New York – On Halloween night, when darkness casted its shadow over New York City with a horrific attack on innocent lives, the New York Rangers gave the New Yorkers something to cheer about. A four goal third period to lift them over the Vegas Golden Knights 6-4. A big win yes, a confidence booster yes, but make no mistake, they must still prove themselves as they now move on to play the leagues best Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. We won’t take away from the win by stating the known facts, that the Golden Knights were playing their second game of a back-to-back or the fact their goalie was just playing junior hockey a few days ago.

For now, we will give them the credit that they worked hard in the last twenty minutes after a poor forty minutes prior. The fortunate power play’s in the third benefited the Blueshirts as they were able to capitalize. The Rangers were 2-for-5 on the power play in tonight’s game and tallied the game-winning goal on a power play opportunity in the third period. The Rangers have recorded a power play goal in each of the last two games, three of its last five games, four of its last seven games, and seven of 13 games this season.

The Blueshirts established a single-game season-high with six goals in tonight’s contest, and six different Rangers tallied a goal in the contest. The goal scorers in the game were, Jimmy Vesey (2nd of the season), Mats Zuccarello (3rd of the season), Chris Kreider (3rd of the season), Pavel Buchnevich (5th of the season), Mika Zibanejad (8th of the season) and Michael Grabner (4th of the season).

For the first time this season, the Rangers earned a win when trailing entering the third period. The Blueshirts won a game in which they trailed by at least two goals entering the third period for the first time since Jan. 7, 2017 at Columbus (rallied from a 4-2 deficit after the second period to win 5-4). The Rangers also won a home game in which they trailed by at least two goals entering the third period for the first time since Oct. 27, 2014 vs. Minnesota (rallied from a 3-0 deficit after the second period to win 5-4).

Henrik Lundqvist made 30 saves to earn his third win of the 2017-18 season and the 408th win of his NHL career. By earning a win in tonight’s game, Lundqvist passed Hall of Famer Glenn Hall for sole possession of ninth place on the NHL’s all-time wins list. He has made at least 30 saves in three of his last six appearances and in four of 10 appearances thus far in 2017-18.

Lundqvist, who was the best player on the ice despite giving up four goals, seemed distracted and rightfully so as he shared, “My family is in that are [lower Manhattan] everyday and coming to game not knowing if they were safe or not, it was not a good feeling”. He did give the Rangers a chance and he made spectacular saves as he always does to help his team stay in it. He did add that, “On a very emotional and tough day, I feel like we did a good job here tonight to get the two points and get it done”.

Zibanejad, who, had a phenomenal game, said, “We were trying to play for the whole city”, as he talked about the events that took place in New York.  Zuccarello also added, It’s anger, it’s frustrating, its everything. Almost like you don’t know what to do but cry.” There is no doubt this was on the minds of the players as they geared up to play a game and it seemed to have affected their first forty minutes but as New Yorkers do in tough times and dealing with tragedy, they got their game together and played for New York in that third period. Although it was emotional, Zuccarello said, “It’s just one game. We still have to fix a lot”.

As for the coach, who seemed to have saved himself another day when asked about his players and their mindset after the tragic events of the day, he went on to say, “I won’t name names, but I heard a couple of guys talking about it before the game. They were talking how we have to put this together and get going here. They were aware of it, it was an emotional moment with what happened today, but our guys handled it well and were able to come back.”

As for the third period, the coach went on to say, “I think our group proved tonight that there’s no quit. Another comeback, and this one we were able to pull through. There was a lot of emotion in the dressing room before the game tonight with what happened today in Tribeca. A lot of our players live around there. They saw firsthand last year what the police and first responders do (prior to the season during a team building activity). We’re working on putting our game together. There are some pieces of our game that are real good, others are not Picassos. We’re trying to put it together, we’re trying to work hard. We’ll take the two points tonight and move on to [Tampa].”

Thursday will be a real test for the Rangers and if they can build on the win and not take steps back.

 

NOTES

The Rangers played their first all-time game against the Vegas Golden Knights tonight. By earning a win in tonight’s game, the Blueshirts have now posted a 24-5-1-0 record in their first all-time game against the other 30 teams currently in the NHL.

Kevin Shattenkirk recorded a power play assist, registered four shots on goal, and posted a plus-three rating while skating in a game-high, 25:07 of ice time. He has registered three assists/points over the last two games, and he has tallied a point in eight of 13 games this season. In addition, six of his eight assists thus far this season have been primary assists.

Alain Vigneault earned his 618th career win as an NHL head coach in tonight’s game, passing Jacques Lemaire for sole possession of 13th place on the NHL’s all-time wins list among head coaches. Vigneault is now two wins away from tying Bryan Murray for 12th place on the league’s all-time wins list among head coaches. He leads all head coaches in wins since the start of the 2006-07 season (509).

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I have been broadcasting junior hockey the last 6 years amongst other broadcasting ventures. I've been writing about sports for just as long and signed on to write for Inside Hockey.

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