Comeback Kids Strike Again

by | Feb 19, 2024

Comeback Kids Strike Again

by | Feb 19, 2024

Rangers Pull Out Dramatic OT Win

East Rutherford, NJ: Both the NHL and New York Rangers saved their best for last as Artemi Panarin capped off the 2024 Navy Federal Credit Union Stadium Series festivities 10 seconds into overtime to beat their rivals New York Islanders 6-5 in front of 79,690 at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.

The game between the two New York-based clubs closed out the NHL’s Metropolitan Division outdoor weekend. The New Jersey Devils beat the Philadelphia Flyers 6-3 on Saturday evening.

The long-time rivals last played each other in December of 2022. Sunday was the latest into the season that they have squared off. It’s also the 270th meeting between the storied franchises.

The Rangers jumped out to a 1-0 lead a minute and a half into the game. Erik Gustafsson beat Ilya Sorokin (32 saves) with a slapshot from the top of the left circle. Gustafson one-timed a Kappo Kakko pass past Sorokin’s blocker side for goal number five on the year.

The New York Rangers celebrate Erik Gustafsson’s first-period goal during their 6-5 overtime win against the New York Islanders on Sunday, February 18,2024 at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. (Photo by: Jason Scales)

Brock Nelson tied the game for the Islanders at 4:20 when he caught a Scott Mayfield pass at the top of the right circle and then fired a snapshot to beat Igor Shesterkin glove-side. The goal was Nelson’s 23rd of the year.

The two teams traded penalties when Mayfield drew a Boarding call at 5:20, and then Rangers forward Alexis Lafreniere went to the penalty box for Tripping at 6:47.

Bo Horvat put the Islanders ahead 2-1 when he took a Noah Dobson pass into the Rangers zone and beat Shesterkin with a snapper from the right face-off dot at 7:18 during four-on-four action.

Mathew Barzal added to the Islander lead sixteen seconds later when he carried the puck out of the Islanders’ zone and through the neutral zone, then dishing it to Nelson for a give-and-go before tapping in a Nelson pass at the far post.

New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal celebrates his first-period goal with the Islanders bench during their 6-5 overtime loss to the New York Rangers on Sunday, February 18, 2024 at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. (Photo by: Jason Scales)

Anders Lee made it 4-1 just a minute into the second period when he tipped a Pierre Engvall shot past Sheshterkin.

Vincent Trocheck revived the Rangers with a pair of goals in the second. The first one was a power-play goal at 5:36

Trocheck struck for the second time at 18:24 when he lifted a loose puck over Sorokin at the left post to make it 4-3 and breathe new life into the Ranger faithful at Met Life Stadium.

Once again, the Islanders popped in a goal early in the third period to extend their lead. Defenseman Alexander Romanov banged in a Dobson shot from the point to make it 5-3 Isles.

Late in the third, the proverbial wheels fell off for the Isles as the penalties racked up, and the Rangers capitalized.

A matching Roughing call on Trocheck and Romanov led to a four-on-four play at 13:40. Barzal hooked K’Andre Miller at 14:16 to give the Rangers a four-on-three for almost a minute and a half.

Head Coach Peter Laviolette pulled Sheshterkin (36 saves) to give the Rangers a five-on-three.

Chris Kreider made it 5-4 at 15:52 after tipping a Panarin shot from the blue line past Sorokin for the power-play goal.

Mayfield hauled down Lafreniere at 17:32, giving the Rangers another chance at the man advantage. Once again, Laviolette pulled Sheshterkin, and the Rangers responded.

Mika Zibanejad tied the game with a one-timer from the bottom of the left circle with 1:28 left in regulation. Zibanejad buried Adam Fox’s pass just below Sorokin’s outstretched blocker for his 18th.

“We stuck with it,” said Fox. “Obviously, the power-play. we kind of never lost faith in each other from our little slump there. We got some big goals and obviously an awesome way to end it.”

Panarin and the Rangers wasted no time sticking the dagger in the Islanders in the extra five minutes. The Isles’ Horvat won the three-on-three face-off back to Dobson on the blue line. Dobson skated backward into the Islander’s zone and looked to make a pass across the ice to Barzal, but Panarin swatted the pass down and fired a shot on goal. Sorokin made the initial stop, but Panarin scooped the rebound over Sorokin as Dobson knocked the net off its moorings.

The Rangers bench emptied as the MetLife crowd erupted in jubilation. Meanwhile, the officials checked the replay before confirming the call on the ice and giving the Rangers their league-leading 18th come-from-behind win.

“I don’t remember the goal because I got flooded with a wave of emotions,” said Panarin, through a translator, of his game-winner. “But I’m 80% sure it was a goal.”

The Rangers extended the season-high winning streak to seven games with the win.

“It wasn’t a script we would have written it,” said Laviolette. “It was crazy. It was awesome. So many props to our guys after a first period that didn’t go the way we wanted at all.”

“We take a look at ourselves and see what we have to do,” Zibanejad said. “In situations when we’re down, we know what we have to do and we’ve been pretty good at getting back on track and getting big goals.”


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