Rangers snag thrilling comeback shootout win over Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The third win was proving the hardest. But the Blueshirts finally got there.

The Rangers finally managed to pick up three straight victories when a late comeback resulted in a 4-3 shootout win over the Wild on Thursday night.

After Mika Zibanejad had tied the game, 3-3, with goalie Alexandar Georgiev on the bench for the extra attacker and 66 seconds left in regulation, the Rangers got tallies from Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin in the skills competition to seal the win.

The Rangers (29-23-4) had started this three-game trip with a 4-1 win in Winnipeg on Tuesday night, their second straight win to make them 5-2-0 in their previous seven. But they still had not won three in a row since Thanksgiving, while Mats Zuccarello and the Wild (27-23-7) came in having won seven of their past 10, getting them back into playoff contention in the West.

“They’ve been good for a while now,” Rangers coach David Quinn said Thursday morning, “so it’s going to be a challenge, like it is every night in this league.”

The challenges have been easier to handle when Igor Shesterkin starts in nets, as Quinn declared the rookie the club’s No. 1 goalie right now. But Shesterkin was nursing a little ankle injury suffered on Tuesday — which was his sixth win in seven career NHL starts — so Georgiev got the nod, but couldn’t keep his team from going into the third period down, 3-1.

The Rangers had a great chance to claw back when they got the game’s first power play early in the third, but they didn’t even get a shot off against the league’s worst penalty kill. Yet they did get that goal when a Tony DeAngelo pass bounced in off the skate of Mikko Koivu, cutting their deficit to 3-2 with 8:09 left in regulation.

Then with Georgiev on the bench to make it six-on-five, Zibanejad was able to redirect a hard pass from Artemi Panarin, sneaking by the outstretched leg of goalie Alex Stalock to tie it and send the game to overtime.

It had not started well for Georgiev, as he was beaten on a Ryan Donato backhand that went through the legs of defenseman Brady Skjei at 9:49 of the first period, giving Minnesota a 1-0 lead. But the Rangers came right back, tying it just over two minutes later when DeAngelo made a slick cross-ice pass to Panarin, who buried his 29th of the season behind Stalock.

But the tie didn’t last all that long, as Jonas Brodin teed one up from the slot and beat Georgiev high at 16:43 of the first to make it 2-1 — maybe with the assistance of some contact from Marcus Foligno in front. It then seemed like the Wild were going to take a two-goal lead midway through the second when Matt Dumba got one to go, but Quinn challenged for goalie interference on Ryan Hartman, and the goal was overturned.

Yet that two-goal cushion did come when a deft tip from Jordan Greenway in front went in with 2:07 left in the second period, allowing Minnesota to take a 3-1 lead into the third.

Source: Read Full Article