The undertone of Sunday night’s game was Rick Nash visiting New York where he could be playing at this time next week. But tonight, he was a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and even though it took overtime, the Rangers walked away with a 3-2 overtime victory on a game-winning goal by Derek Stepan just seconds into the extra period.
The Rangers dominated the opening stanza, and walked away with a 1-0 lead on a goal by Brad Richards, off a drop-pass from Carl Hagelin. It was Richards’ 18th goal of the season. The Rangers outshot the Blue Jackets 10-4, and completely controlled the puck from start to finish.
The Jackets tied the game in the second period on the powerplay after Marian Gaborik was called for high-sticking. Columbus’ Derek Brassard‘s slapshot beat Henrik Lundqvist for his 11th goal of the season. Late in the second period, the Rangers took the lead when Artem Anisimov buried a loose puck outside the crease, after Dan Girardi‘s slapshot missed the net and skidded slowly back in front.
The Rangers appeared to take a 3-1 lead in the dying seconds of the second period when Michael Del Zotto beat goaltender Chris Mason, but after further review, it was determined time had expired, even though the television clocks showed .01 remaining on the clock. The NHL said that is not the official clock, and the goal was disallowed.
New York held onto the 2-1 lead none other than Nash scored to tie it with 1:33 left to send the game to overtime, when Stepan completed a gorgeous tic-tac-toe pass from Del Zotto and Gaborik to give the Rangers the 3-2 win.
- Beautiful play to end the game. I think all Rangers fans have come to love the team’s blue-collar style, but plays like that are always welcomed. The team deserved to win this game, and deserved the fate they got.
- How wasn’t Del Zotto a star of the game? You could make the case he should have been the first, which somehow went to Ryan Callahan, who finished with zero points on the night. I love Callahan, but Del Zotto should have gotten the nod.
- The NHL has to get its stuff together with the clock issue. It makes absolutely no sense that the game clock isn’t the official clock. It’s 2012; how is this an issue?
- The powerplay continues to be an issue. Enough said.
- Gorgeous pass by Hagelin on the Richards goal. The kid is getting better and better.
- Lundqvist didn’t get a lot of work, but his save on Jeff Carter was gorgeous.
- I loved the “We Don’t Want You” chant from the fans. Not sure if it would have any affected on him, but I’m sure Nash didn’t appreciate it.
- Nothing else to say tonight. It was a pretty boring game, and the dead crowd reflected it.
- It’s off to Pittsburgh for a matchup with the Penguins and Evgeni Malkin on Tuesday.
Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia