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Stepan, Hank Drop Bluejackets 4-3 in OT

The Rangers have also recorded at least 25 wins at home and on the road for the first time in franchise history.

(Andy Marlin/USA Today)

(Andy Marlin/USA Today)

 

Before the Game with the Columbus Blue Jackets began, the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award needed to be presented by Lenox Hill Hospital to the NY Ranger, who voted on by the fans “goes above and beyond the call of duty”. This award has been presented annually since the 1987-88 season and bears the name of NYC Police officer Steven McDonald who was shot and injured in the line of duty on July 12th, 1986.

The winner for the 2014-15 season was Cam Talbot, who took over the goaltending chores when Henrik Lundqvist was out with a vascular injury. During that time: February 4th to March 26th: Cam was 16-4-3 with a GAA of 2.16, a SV% of .929 and 2 SO. Overall this season, Talbot is 20-9-4 with a GAA of 2.21, a SV% of .926 and 5 SO in 35 appearances.

Cam joins John Vanbiesbrouck and Henrik Lundqvist as the only Ranger goalies to win this award.

The Rangers were looking to win their 25th game at Madison Square Garden this season and for a while it looked very doubtful. The Columbus Blue Jackets had come back twice to tie the game after the Rangers took a 1-0 and 2-1 leads. Then the Blue Jackets scored the go-ahead goal, when former Ranger Brandon Dubinsky scored midway through the third period.

Goals by Marty St. Louis and Dan Girardi were countered when Matt Calvert and Marko Dano scored for Columbus. But now as the game was winding down, the Blueshirts were getting fired up. Some teams get desperate at these moments, but the Rangers just turn it up a few notches.

Alain Vigneault decided to pull Henrik Lundqvist for an extra skater with just over a minute left and it almost paid dividends right away, as Dan Girardi was open in front of the Blue Jacket’s net, but could not lift the puck over Sergei Bobrovsky. The refs then did not help when they blew the whistle while the puck was still loose. But they do that a lot on the Rangers.

But the Rangers kept on coming. Keith Yandle sent the puck into the Columbus zone, where J.T. Miller fed Chris Kreider, who stopped the puck with his chest and fed Derek Stepan with a sick pass, and Steps zipped it past Bobrovsky to tie the game with 28 seconds left on the clock.

The Garden was rocking as Steps scored and the clock ran out and OT began.

In the OT, both teams had amble chances to win it, but Lundqvist and Bobrovsky kept the puck out of the net. Artem Anisimov found himself in front of a prone Lundqvist and started to shoot, replays show that Chris Kreider may have been able to get his stick on Anisimov’s, but whatever did happen, the puck flew harmlessly over the net and into the screen. This was a lucky break for the Blueshirts, and they soon capitalized on it.

With under a minute left in the OT, the Rangers brought the puck into the Columbus zone and a pass from Keith Yandle found Derek Stepan, who brought the puck from his back hand to his forehand and waited. He out waited Bobrovsky and his snap shot beat the Blue Jacket goalie for a Ranger win.

That goal, along with his game tying goal made Steps the first Ranger to score a goal with less than a minute remaining in regulation and then score the game winner in OT. What a night for Derek Stepan.

 

Scoring:

NYR: Marty St. Louis (21) Assisted by Kevin Hayes

CBJ: Matt Calvert (12) Assisted by Jeremy Morin

NYR: Dan Girardi (4) Assisted by Derek Stepan & Chris Kreider

CBJ: Marko Dano (8) Assisted by Artem Anisimov & Alexander Wennberg

CBJ: Brandon Dubinsky (12) Assisted by Nick Foligno & Cody Goloubef

NYR: Derek Stepan (15) Assisted by Chris Kreider & J. T. Miller

NYR: OT Winner: Derek Stepan (16) Assisted by Keith Yandle

 

Team Stats                              CBJ                               NYR

Shots on Goal                         32                                  42

Power Play                              0 for 3                           0 for 3

Hits                                         21                                  20

Face Off Wins                        25                                  39

Giveaways                              8                                    15

Takeaways                             5                                    13

Blocked Shots                         17                                  15

 

Goalie Stats:

Sergei Bobrovsky: 38 Saves on 42 Shots for a SV% of .905

Henrik Lundqvist: 29 Saves on 32 Shots for a SV% of .906

 

3 Stars of the Game:

3rd Star: Chris Kreider: 2 Assists

2nd Star: Henrik Lundqvist: 29 Saves on 32 Shots for a SV% of .906

1st Star: Derek Stepan: 1 Assist and 2 Goals (Game Tying and Game Winning Goals)

 

Broadway Bits:

The Rangers began this game tied for fifth in the NHL on the Penalty Kill. They are 192 out of 227 for 84.6%

The Rangers won their 51st game of the season and gained their 109th points for the season. Both of these are the second highest total in Ranger history

They have won 51 games in the 2011-12 season and have reached 109 points in the 1970-71, 1971-72 and 2011-12 seasons.

The Broadway Blueshirts are but one point away from clinching the Eastern Conference and but two points away from clinching the President’s Trophy which will give them the best record in the NHL and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs

The Rangers have also recorded at least 25 wins at home and on the road for the first time in franchise history.

The Rangers have a four game winning streak

The Rangers killed off three Columbus Power Plays in the game

The Rangers won 39 out of 65 Face Offs in the game. That is 60%

Derek Stepan had an assist, registered 14 Face Off wins (14 for 20 for 70%), six shots on goal, posted a plus 2 rating and scored the game tying goal with 27.5 seconds left in the game and the game winner in OT in 18:20 of ice time

Chris Kreider had two assists, three shots on goal and a plus 3 rating in 17:41 of ice time

Marty St. Louis scored a goal, had three shots on goal and two takeaways in 18:33 of ice time

Dan Girardi scored a goal, had three blocks and two shots on goal in 22:11 of ice time

Kevin Hayes had an assist, won four of seven Face Offs (57%) and two shots on goal in 15:12 of ice time

Keith Yandle had an assist on the game winning goal, had five shots on goal and posted a plus 2 rating in a team high 25:55 of ice time

Rick Nash had four shots on goal now has 301 shots on goal on the season. It is the eighth time a player has 300 shots on goal in a season since 1967-68

The Rangers now have three games left in the season. They will travel to NJ to face off against the Devils on Tuesday April 7th. Then they meet the Ottawa Senators on Thursday April 9th in the final regular season game at MSG. Then they will finish the regular season in Washington on Saturday April 11th against the Caps.

In those last three games, the Blueshirts need but one point to clinch the Eastern Conference and just two to clinch the President’s Trophy and home ice throughout the playoffs.

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