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Rangers win statement game over the Canadiens; Kreider scores twice

Alexandra Russo

Rangers celebrate a goal 3-26

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

It’s been extremely tight in the Eastern Conference, and in a tight push the playoffs, the Rangers recognize how important these points are. John Giannone mentioned before the game that Stepan said the Rangers just want to enjoy the games and play them with passion. They did exactly that, winning big over the Canadiens by a final score of 5-2.

And on a night where both the Islanders and the Penguins picked up wins, tonight’s win was crucial. The Rangers remain four points ahead of Pittsburgh and five ahead of the Islanders.

Just three minutes and four seconds into the game, Keith Yandle recorded his 38th assist of the season as JT Miller gave his team the lead with the game’s opening goal. Derek Stepan took a hit to make a play, and was able to make the pass to Miller to send him flying up the ice. He put the puck on his backhand and slid it past Condon for his 21st goal of the season.

Condon’s best save of the period came on Eric Staal. Hayes had a two on one with Eric, but Condon slid across the crease and kicked out the pad to prevent a two goal deficit. Shortly thereafter, Klein had a bad giveaway. Eller ripped a shot that deflected off of McDonagh’s skate and past Raanta for a tie game. It was his first point in the past seven games.

Chris Kreider took a hooking penalty with just about three minutes to go in the first period of play. However, the best chance of that power play came for the Rangers. Dominic Moore waited as long as he could to pass the puck to Viktor Stalberg, who was waiting in front of the net. He was stopped by Condon as the Rangers killed off the rest of the penalty, allowing only one shot on goal.

The second period started out fast for the Blueshirts as 1:32 into the period Derick Brassard put his team ahead with a 2-1 lead. Chris Kreider got the puck from Brassard on a two on one but missed the net. Luckily, the rebound went behind the net and back out the other way for Brassard to stuff in, giving him a team high 27 goals and five in the last nine games.

Fast took a hooking penalty, but the Rangers’ penalty kill was strong. They even had a chance that could have been a penalty shot, but nothing was called on the hook.

It was time for the Rangers’ power play to kick into action, and has it ever been doing well. Chris Kreider and Derick Brassard connected yet again, only this time it was Kreider with the goal, his fourth power play goal of the season. Yandle received yet another assist (because that’s surprising) on this goal. Brassard’s great pass from the point found Kreider at the circle. He didn’t hesitate to snap it home for the three to one lead. That makes it three straight games with a power play goal for New York.

Kreider then did exactly what the coaches have wanted to see from him all season long- combine his speed, strength, and size and score big goals. His unassisted goal came a few minutes after his power play one. He raced down the wing after forcing a turnover and cut towards the net, going to his backhand for a three goal Rangers’ lead.

At 15:38 of the middle period, the Canadiens showed some life as Philip Danault got the puck on a fantastic feed from David Desharnais, snapping a shot past Raanta in front and cutting the lead to 4-2.

The Rangers got their second power play of the game and converted on it yet again. Derek Stepan scored his 18th goal of the season on a great feed from Zuccarello. Brassard picked up an assist on this goal. Their power play heading into this game was 13th in the league but will definitely move up after tonight’s contest as they finished the night two for three.

In an impressive four goal period for the Rangers, they took a commanding 5-2 lead into the third period. They also had a shot advantage, 19 to 17. Overall, they played tight defensively and had a great offensive period, sustaining as much pressure as they could.

The final period of play saw Scrivens in net, as Condon had let in 5 goals on 19 shots.

The Rangers took a penalty early as Dan Girardi headed to the penalty box on a tripping call. McDonagh knocked the puck off Desharnais’ stick to break up his chance in front of Raanta. It was a strong penalty kill, but they didn’t get back to even strength just yet as they took yet another penalty.

They were able to kill that penalty, as well. However, the Canadiens’ pressure improved in the Rangers zone.

Soon, it became penalty after penalty after penalty for the Rangers. The penalty kill went into action again as Klein took a tripping penalty. They ended the night six for six, which will definitely improve their penalty kill’s current position in the League.

The Rangers had a power play, but this time were unable to convert. It still did look great, though. However, it looked as if the Canadiens might have figured out some of the Rangers’ power play strategy.

Four on four hockey was next as the penalties kept on coming. Mitchell went to the box for holding, and Kreider went to the box for embellishment.

The third period had more shorthanded time than five on five play. Yandle took a cross-checking penalty in the final minutes of the period.

The Rangers’ explosive second period gave them a boost, where all they had to do was play a tight defensive third period to close out a big lead. Anti Raanta was great in net and has now won six of his last seven starts.

Keith Yandle continues to impress with his great passes and high hockey IQ. He makes plays that lead to keep-ins and numerous goals. The Rangers made a smart move not trading this vital part of their team.

The Rangers’ special teams continues to improve, which will definitely help them come playoff time. And speaking of the playoffs, they take on divisional rival Pittsburgh Penguins in a huge matchup tomorrow night. Catch the action on NBCSN at 7:30.

THREE STARS:

1) Chris Kreider – 2 G, 1 A, 3 HT, 14:22 TOT

2) Derick Brassard – 1 G, 2 A, 2 SOG, 3 HT, 15:44 TOT

3) Keith Yandle – 2 A, +6 CF, 19:33 TOT

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Posted on March 27, 2016, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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