Battling Blueshirts Defeat Atlanta 3-2 in a Sensational Shootout
New York, NY - The New York Rangers (28-19-3) defeated the Atlanta Thrashers (23-18-9) by the score of 3-2 in hockey action on Saturday night. As these two teams would battle for position in the Eastern Conference-Rangers currently in seventh place and Atlanta in eighth place
The Blueshirts who had to battle through much adversity to earn these two points, coming back twice in one game along with losing several core players throughout the night. In spite of those injuries it was a shootout goal by Mats Zuccarello on a 10 foot wrister that would give the Rangers the victory.
Atlanta struck for the first goal on a 12 foot wrister by Nik Antropov (eight), at the 6:47 mark of the first period. The center’s shot went through the legs of Blueshirts keeper Henrik Lundqvist to give the Thrashers the 1-0 lead. The Rangers would get a golden opportunity at the 8:22 mark as Matt Gilroy would try for a 48 foot slap shot, that would be denied by Thrashers keeper Ondrej Pavelec.
New York would continue their quest for the game-tying goal in the first period when Marc Staal had a great opportunity on a 34 foot wrister at the 14:14 mark that was denied by Pavelec. Atlanta had a golden opportunity on the power play towards the end of the first period, as Niclas Bergfors had a 33 foot wrister that was denied by Lundqvist.
The Thrashers would skate away with the slim 1-0 lead as the horn sounded to end the first period of play, even though the Blueshirts held the shots advantage by a tally of 11-10.
It would be a scary sight for New York fans as Brandon Prust seems gimpy after a first-period blocked shot. Thus far the winger would stay on the ice, but would seem slower then his normal speed. One would see the winger on and off the ice for the rest of the nights action, still fighting back the pain that Prust felt in his foot.
New York would finally strike for that first goal of the game when Wojtek Wolski (9) would cash in on a 11 foot wrister, that was set up by Derek Stephan (16) and Dan Girardi (20) at the 2:43 mark of that frame. The Blueshirts would try for the lead on a shot at the 5:39 mark by Marian Gaborik on a 52 foot slap shot, but that opportunity would be stuffed by Ondrej Pavelec.
Atlanta also had the game-tying goal at the 7:29 mark as Anthony Stewart tried for the 14 foot tip-in, but that should would hit the goalpost. Fans of the Blueshirts were faced with another scary moment when Andrew Ladd hit Marc Staal at the 7:55 mark, Staal would go flying head first into the boards. Then in a show of support Dan Girardi would go to fight Ladd, in a physical and bloody bout between the two players.
The Thrashers would regain the lead at the 18:01 mark of the second period when Stewart (12) netted a 13 foot wrister that was set up by Bryan Little (15) and Andrew Ladd, (23) giving Atlanta the 2-0 lead. New York would still hold the shots advantage by a tally of 22-19.
New York’s night would not get any easier as it was announced that Dan Girardi would not return to the game-no further information on the injury and when Girardi would be allowed to play again. New York would have a golden opportunity on the 5-on-3 midway through the final frame, but the Blueshirts would be denied by the play of Ondrej Pavelec.
Brian Boyle (17) would tie the game for the second time in the night on a pretty 14 foot wrister at the 14:41 mark, that would float past Pavelec to make the game 2-2. Boyle who was set up by Artem Anisimov (17) and Matt Gilroy (6) that gave the Blueshirts the offensive momentum that they needed.
The horn would sound to end the third period of play as the Rangers would limp into the overtime frame tied with the Thrashers 2-2. Neither team was able to find a hero in the overtime frame, as they would head to the shootout to decide the victor.
Atlanta would send out Bryan Little to attempt the first shot, but Lundqvist was up to the task making a save with his right elbow. New York would respond with Wojtek Wolski who would try to elevate a top shelf shot but Pavelec would stop the shot. Nik Antropov would try for a 16 foot snap shot that would be denied by Lundqvist.
The Blueshirts would then send out Norway sensation Mats Zuccarello, who made a great move and a sweet shot that would go past Pavelec for the 1-0 lead. It would all come down to Niclas Bergfors and Henrik Lundqvist, as the Swedish keeper would stop a 11 foot backhander for the 3-2 shootout victory.
Lundqvist would finish the night with 20 saves for the Rangers, while Pavelec would end the night with 29 saves in the cage for Atlanta.
New York looks to continue their battling ways towards a spot in the playoffs as they will have a day off to heal before heading to Washington, D.C. for a 7:30 p.m. face-off with the Capitals on Monday night.