After losing a high scoring battle to the cross-town rival New York Islanders on Thursday night, the New York Rangers responded tonight with a big win over the Florida Panthers. Chris Kreider had another multi-point night by registering a goal and two assists, which earned him first star honors. Vladislav Namestnikov was credited with the game-winning goal early in the second period as the Rangers moved to 7-1-1 in their last nine games. Here are the goal breakdowns for tonight’s contest.
Filip Chytil has been on an absolute tear after finally notching his first goal of the season, and he scored in his third consecutive game to give the Rangers a one goal lead. The goal came off of a broken play to the side of the net, and Chytil chased down the loose puck before it went behind the net. Chytil just tossed a shot on goal and it wound up sliding through Roberto Luongo’s legs from the terrible angle.
Just under two minutes after Chytil’s tally, the Panthers answered right back with an absolute bullet of a shot from Mike Hoffman. Evgenii Dadonov found Hoffman camped inside the left faceoff circle, and Hoffman wired the shot past Henrik Lundqvist before he even knew what happened. It was just a perfectly placed shot right over the shoulder, and made it a 1-1 game.
Before the Rangers even had a chance to respond to the Hoffman goal, Aaron Ekblad wired home a shot of his own on the power play. Coming into tonight’s game, the Panthers power play was operating over 30% and they showed exactly how deadly they can be when you put them up a player. It was another perfectly placed shot that came through a screen, and Henrik Lundqvist didn’t stand much of a chance.
In a game that was filled with ridiculous shots, Brendan Smith added another to the list with an absolute snipe from the left side of the ice to tie the game at two. Lias Andersson made a great cross-ice feed to find Smith cutting in from his point spot, and Smith finished it off with a beautiful shot as he stepped down. That goal gave the Rangers plenty of momentum and they never really looked back from there.
The Rangers were able to finally take their second lead of the night early in the second period as Vladislav Namestnikov scored on a circus shot at the top of the crease. The initial shot by Namestnikov hit Luongo in the shoulder, deflected off of the crossbar, rolled back down behind and finally landed in the back of the net. The initial call of the ice was a goal with a definitive call from the official, however, the play wound up going to review.
Despite not being able to see the puck, the officials needed to see clear evidence that the puck didn’t cross the goal line in order to overturn the call. Thankfully, after much deliberation, the call was upheld and the Rangers took a 3-2 lead.
Chris Kreider (11) PPG – Assists: Neal Pionk (10) & Henrik Lundqvist (1)
With the Panthers pushing to tie the game back up, the Rangers were handed a perfect opportunity to put the nail in the coffin. And they did just that at the 7:56 mark as Chris Kreider flew down the left wing and smoked a heavy wrist shot over Luongo’s shoulder to give the Rangers a much needed insurance marker. The goal was nearly identical the one Kreider scored the other night against the Islanders, as he continues to score at a torrid pace.
Following tonight’s win, the Rangers will have a scheduled off day tomorrow before returning to action against the Dallas Stars on Monday at Madison Square Garden.