The Rangers snapped their 6 game losing streak Saturday night in a 4-2 defeat of the injury-plagued New Jersey Devils. For the second time this season, the Devils got out to a 2-0 lead, but the Rangers came back from behind to steal two points. Ryan Strome tallied two goals on the night to continue his great play. Since acquired from the Oilers, Strome has the third most goals (11) for the Blueshirts, trailing only Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider. In addition, rookie defenseman Libor Hajek recorded his first career NHL goal but would unfortunatley have to leave the game with a separated shoulder just minutes after (He is expected to miss the remainder of the season). After tonight’s victory, the Blueshirts will like to continue on this win in the last 14 games of the season.
The first period wasn’t a disaster by any means for the Blueshirts but the scoreboard was definitely not appealing when the buzzer sounded. Although the period was even with the shots on goal being nearly the same, the Devils managed to find the back of the net twice in the final five minutes. At 16:26, Damon Severson let go a big slap shot from just inside the blue line which somehow found its way through a maze of bodies and past a clueless Henrik Lundqvist. Then, with 11 seconds to go, Will Butcher ripped a slap shot from the point and Blake Coleman redirected the puck through the wickets of Lundqvist as the Devils took a 2-0 lead heading into the intermission.
The Blueshirts did everything right in the second period in which they outshot Jersey 14-2. It would take over 18 minutes, but New York finally found a way to conquer Devils’ netminder Corey Schneider. Kevin Shattenkirk sent a fly-by shot towards the goal that Ryan Strome was able to get just a piece of to elude Schneider and bring the Rangers back within one heading into the third.
All of the Blueshirts hard work paid off as they lit the lamp three times in the third frame. Only 1:29 in, Libor Hajek finally tallied his first as a Blueshirt. The 21-year-old Czech defenseman delivered a blistering wrist shot from inside the circle that rang off the crossbar and across the goal line to tie the game at 2. Hajek has really seemed to find a spark in the big leagues and has really impressed everybody in and out of the organization. It was certainly a tough blow to see him have to leave the ice shortly after with a shoulder injury. Although without the rising star on the ice, David Quinn’s crew would break the ice. With a little under seven minutes remaining, the Rangers completed the comeback as Vlad Namestnikov picked up his tenth goal of the season and ninth point in his past 12 games with a wicked one-timer from the high slot. Ryan Strome sealed the deal late with an empty net goal for his second of the game. On that goal, Zibanejad recorded his 300th career NHL point.
The Blueshirts will look for their second straight win Monday night in Edmenton to start a 6 game road trip.