|NYR||0||1||1||1||(0 - 0)||3|
|CHI||1||0||1||0||(0 - 0)||2|
• PHOTO GALLERY
By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com
With 18 of their fathers in attendance, the Rangers earned one of their more remarkable victories in recent memory, defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on Chris Drury’s goal in overtime Friday night at the United Center.
The Rangers stared down much adversity in the game, and were an outstanding 10-of-11 on the penalty kill, while scoring a pair of power play goals of their own, to win in the city of Chicago for the first time since Oct. 18, 2000.
“It was an all-around team effort,” said center Brandon Dubinsky, who scored for the second time in three games. “23 guys, including a great coaching staff, found a way to get us a huge two points.”
Four-fifths of their way through a five-game road trip, the Rangers have now earned seven of a possible eight points, and remain in first place in the Atlantic Division with 58 points. The road trip will conclude on Sunday afternoon with a match against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Drury started the winning scoring play in overtime by controlling a faceoff in the offensive zone. He then skated to the front of the net to deflect Wade Redden’s shot into the cage for his team-high 15th goal of the season, and second of the night, setting of dual celebrations -- one by the players on the ice, and another upstairs by their dads.
“I kind of saw Dru in front by himself, and it wasn’t a real hard shot, but Dru has such good hands that he was able to tip it in,” explained Redden.
That the Rangers scored the game-winner while on the power play was an ironic twist of fate considering the fact that the club spent so much of the game playing shorthanded.
Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves, including two huge stops in overtime, to earn his 23rd win of the season, which is tied for second most in the NHL. He has surrendered only three goals during the Rangers’ current three-game winning streak.
The Rangers snapped a 1-1 deadlock 7:58 into the third period when Dubinsky delivered his seventh goal of the season off a gorgeous Lauri Korpikoski feed. Korpikoski, the Rangers’ rookie forward, led a 3-on-3 rush on left wing and completely faked Chicago goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin out of position before sliding a pass to a wide-open Dubinsky for the score.
Chicago was able to pull even at 15:31 when the Blackhawks finally were able to score on a two-man advantage, their fifth such power play of the game. Defenseman Brent Seabrook drove a hard slap shot inside the left post for his fifth goal to even the score 2-2.
Tom Renney, the Rangers furious head coach, yelled at the officials from the front of the team bench after Seabrook’s goal, finally unable to contain his anger which had been building all night. At that point of the game, the Blackhawks had been awarded ten power plays to only three for the Rangers, and, almost unbelievably, Chicago also had five 5-on-3s.
“Things happen in a fast-paced game, and you have to deal with it,” Drury said of the penalty disparity. “Obviously we are thrilled with the two points.”
That the score was tied 1-1 after two periods of play was due, in large part, to the Rangers’ tremendous play on the specialty teams. After Jonathan Toews deflected a shot off the crossbar and just over the goal line for his 13th goal of the season to give Chicago a 1-0 advantage at 15:28 of the first, the Rangers’ penalty killers and power play set about to be the difference.
With 2:03 remaining in the opening period, both Rangers’ defensemen on the ice -- Marc Staal and Michal Rozsival -- were whistled for penalties, handing the Blackhawks a full two minutes worth of a 5-on-3 power play. With Lundqvist making four stellar saves, including a pair during a down-low scramble on Toews and Patrick Kane, and Paul Mara making a pair of clutch steals which led to important clears, the Rangers killed off the two-man disadvantage.
Handed their own 5-on-3 power play early in the second period, the Rangers cashed in to tie the game 1-1. Drury drove a slap shot from the left dot past Khabibulin for his first goal of the evening at 6:24 to pull the Rangers even, moments after chasing down his own blocked shot and accepting a soft pass from Rozsival.
To keep the match tied until the horn sounded ending the second period, the Rangers were forced to kill off four consecutive penalties called against them, leading to three more 5-on-3 power plays of varying length for Chicago.
