Henrik Lundqvist was absolutely brilliant tonight, and deserved the win. It wasn’t pretty, but the Rangers would get him that 30th win in a shootout, with some late game heroics by Chris Drury. Lundqvist is now the only goaltender in NHL history to have five straight 30 wins seasons to start a career.
The first period was played predominately in their own end, and were out-shot 9 to 4. Kovalchuk would score his first goal in three games against the Rangers since being acquired by New Jersey. The play was a result of blown coverage by both Redden and Gilroy, but more so to Redden for failing to cover the streaking Kovalchuk. Jody Shelley and Andrew Peeters would also fight, with Shelley having the edge early, before Peeters caught up at the very end.
The Rangers would get the goal back in the second, though, as Brandon Dubinsky continues to raise his career highs, netting his 17th of the season, on the powerplay, with assists from Del Zotto and Avery. The Rangers would head into the third period tied 1-1.
But the Devils would grab the lead for the second time in the game, when Patrik Elias unleashed a one-timer wrist shot over the shoulder of Lundqvist, but once again, the Rangers would answer back on an Anisimov goal, with assists going to Prust and Shelley.
The problem that has plagued the Rangers all season has been consistency, and for a period of about 45 seconds, with the score tied 2-2, they played horrible defensively, allowing three odd-man rushes, and then completing a terrible line change that led to the Devils scoring again, taking the lead for the third time in the game.
When everything seemed bleak, Rangers Captain Chris Drury would tie the game at 3-3 with just 17.5 seconds remaining. The game would go to overtime, and then to a shootout, where Erik Christensen would score the only goal, giving the Rangers the win.
The line of Prust-Anisimov-Shelley was the best trio of forwards for the Rangers, which can be considered both good at bad. Olli Jokinen played just over eight minutes tonight, and has been invisible for the last few games. If he keeps up this pace, he will not have to worry about getting a contract from the Rangers this summer.
With Boston losing in regulation, and the Flyers and Thrashers falling in OT, the Rangers are still very much alive in the playoff race. With back to back wins over division rivals, perhaps this will be enough to wake the Rangers up. Only one question remains: is it too little, too late?