Rangers Win Crucial Showdown with Canadiens in Shootout
The Rangers met the Canadiens in Montreal on Tuesday night and were finally able to prevail in the shootout, winning the game 4-3. Both teams entered the game with 80 points, tied in the packed Eastern Conference playoff race. It was a game that both teams sorely needed, and both teams and their goalies played as such.
After a scoreless first period, the Canadiens found themselves on the power play frequently in the second. However, two of their power plays ended when the whistle got blown on them, resulting in four on four play. On the second occasion that this happened, Nik Antropov scored on a rebound of a Chris Drury shot. It was his 25 th of the season, and his 3 rd in the last three games.
The Canadiens though would get many scoring opportunities in the period, anxious to tie the game. These included several 2 on 1 rushes in succession, and a huge shot from Mathieu Schneider that loudly pinged off the crossbar.
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Finally, Alexi Kovalev, who had a great game and has stepped up his play after a recent benching, was able to sneak a goal between Henrik Lundqvist and the near post. He hung out by the far corner of the net and eventually Andrei Markov sent a quick cross ice pass that found Kovalev open and eager to score.
In the third period, the Rangers got a 2-1 lead on a deflected Nikolai Zherdev wrist shot. Less than a minute later however, Maxim Lapierre flew down the nice, made a few shakes and sent a goal over the glove of Lundqvist to tie the game at two a piece.
The Rangers regained the lead on a Ryan Callahan goal 11 minutes into the period. After Brandon Dubinsky came from behind the net to attempt to stuff in the puck between the legs of Carey Price, Callahan scooped up the rebound and tallied the goal.
Again though, the Canadiens would not be outdone. Markov entered the Rangers zone and slowly moved toward the net, eventually sending a shot into Lundvist. The rebound popped off of Lundqvist's shoulder and behind him, allowing the Canadiens to tie the score at three a piece.
Neither team was able to break the tie in regulation, so the game went into overtime, giving both teams a point in the standings. Overtime however didn't provide many opportunities for either club, allowing for the shootout to take place. After Lundqvist made the initial save, every other player for both teams scored, culminating in the decisive Drury goal.
Both teams played a great game of hockey and seem to be past their slumps. Closing in on ten games left in the season, every meeting matters, and the final four or five spots in the conference are very much up for grabs.
By: Jake Emen
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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