Lundqvist was sensational in keeping the Blackhawks off of the scoreboard during the Rangers’ parade to the penalty box. Brian Campbell, James Wisnieweski, and Kane were among the ‘Hawks robbed by the Rangers’ netminder during second period power plays.
However, Lundqvist was not the only hero on the penalty kill for the Rangers. Mara was a consistent force, even winning a defensive zone faceoff when Blair Betts was tossed from the circle. Defenseman Dmitri Kalinin repeatedly blocked the passing and shooting lanes, and cleared several rebounds out of harm’s way. Rozsival had a huge block of a powerful Seabrook shot during the third 5-on-3 for Chicago. And Drury made one huge play after another, including several blocked shots and clutch clears.
“It’s tough to kill penalties like that; and to be shorthanded so much takes the flow away from the game,” said Redden. “But we stuck with it. (The officials) made the calls and we had to battle through it.”
Making the Rangers’ penalty kills in the middle stanza the more impressive was the fact that they were accomplished largely without the aid of defensemen Dan Girardi and Staal, who are regular members of the PK unit. Girardi, who did help kill the first period 5-on-3 and the first one in the second period, did not return to action after apparently hitting his head on the ice at the end of his fight with Cam Barker at 5:27 of the second. And Staal compounded his two-minute minor penalty at 12:51 by taking a ten-minute misconduct from the penalty box a minute later.
Despite the plethora of penalties on the night, the Rangers showed tremendous character in weathering the storm, shaking off Seabrook’s tying goal, and beating a quality opponent on the road in overtime.
“That was a pretty wild game,” said Drury. “All of those penalties we had to kill, and the 5-on-3s, then they tied it up late on one, and then we hang in there and win in overtime. It’s a big win for our team.”
The fact that their fathers were able to travel to Chicago as guests of the Rangers’ organization and were present to witness in person the club’s tremendous resolve tonight, only makes the 3-2 victory that more sweet.
|Jonathan Toews (13) ASST: Kris Versteeg (23), Brian Campbell (23)|
1 - 0 CHI
|PPG - Chris Drury (14) ASST: Michal Rozsival (15), Scott Gomez (22)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Brandon Dubinsky (7) ASST: Lauri Korpikoski (4), Nikolay Zherdev (26)|
2 - 1 NYR
|PPG - Brent Seabrook (5) ASST: Cam Barker (15), Jonathan Toews (23)|
2 - 2 Tie
|PPG - Chris Drury (15) ASST: Wade Redden (15), Michal Rozsival (16)|
3 - 2 NYR
|Paul Mara Hooking against Kris Versteeg|
|Michal Rozsival Tripping against Patrick Sharp|
|Marc Staal Holding against Patrick Kane|
|Brent Seabrook Tripping against Lauri Korpikoski|
|Cam Barker Fighting (maj) against Dan Girardi|
|Dan Girardi Fighting (maj) against Cam Barker|
|Cam Barker Misconduct (10 min) against Dan Girardi|
|Cam Barker Instigator against Dan Girardi|
|Blair Betts Slashing against Ben Eager|
|Marc Staal Slashing against Dustin Byfuglien|
|Wade Redden Interference against Jonathan Toews|
|Marc Staal Misconduct (10 min)|
|Ryan Callahan Hi-sticking against Patrick Kane|
|Aaron Johnson Holding against Brandon Dubinsky|
|Michal Rozsival Hooking against Kris Versteeg|
|Michal Rozsival Hi stick - double minor against Patrick Sharp|
|Ryan Callahan Slashing against Dustin Byfuglien|
|Brian Campbell Holding against Blair Betts|
|Andrew Ladd Slashing against Brandon Dubinsky|
|SA: 34||TOI: 62:23|
|Saves: 32||EV: 18 - 19|
|PIM: 0||PP: 14 - 15|
|SV%: .941||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 22||TOI: 62:15|
|Saves: 19||EV: 16 - 17|
|PIM: 0||PP: 3 - 5|
|SV%: .864||SH: 0 - 0|