The New York Rangers defeated the Los Angeles Kings by a score of 3-2 at MSG. For a box score, click here.
Oh Henrik Lundqvist, how I’ve missed you! We’ve all missed you! Even those fickle fans stupidly calling for your head a week ago. They’re just as happy to see you as the rest of us who have always believed in you. We’re all so happy to have you back!
Tonight was vintage Henrik. Yes pucks were hitting him but that’s what happens when goalies have confidence, the puck just seems to find them. And tonight the puck was finding Lundqvist. I can’t and won’t fault him for either of the goals (and I can only imagine how pissed he was after the second one).
As for the Rangers, they somehow managed to put less pucks on net than they did yesterday. I’m honestly impressed that in 122 minutes of hockey, the Rangers scored 4 goals on 36 shots. To put that in perspective, in 60 minutes tonight, the Kings had 38 shots. So yes, the Rangers weren’t great tonight. But as I said yesterday, two points are two points.
It started with a Kings turnover halfway through the first period that led to Pirri’s 8th of the season. The way he turned and quickly shot is why he will continue to get a chance to stay in the lineup. The Rangers need that.
The only other highlight of the first period? Kevin Klein kicking the crap out of Brayden McNabb after McNabb went after Zuccarello. I’m sure Klein doesn’t like to fight but when someone pisses him off, you can see the fire in his eyes. He was not pleased someone went after their favorite Norwegian.
More than midway through the second period, it looked like the Rangers were going to have to hold onto that one goal lead in order to win the game. Then it was Matt Puempel, who returned to the lineup in place of the injured Kevin Hayes, burying one to double the lead. That is why some people still believe this team is dangerous. One night it’s their superstars leading the scoring charge, the next night it’s guys like Pirri and Puempel.
The Kings got one back after a defensive miscue late in the period which led to some nail biting moments at MSG until this happened:
Is that Mats Zuccarello shooting the puck? Yes it is. Hopefully someone shows him this video so he sees what happens when he shoots. Zuccarello is one of the best passers on the team and probably in the league but every once in a while he needs to shoot. He did here and it ended up being a huge insurance goal. Great pass by Miller as well. Don’t expect any less when you have the chance to learn from guys like Zuccarello and Stepan each night.
The Rangers would somehow hold on until the final seconds when a late one found the back of the net. It didn’t do anything to the outcome, just annoying to see the two on the scoreboard instead of a one. But a win is a win.
Can the Rangers keep playing the way they have the past two games and expect to win every night? If vintage Lundqvist is back, they’ll have a better chance than they have the past month but it’s still probably not ideal. That said, they still played better than they did last time they were at MSG so at least they’re heading in the right direction. Next up, it’s Wednesday Night rivalry at MSG as the Flyers come to town for the Rangers last game before the all-star break.
(Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)