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Rangers rally for a wild comeback win; Miller stays red-hot

Bobby Bevilacqua

Derick Brassard goal celebration 2-4

Derick Brassard celebrates after scoring the eventual game winning goal. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

After eight minutes, things did not look good for the Rangers (28-18-5). The Minnesota Wild (23-19-9) had scored twice and looked to be taking control of the game. But after the first intermission, the Rangers played some of their most dominant hockey of the entire season, culminating in a 4-2 Rangers win.

In the Tuesday loss against the Devils, the Rangers played well at even strength, but were poor on special teams. Today, they were dominant at even strength, and improved on the penalty kill. They gave up one power play goal, but fended off the next two.

The Rangers have now won four of their last six games, and are starting to play a better overall game. If they can string together these performances consistently, and solve their penalty kill issues, the Rangers could be trending upwards.

The first period was the exact opposite of how the Rangers wanted to start off. They surrendered another early goal, failed to kill off a penalty, and had trouble getting the puck on net. A lot of the same issues plagued them and saw the team trail 2-0 after 20 minutes.

Just 2:09 into the period, Ryan Carter scored his fifth goal of the season after Marc Staal mishandled the puck at the blueline. He tried to get a shot off but lost control of the puck. Carter collected it, blew past Staal for a breakaway and beat Henrik Lundqvist top shelf.

About four minutes later, Staal continued his great start to the night, taking an interference penalty and sending the struggling Rangers penalty kill to the ice. And for the third consecutive opposing power play, the other team scored. Matt Dumba scored on a one timer and doubled Minnesota’s early lead.

The Rangers had a few extended offensive shifts, but the Wild did a fantastic job of blocking shots or forcing them wide. When they did generate offense, they did a good job of maintaining possession. Most of the chances came off of re-directions, with Kreider and Zuccarello coming close on the same shift. Dan Girardi had the best chance of the period off of a rebound, but he couldn’t elevate the puck over the right pad of Devan Dubnyk.

Viktor Stalberg got whistled for a hooking penalty with 1:20 left in the period. The Rangers were lucky to escape the end of the period without a goal against, as the Wild spent the majority of that time in the Rangers’ zone. Key shot blocks from Stepan and Fast kept the deficit to just two goals. Both teams had seven shots on goal.

The second period was one of the most dominant that the Rangers have had all season long. New York had the puck for the majority of the time, had some good looks on the power play, and also dominated in shots on goal over the Wild, 17-4.

After killing off the remaining time of the power play, the Rangers got right to work, scoring two goals in a span of 1:27. Ryan McDonagh opened the scoring for New York, finding the back of the net thanks to an excellent hustle and effort play.

McDonagh had the puck in the slot, but was quickly swarmed by multiple defenders. He fought off the Wild skaters, maintained control of the puck, and snuck a shot past Dubnyk and inside the far post, cutting the deficit to just a single goal. Zuccarello and Stepan picked up the assists.

And following that up was the red-hot JT Miller, scoring yet again, giving him seven in his last six games and 16 on the season. Miller showed great patience with the puck before passing it off to Dan Girardi, who sent it to Derick Brassard behind the net. Brass set up Miller with an excellent pass, and he sent a one-timer past Dubnyk to tie the game at two goals apiece.

The pressure from the Rangers continued to pile on after the goals, dominating from that point on. Dubnyk robbed the Rangers on two occasions, moving well laterally to stop Oscar Lindberg’s backhand off of a rebound, and gloving Yandle’s wrist shot from his backside.

The Rangers killed off another penalty later on, even getting a shorthanded breakaway from Dominic Moore, and they were also got some help from a few good Henrik Lundqvist saves. Dan Boyle ended the period by sending a wrist shot off of the crossbar as the buzzer sounded. The Rangers had an advantage of 14 shots on goal, were +29 in Corsi For, and allowed just one shot on goal from a Minnesota forward after two periods.

The Rangers carried over their momentum from the second period into the final 20 minutes, continuing their offensive dominance and almost complete possession of the puck. After failing to convert on the power play, the Rangers top line came through in the clutch again, and it was Brassard giving his team their first lead of the game after five minutes of play. Ryan McDonagh made a nice play to trap the puck along the boards and get it to JT Miller. He sent a quick pass to Brassard, all alone in front, and he finished off the play with an excellent little move to send the puck into the net.

That goal was number 18 on the season for Derick Brassard, just one shy of his career high that he set last season. With a goal and an assist, Brass now has eight points (3-5-8) in his last two games.

Both goalies made some remarkable saves to keep the score as is, including a few good ones from Henrik, moving laterally to rob Marco Scandella fro in tight, as well as making a great sprawling glove save. Dubnyk was solid in the third period as well.

With time winding down and the Minnesota net empty, Chris Kreider skated well out of the zone and sent the puck into the empty net to seal the victory.

Derick Brassard and JT Miller have been working so well together lately. Both players had a goal and an assist, finished +10 and +9 in Corsi For, respectively, and fueled the Rangers offensive attack. Miller is proving to the team that he’s a legitimate top six forward, while Derick Brassard continues to turn heads as one of the more underrated centers in the entire league.

Ryan McDonagh played a fantastic game as well. Defensively, he was solid all across the board. On top of that, he scored a very nice goal, picked up a helper on the game winning goal, and finished with an incredible +28 Corsi For.

The Rangers will travel to Philadelphia for a Saturday matinee game at 1 PM.

THREE STARS

1) Derick Brassard – 1 G, 1 A, +2, +10 CF, 17:26 TOT

2) JT Miller – 1 G, 1 A, +2, +9 CF, 17:20

3) Ryan McDonagh – 1 G, 1 A, +28 CF, 25:02 TOT

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Posted on February 5, 2016, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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