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Rangers Win Game 5 In OT, Can Now Clinch Series At Home
- Updated: April 21, 2017
It was not easy, but the New York Rangers dug deep and stole another game in Montreal. This time it was Mika Zibanejad beating Carey Price 14:22 into overtime to give the Rangers a 3-2 victory. Now, with a 3-2 series lead, the Rangers will have a chance to close it out on home ice.
This game was as physical and dirty as they come. There was a lot of hitting, a combined 100 to be exact, and plenty of extracurricular activities. The referees seemed to let just about everything go. It was a tale of halves for the Rangers. After Mats Zuccarello missed a wide open net in the first minute of the game, Montreal took control for the next 40 minutes, imposing their physical play on the Rangers. There were numerous pileups on or around Lundqvist, one of which leading to Brendan Smith fighting Andrew Shaw.
Although the Canadiens didn’t see any results from their initial surge, Marc Staal helped them out and pretty much handed them a goal. Staal made the boneheaded play of the day and luckily it didn’t cost his team in the end. After retrieving a puck in the defensive zone, Staal decided to skate backward around the net, despite a clear path ahead of him. He ultimately lost the puck and then got left in the dust as rookie Artturi Lehkonen stuffed a wraparound attempt past Lundqvist to give the Canadiens a 1-0 lead. Not his finest moment to say the least.
Jesper Fast tied the game at one just minutes later on a beautiful short-handed goal. The Rangers now have more short-handed goals than power play goals this series. However, the tie lasted only 24 seconds, as later on the same penalty Brendan Gallagher sniped one past Lundqvist.
The Rangers opened period two, taking two straight penalties. The four-minute penalty kill gave them some momentum to stay in the game. Then, with under two minutes remaining, Brady Skjei buried a rebound tie it at two. The shot came on another strong play from Nash who continues to be the Blueshirts best forward this postseason.
After a scoreless third, the Rangers came out flying in overtime and had several great opportunities to end the game. Kreider had a golden opportunity to put one in but whiffed. However, he did set up Mika Zibanejad for the game winner. It was Kreider’s first point of the series, as he has been largely invisible so far. “I just tried to whack it, and when I saw it go in, I just blacked out,” said Zibanejad of his winning goal. “I can’t remember much after that”. Zibanjed has bounced back nicely, after receiving plenty of criticism early on in the series. Most notably for his lackadaisical effort on Montreal’s OT winner in Game 2. He also assisted on Fast’s SH goal with a gorgeous pass.
The Rangers will have a chance to win a series at MSG for the first time since Derek Stepan’s Game 7 OT winner versus the Capitals in 2015. After playing their strongest game of the series at home in Game 4, and grinding out another road win, they should feel good heading into Saturday night’s Game 6. As Lundqvist said after the victory, “Just enjoy this tonight, and then focus on the next game, [play] like it’s the last game you’ll ever play. You need to put in everything you’ve got in every game. And I think the last two games, we’ve done that.”
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