The Rangers scored three goals in the second period and then held on tight to beat the Stanley Cup champion Kings in L.A. Thursday night, 4-3. The win came less than 24 hours after a dominating win Wednesday over the Anaheim Ducks, the team with the NHL’s best record.
After falling behind 2-0 in the game’s first six minutes, the Rangers stormed back. Dan Boyle scored a power play goal at 10:27 to make it 2-1 after one period.
The Blueshirts came out of the gate in the second period even more aggressively. Kevin Klein scored at the 2:31 mark, through Jonathan Quick‘s pads, to tie the score at 2-all. Lee Stempniak scored 19 seconds later, taking advantage of a lot of traffic in front of Quick, to give New York a 3-2 lead. And at the 8:17 mark, Martin St. Louis scored his 13th goal of the season, on assists from Boyle and Derick Brassard to make it 4-2 New York.
The third period was tense and only got more tense when the Justin Williams scored for the Kings with 4:03 to play to make it 4-3. Cam Talbot and the New York defense held off L.A. in the game’s final moment to preserve the win.
Talbot made 28 saves in the victory, his 4th in his last five starts.
The Blueshirts [23-11-4] have now won 12 of their last 13 games, improving their record to 23-11-4. They face the Sharks Saturday night in San Jose, to finish up the three-game Western road trip.
The Rangers started a pivotal three-game Western road trip with a win in Anaheim against the Ducks Wednesday night, 4-1. The Ducks went into the game with the NHL’s best record, but the Rangers were dominant. It was the team’s 11th win in the last 12 games. Henrik Lundqvist made 24 saves for his 19th win of the season, and the rapidly improving Rangers defense blocked 19 shots.
The Blueshirts [22-11-4] will be right back on the ice Thursday night; they’ll head up I-5 to Los Angeles, to play the Stanley Cup champion Kings for the first time since last June’s finals.
After a scoreless first period, Derick Brassard got the Rangers on the board first, at the 9:10 mark, with a shot from the top of the right face-off circle, to make it 1-0. It was Brassard’s 11th goal of the season.
Rick Nash made it 2-0 at the 2:32 point of the third period, when he tipped a shot from Kevin Klein past Anaheim goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. It was Nash’s 25th goal of 2014-15, one behind Tyler Sequin of the Stars for best in the league.
Francois Beauchemin cut the lead to 2-1 with a power play goal at 10:09. It remained that way until Mats Zuccarello scored his first goal in ten games, stealing the puck from Beauchemin and putting it past Bryzgalov with only 5:33 to play to make it 3-1..
Dominic Moore added an empty-netter for the final 4-1 margin.
It was a statement win for the Rangers; an impressive road win against a quality opponent. Now, a long-awaited rematch with the Kings.
The Rangers take the ice in Anaheim tonight, as the Blueshirts begin a critical three-game Western swing, a trip that will be an excellent barometer of where the team stands. The road trip will also essentially take the team to the halfway point of the 2014-15 season [OK, 39 games into the 82 game schedule].
The trip presents three singular tests. Tonight, the Rangers [21-11-4, 46 pts] face the Ducks [26-9-6, 58 pts], who own the NHL’s best record. Henrik Lundqvist will be between the pipes tonight.
Thursday night, the Blueshirts face the Los Angeles Kings [19-12-9, 47 pts], the defending Stanley Cup champions, and the team that crushed the Rangers’ championship dreams last June. Cam Talbot will get the start Thursday.
Saturday night, the road trip wraps up with a game in San Jose against the Sharks [22-14-5, 49 pts].
Three teams with better records than the Rangers, though, to be fair, each of the three has played more games than New York has.
The Blueshirts have won 10 of their last 11, have been healthy, and have been playing better defense and shown improvement on the power play. Can they keep that up against three quality opponents?
The Rangers started 2015 in a big way Saturday night, scoring four goals in the first period on their way to a 6-1 win over the Sabres at The Garden. Six different Rangers scored goals, and goalie Henrik Lundqvist made 24 saves for the win. That gives New York 10 wins in their last 11 games.
In a 3:48 stretch midway through the opening period, Derick Brassard, Chris Kreider (off an unbelievable pass from J.T. Miller) and Rick Nash each scored a power play goal, and Dan Boyle‘s goal made it 4-0. Nash’s goal was his 24th of the season, one behind Dallas’ Tyler Seguin (25) for tops in the NHL. The four-goal outburst was the most the team has scored in a single period since October 27th against Minnesota [when they scored five in the third period].
Carl Hagelin (his 8th) and Jesper Fast (his 3rd) scored goals in the second period, and neither team scored in the third.
The Rangers [21-11-4, 46 points] now head West for a three-game road trip, with games in Anaheim (Wednesday), defending Stanley Cup champ Los Angeles (Thursday), and San Jose (Saturday).