bad call and should have been icing.

After getting tied up along the boards, Staal passed it right into the skates of Dominic Moore. Rickard Rakell collected the loose puck and passed it to Perry. He turned and sent a shot past Lundqvist to open up the scoring.

The Rangers had a power play chance around the 13 minute mark, but didn’t really do anything on it. Keith Yandle played just :29 and they only had one shot on goal. But the Rangers started to pick things up, eventually leading to the tying goal.

Mats Zuccarello forced a turnover at the blue line, and the puck was taken by a Ducks defender. Josh Manson passed it right on the stick of Derick Brassard, and he sent it past John Gibson to tie the game at one goal apiece.

derick brassard goal celebration 12-22

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The second period was extremely conservative, with both teams not willing to take any chances at all. These are two teams that really want a win heading into the Christmas break, and the playstyle was overly cautious. Both teams had just five shots on goal, so the Ducks led 13-10 in shots.

Each team had one good chance in this period. Ryan McDonagh joined the attack while shorthanded, and got a wide open one-timer chance from about 15-20 feet away, but he missed the net wide. For the Ducks, Ryan Getzlaf hit the inside of the post with a shot after Henrik Lundqvist came out to poke check the puck away, and was caught way out of his crease. Other than that, nothing very notable.

The Rangers jumped out to a 2-1 lead two minutes into the final period, and it was Derick Brassard finding the back of the net again. Vatanen turned the puck over to Zuccarello deep in his own zone, giving the Rangers a 2-on-none. Zukes passed it off to Brass who fired it past Gibson.

The Rangers kept up the same aggressive pace to the period after the goal, following Brassard’s second goal of the game with an excellent shift from a line consisting of Lindberg, Etem and Moore with Yandle and McIlrath at the point. Henrik Lundqvist made an excellent save moving to his right, using his right pad to deny Rakell.

After having just five shots on goal in each of the first two periods, the Rangers had five in the first 4+ minutes of the third.

The Rangers did a pretty good job stopping the Anaheim Ducks from doing anything for a majority of the third period, but they gave up a costly goal with under three minutes to play. Rakell skated into the zone, used McDonagh as a screen and beat Lundqvist up high. The game would head into overtime.

Just 1:07 into the overtime period, Cam Fowler was called for hooking, sending the Rangers red-hot power play out on the ice. After being shut down for most of the game, they delivered. Brassard, Zuccarello and Boyle were cycling the puck while Rick Nash was parked in front of the net. Zuccarello sent a hard pass over to Boyle, who couldn’t tee up the shot. But he stayed calm, got his defender to go down to the ice and slid it back to Zuccarello for a one-timer, and the puck sailed into the back of the net, giving the Rangers the win and giving Zukes his team leading 15th goal of the season.

Derick Brassard is lighting it up lately. This was one of his best games in a while. Even when he was scoring, there were a few lazy plays and bad possession nights mixed in since the Rangers started struggling. But his three point night gave him 13 points (7-6-13) in the last 12 games, and 28 points this season.

Mats Zuccarello continues his remarkable return to hockey. He’s come back from a brain injury better than ever, leading the team with 15 goals and 30 points. He’s truly blossomed into a top six, maybe even first line player. His contract is looking like a steal more and more every day.

Dan Boyle had another point, an assist, and he was on the ice for another power play goal. Boyle has seven points (4-3-7) in the last eight games, and has been on the ice for 16 of the team’s 22 power play goals.

Although he didn’t score, Emerson Etem has a really solid game. He had three shots on goal, gave the defenders nightmares with his speed and ability to protect the puck, and came close to scoring a few times. He’s getting better, improving his game and showing his offensive abilities. If only he could get off of the fourth line.

The Rangers have a much needed five day break before the return to action on Monday night against the Nashville Predators.


1) Derick Brassard – 1 G, 2 A, +2, 4 SOG, 20:03 TOT

2) Mats Zuccarello – 1 G, 1 A, +2, 3 SOG, 2 BS, 19:56 TOT

3) Dan Boyle – 1 A, +1, 21:38 TOT

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

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