Magical Mats Strikes Again in Rangers 3-2 shootout victory over Stars
New York, NY - The New York Rangers (24-15-3) are quickly becoming the comeback kings of the NHL and Friday night’s 3-2 shootout victory over the Dallas Stars (24-13-5) only helping to enhance that nickname. Rookie Mats Zuccarello was able to tally his second game-winning goal to lead the Blueshirts to the victory.
Zuccarello who has been the boost the Rangers needed since his debut against the Tampa Bay Lightning in December. The winger has brought a new level of creativity and energy since joining the team, and now he has brought them two huge victories. The Norway native was able to propel the Rangers to the 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night, on an overtime goal for the two points.
On this night Zuccarello was able to make a sweet move in the shootout frame against the Stars, and was able to net a wicked wrister past Dallas keeper Kari Lehtonen, for two huge points for the Blueshirts.
The shootout winner would not have been possible for the Rangers without another comeback, blue collar effort from the rest of the team, along with keeper Henrik Lundqvist.
It was not the start that the Rangers would have wanted giving up the first Dallas goal at the 7:55 mark of the first period of play. A turnover in the Blueshirts zone was able to find the stick of Brian Sutherby (2), who was able to tally a 17 foot writer which was set up by Brandon Segal (5) and Krys Barch (1).
New York was able to rally on a Ruslan Fedotenko (eight) 29 foot shorthanded wrister at the 2:49 mark of the second period of play to tie the game up at 1-1. The Rangers continue to perform well in special team situations, leading the league in short handed goals with nine so far this season.
Dallas was able to take the lead in that frame on a power play opportunity, with the Stars cashing in on the penalty to Rangers Steve Eminger who was sent to the sin bin at the 8:26 mark for tripping Jamie Benn. The Stars were able to put a dazzling display of quick passing and shots until the puck found Mike Ribeiro (9), who tallied a six foot wrister for the 2-1 lead.
Much like they have all season the never-say-die Rangers were able to tie the game up in the third period of play. It happened at the 8:04 mark when Artem Anisimov (10) ripped a 38 foot wrister, which was assisted by Marc Staal (11) and Henrik Lundqvist (1), and making the score 2-2.
In spite of many good opportunities both squads in the overtime frame, they would need the shootout to decide the victor. Dallas would begin that frame with Jamie Benn, who was able to get the shot off, but not with the authority he would have liked. Thankfully for the Blueshirts fans keeper Henrik Lundqvist who was stellar all night long, still kept the puck out of the cage.
The Rangers answered back with Derek Stephan who made several nice fakes and a nice wrist shot, but his shot was denied by Dallas keeper Kari Lehtonen. Brad Richards would then make his best move for Dallas in the shootout, but his shot would just hit the high crossbar.
This would then set the stage for magical Mats Zuccarello who was able to do some pretty stick handling before stopping in mid motion in front of the cage and quickly sliding the puck past Lehtonen to give the Rangers the lead. The last hope for the Stars would rest on the stick of Mike Ribeiro, but his backhanded shot was denied by Lundqvist, giving the exuberant Blueshirt squad the 3-2 shootout victory.
Lundqvist would finish the night with 28 saves, along with being named the second star of the game, while Lehtonen was the third star of the game finishing with 29 saves.
New York looks to finish up this quick road trip on a strong note as they now head to St. Louis for a 8:00 p.m. Saturday night face-off against the Blues.