Rangers storm back, sweep away Jets
Blueshirts' 4-2 comeback win at Winnipeg lifts them to No. 1 spot in NHL
By Jim Cerny, BlueshirtsUnited.com
Brian Boyle found the perfect way to exact revenge against the Winnipeg Jets Wednesday night at the MTS Centre in the Rangers rousing 4-2 come-from-behind victory. After losing a capped tooth to an Andrew Ladd high stick late in the second period, Boyle snapped a 2-2 tie early in the third with his third goal in the past four games, lifting his club to a crucial victory.
With the win the Rangers extended their lead atop the Eastern Conference to five points over the idle Pittsburgh Penguins. The Rangers have five games left to play, while the Penguins have six. Michael Del Zotto had a goal and two assists for the Rangers, who have now won three straight games and five of their last six. Ryan Callahan added a goal and an assist, and Marian Gaborik notched a pair of assists for the Blueshirts.
After failing to score on the four-minute double-minor assesed to Ladd when he high sticked Boyle, the Rangers capitalized at even strength moments later. Boyle carried a defenseman on his back, and the puck out from behind the goal line, before flipping a shot just over Ondrej Pavelec's right pad at 3:07 of the third period, handing the Rangers their first lead of the night.
The Rangers put the game away at 10:06 by scoring their second power play goal of the game---this one on a Derek Stepan left wing snap shot---to go up 4-2.
After a scoreless first period in which the Blueshirts were outshot 11-4, but killed off three straight Winnipeg power plays, the Jets struck for two quick goals early in the second period to grab a 2-0 lead. Spencer Machacek opened the scoring at 3:58 when his right wing shot deflcted off Del Zotto's stick and in between Henrik Lundqvist's pads for his second goal of the season before Brian Little swept in a shot from the low slot 56 seconds later.
To make matters seemingly worse, Brandon Dubinsky took a slashing penalty shortly thereafter at 6:35 and the Jets seemed poised to put the visitors away. However a ferocious forecheck by Callahan led to a turnover and Del Zotto crashed the crease to jam in a shorthanded goal at 7:44, cutting the Rangers deficit in half. The goal was Del Zotto's eighth of the season and first in 22 games. It was the team's eighth shorthanded goal of the season.
Then finally on a power play of their own, the Rangers cashed in to tie the game before the second period was over. Callahan chipped a shot from the top of the crease past Pavelec for his 28th goal---the team-high 12th he has scored on the power play---to make the score 2-2 with 1:37 left in the period. Del Zotto started the play with a pass from the left point, and Gaborik earned the primary assist by centering the puck to Callahan for his team-best 70th point this season.
The victory completed a four-game season series sweep by the Rangers over the Jets this season. It also gave the Blueshirts a sweep of its current three-game road trip.