Rangers put the "power" back into their play
Supporting cast steps up on Broadway, lead Rangers to pivotal Game 3 win
The New York Rangers received scoring from their key secondary players and an unexpected boost from their previously feeble power play while fighting off a 6 on 4 Washington advantage in the waning moments to secure a thrilling 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals last night in front of over 19,000 Blue-sweatered Rangers faithful.
The first goal, a Power Play tally in every measure of the word but for chronology as the puck entered the net exactly as the power play clock blinked trip-zeroes thus stasticially qualifying as a goal of the even strength variety, was scored by last year's 1st Round hero Brian Boyle. As Boyle charged the net looking for all the world like a 6'7" albino locomotive, this goal would set the tone for the evening's festivities. From the initial drop of the puck, the desperate Blueshirts took on a shoot first, ask question later mentality spearheaded by newcomer John Moore, who consistently fired frozen rubber on the net from the point as he was no doubt instructed to do by Coach John Tortorella.
It was the aggressive play of Rick Nash that drew the penalty which led to another newcomer stepping up in the big spot, as trade deadline God-send Derek Brassard gave the Rangers their 2nd lead of the night off the Power Play, taking a feed from Mats Zucccarello just left of the right slot and finding nylon at the 1:23 mark of the 2nd period. The relentless and star-laden Caps answered Brassard's tally late in the 2nd however, as budding Ranger-killer Mike Green, 100% healthy for the first time in nearly 3 years, buried his 2nd goal of the series sending both teams to the locker room knotted at 2 after 2. Arron Asham and Jay Beagle, 2 unlikely lamp lighters, then traded goals in the 3rd setting the stage for future perennial All-Star Derek Stepan to score the biggest goal of his young career. With Ryan McDonagh sparking the play, Stepan took a feed from Rick Nash and Zuccarello, the Norwegian Hobbit's 2nd assist of the game, to bury the game winner.
As is always the case with this Ranger Team however, they had to close this one out the hard way as Brad Richards' high-sticking penalty on Alex Overchkin set the stage for Washington to pull their goalie and set up the infrequently seen 6 on 4 two man advantage for the final 1:54 of regulation. But as the Rangers scrambled to protect their one goal lead and the Caps seemed curiously intent on passing the puck around the perimeter, the horn finally sounded and the Rangers found a way to live to fight again.
Game 5 is slated for Wednesday Night in front of what is sure to be a rabid Madison Square Garden Crowd. If New York can continue to get the type of contributions they received last night from the likes of Brassard, Boyle, Zuccarello and Taylor Pyatt while Rich Nash continues to slowly ratchet up his impact, and bedrock blueshirters Ryan Callahan and Henrik Lundqvist continue to do what they do, this Series could very well be poised to go the full 7 games.