During his tenure with the New York Rangers, current Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella was constantly stymied by lack of scoring on the power play.
Ironic, then, that the Rangers should beat him with a barrage of power play goals.
The Rangers scored three power play goals in the third period, including a winner by Pavel Buchnevich, and they wiped out a 2-0 deficit to take a 5-3 victory from the Jackets at Madison Square Garden on Monday night. It’s the Rangers’ fourth consecutive win, and eighth game in their past 10 they’ve accumulated at least one point.
It appeared to be a night of heartbreak for the Rangers (7-7-2) in the early going. Despite outshooting Columbus 10-4 in the first period, the first 20 minutes featured no goals, as some key saves by Sergei Bobrovsky kept the game score less. The Jackets (9-5-1) gave their goalie some support in the early stages of the second period, as Artemi Panarin scored his second of the season, both of which have against the Rangers. With that goal coming 38 seconds in, the Jackets capitalized again when Josh Anderson scored his sixth of the year just under four minutes later.
The Rangers, however, began to turn the tide shortly after, getting more pressure on Bobrovsky. They finally broke though with just under eight minutes to go, as Michael Grabner took a pass from JT Miller, who earned an assist from his knees, helping cut the deficit in half. While Bobrovsky withstood some strong New York chances afterwards, it was clear the tide was starting to turn.
When Panarin went to the box for high-sticking Ryan McDonagh, the Rangers took advantage when Kevin Shattenkirk put in his fifth goal of the year. The Blue Jackets took the lead back thanks to Oliver Bjorkstrand, but another Columbus penalty, this one for Zac Dalpe elbowing Steven Kampfer, put the Rangers back in business. Just three seconds into this man advantage, Chris Kreider put in a Pavel Buchnevich rebound to retie the game. One more penalty, David Savard’s trip of Grabner, gave the Rangers the winner, as Buchnevich put in the winner, this one coming 12 seconds into the extra man session.
The Rangers went on to withstand a Columbus rush, assisted by some key Henrik Lundqvist saves, and got to exhale when Grabner moved the puck out of the Columbus zone with an extra man on, getting to the empty net for the win.
Mika Zibanejad, the Rangers’ leading scorer, took home first star honors with three assists in the win. He was one of four Rangers to record multiple points, along side Grabner’s two goals, and a goal and assist each for Shattenkirk and Buchnevich.
Prior to the game, the Rangers held a special ceremony for Rick Nash, who recently partook in his 1,000th career NHL game. Nash was joined by his family on the ice before the game and presented with several gifts by his teammates, as well as Columbus President of Hockey Operations (and ex-Rangers goaltender) John Davidson. Nash spent the first nine seasons of his NHL career with the Blue Jackets, as he was drafted first overall by the team in 2002. He was traded to the Rangers in 2012.
The Rangers will go for their fifth consecutive win on Wednesday night, taking part in the nationally televised Wednesday Night Rivalry game against the Boston Bruins (8:00 PM, NBCSN).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490