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Klein scores in overtime to steal a win away for the Rangers

Bobby Bevilacqua

Rangers vs Red Wings 2-21

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Jimmy Howard did all he could, but the Rangers (34-19-6) wound up coming away with the overtime win on home ice against the Detroit Red Wings (29-20-11), with Henrik Lundqvist making 22 saves and picking up his 29th save and fourth shutout of the season.

This game was very much a goalie duel, with each team’s netminder making some stellar saves and playing very well in order to get the game into overtime. Hat’s off to Jimmy Howard, who made 29 saves and kept the Red Wings in the game, but is still searching for his first win since December 3rd.

The Rangers have earned a point in 10 of their last 11 games at MSG, and continue to dominate on home ice, now moving into a tie with the Blackhawks for most home wins in the league (22).

The Rangers had an extra jump in their step to start this game, looking very strong and energized right out of the gate. Jesper Fast drew a penalty just over a minute into the game, and the Rangers had three shots on goal and a few good looks. They would eventually get the first seven shots on goal, and didn’t allow the Red Wings to get a shot on target until eight minutes in.

Both goalies were strong throughout the period. Howard had to be sharp early, making back to back saves on Dom Moore in front of the net, and another on Derick Brassard from in-tight. He turned aside 12 shots in the opening period.

Lundqvist had to be sharp too. He looked laser-focused, moving well in the crease and kicking out the pads at the perfect times to make some nice reaction saves. Lundqvist had 10 saves, most of which came towards the end of the period when Detroit started to open things up and play better.

The second period was much of the same. Lots of open ice to skate on, but both teams quickly closed each other down and limited the amount of dangerous scoring chances. This period got more aggressive, with both teams getting into some pushing and shoving matches, and a few aggressive penalties were taken.

The highlight of this period was Lundqvist’s fantastic sequence of saves against Andreas Athanasiou, Brendan Smith and Teemu Pulkkinen, stopping all three guys one after the other, including two rebound chances. Henrik Zetterberg also had a chance but rifled a wrist shot off of the crossbar.

The best chances for the Rangers came late on, but Howard made another nine saves and kept the game scoreless. After Mats Zuccarello hit the outside of the post, Howard was forced to make a very nice save on Derek Stepan, and Kevin Hayes’ rising shot on the man advantage was also turned aside. After two periods, the Rangers were up in shots 21-17.

The third period was the Jimmy Howard show, as he continued to make some fantastic saves and keep his team in the game, starting with an excellent pad save on Oscar Lindberg early on.

A few minutes in, it appeared that Kevin Hayes had opened the scoring, beating Howard from behind the goal line and sneaking in past his shoulders. But the Red Wings challenged the call, claiming that there was contact on Howard in the crease. Upon further review, Oscar Lindberg was tripped outside of the crease, and his skate came up and hit Howard in the mask right before the shot came in. Although Lindberg didn’t initiate contact, the referees still waved off the goal and the game remained scoreless.

Then the referees turned the game into a penalty fest, handing out two minute minors left and right. Keith Yandle got an interference penalty after getting high sticked in the face. It was a mess. But the Rangers killed off all four of Detroit’s penalties, and only allowed one shot on goal in those eight minutes.

With 5:25 to go in the period, Yandle sprung Jesper Fast on a breakaway with a marvelous pass, and he wound up drawing a penalty and a penalty shot. However, Howard was patient and made a great blocker save to keep the game scoreless.

Not long after that, Howard made another unbelievable save, sprawling to deny Fast of a goal on a two-on-none chance for the Rangers. His 28 saves in regulation were the main reason that this game was scoreless and going into overtime.

In overtime, Lundqvist was forced to make a tough save, but the puck popped loose out of his pads and laid still in the crease. The Red Wings were caught puck watching, but Kreider collected the puck and made a quick outlet pass to Kevin Hayes, sending him on a breakaway with Kevin Klein. Hayes made a perfect backhand pass over to Klein, and the Rangers finally beat Howard, earning the win and coming away with two points.

This was a really good, grind it out kind of win for the Rangers. They really had to work hard to come away with a win, and they deserved two points. Lundqvist made some really good saves, and the team generated a few good looks. I thought that Kevin Hayes played particularly well, as well as his linemates, Oscar Lindberg and Viktor Stalberg. Jesper Fast also played an active role and was very effective.

The Rangers have won eight of the 12 games without Rick Nash, and they’re 3-1-1 without McDonagh, which shows their resiliency, their winning culture and even their depth. Alain Vigneault has done well while two of his best players are absent.

The Rangers kick off a three game road trip starting Tuesday night against the New Jersey Devils.

THREE STARS

1) Henrik Lundqvist – 22 SVS, 1.000 SV%

2) Kevin Klein – 1 G, 2 SOG, 3 BS, 22:32 TOT, +7 CF

3) Kevin Hayes – 1 A, 3 SOG, 2 BS, 14:49 TOT

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Posted on February 22, 2016, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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