Stepan Plays Hero Twice as Rangers Defeat Blue Jackets

The Rangers (51-21-7) defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets in overtime by a score of 4-3.  For the scoring report, see the image below courtesy of Henrik Lundqvist made 29 saves, the Rangers took 42 shots on goal.

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-First off, before the game Cam Talbot was presented with the Steven McDonald extra effort award.  Congrats to him on the honor.  Officer McDonald offered his some motivational thoughts to the team as he normally does, as well as making sure to note how a former award recipient (Dubinsky) was on the ice tonight as well.

-The Rangers got off to a pretty quick start tonight, Kevin Hayes pretty much whiffed on a shot but it slid right to St. Louis who fired it past Bobrovsky for his first goal since returning from injury.  The Rangers took two penalties which they killed off pretty easily, but Columbus was very aggressive and with about 3 minutes left in the first Calvert forced a turnover and then put it in after a nice pass by Morin.

-Just 36 seconds into the second period JT Miller started a play in the corner, getting the puck to Kreider who gave it to Stepan who gave it to Girardi in front.  Girardi fired a quick shot past Bobrovsky to give the Rangers the lead once again.  The Rangers then got two powerplays, and looked pretty good when they had the puck in the zone, but struggled with zone entries after Columbus cleared it.  Columbus finished the period strong again, as Wennberg got the puck to Anisimov in the slot who had way too much time and space.  His shot was stopped by Lundqvist, but Dano was there to tap in the rebound.

-The third period was pretty even, eventually Dubinsky scored after a nice rush up the ice by Foglino.  Columbus then got a powerplay and the Rangers appeared to be in some trouble.  With about 2:30 remaining the Rangers really pushed the pace.  Girardi ended up with a great chance in front but Bobrovsky made a fantastic save to rob him.  The Rangers took a timeout, regrouped, and eventually they made some nice passes and Stepan scored from the side of the net.

-The game went on to overtime where both teams traded chances early.  Both goalies played well.  With less than a minute to go, Stepan forced a turnover along the boards and threw it back to Yandle.  Yandle took a shot that Bobrovsky blocked, but the rebound bounced out into the slot.  Kreider tied up the defender’s stick which allowed Stepan to pick up the loose puck and score through the five-hole to secure the victory.

-Lundqvist looked really good tonight.  He made two strong breakaway saves, and a couple others on great chances in front.  He earned his 29th win on the year.  It will be interesting to see how AV decides to use his goalies in the remaining three games, but we do know Talbot will start tomorrow.

-The Kreider-Stepan-Miller line was the Rangers best line tonight.  They were able to possess the puck in the zone, and were on the ice for three goals.  It has been really nice to see Miller playing so well, and it seems he has earned the trust of the coaching staff.

-This win gives the Rangers 109 points.  This is tied for their second most in franchise history and matches the amount they had in 2011-12.  They need just 1 point to clinch the east, and 2 to clinch the president’s trophy.

-Next Game

The Rangers are right back at it tomorrow.  They head across the Hudson to face the Devils at 7pm.


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