It’s becoming a common theme now for the Rangers; blow a late lead, send the game to overtime, and fall in overtime. A Rangers late lead in the third period is almost bound to lead into a loss past regulation. While getting a point is much better than being blown out, these losses are so hard for Rangers fans to watch. And of course, Thursday night ended up being a familiar result for New York. The Ranger’s had a one goal lead until Columbus scored in the final minutes and then scored early in overtime to secure a 4-3 victory against the Blueshirts.
At 9:17 of the opening frame, Blue Jackets foward Oliver Bjorkstrand scored to give Columbus the lead off a rising wrist shot. The play was set up by Boone Jenner who nailed a wide open pass to Bjorkstrand for the easy goal. At the 13:59 mark, the momentum shifted on the Rangers’ first agressive offensive push of the contest. Vladislav Namestnikov took the puck away in the Rangers zone and sauced the puck to Kevin Hayes who made a lovely pass to Jimmy Vesey who fired the puck into the net. Vesey is on pace to score a career high in goals and points. Also, Kevin Hayes’ assist extended his career high point scoring streak to eight games. Two minutes later, though, the Rangers gave the lead right back to Columbus when defenseman David Savard scored a goal that Lundqvist should have stopped. The puck slowly trickled into the back of the far side. The Rangers luckily escaped the period with the Blue Jackets having a 6-5 shot advantage.
In the second period, the Rangers got on the board quickly. At 1:38, Hayes passed the puck over to Zuccarello who took the shot and Chris Kreider deflected it past the Columbus netminder. There would be no more scoring the rest of the second period but Hank made some nice saves to keep the game close. The period ended with a 12-11 shot advantage for Columbus and the game tied at two.
Throughout the third, it was clear that neither team wanted to make a mistake in the third period as it was one of the most conservative periods that either team has played this season. There were very few opportunities for both team Early in the period, Brendan Smith was called for hooking. Lundqvist made some great saves in the period which was highlighted by a beautiful pad save on Cam Atkinson. The penalty kill clearly had an effect on the team and the Garden crowd and the Rangers controlled play when a dynamic rush by Brady Skjei led to Kreider’s second goal of the game. With about four minutes left, the Rangers thought they had a two goal lead when they scored what they thought was their fourth goal. Vlad Namestnikov made a beautiful pass to Ryan Strome, streaking to the net, who put the puck past Korpisalo, it was called offside. the disallowment would end up being key in the final result. With 2:20 left in the game, Jimmy Vesey had a chance to exit the Rangers’ zone, but the puck went all the way down the ice and that created an icing. After the faceoff, the Blue Jackets tied the score on a slapshot by Zach Werenski that hit Marc Staal on the way in and deflected past Lundqvist.
Only 32 seconds into the overtime period, Jackets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois converted on a breakaway sealed the deal for Columbus. Dubois skated past Kevin Hayes at center ice and drove hard to the net and. Lundqvist got a piece, but it bounced over his right arm and into the net as the Jackets stole the victory. In the Rangers league leading 13th overtime matchup, they once again fell for the seventh time in games that have gone past regulation.
The Blueshirts will look to bounce back against an injury riddled Predators on Friday night. In addition, that game will begin a six game road trip. Quinn’s crew will need to be sharp if they expect to get back into playoff contention.