Rangers rally past Devils to extend point streak to 11 games
The Devils have spent a majority of their season clawing for wins in the third period, but the final 20 minutes of their playoff rematch belonged to the Rangers.
Jimmy Vesey scored his second goal of the night with 2:49 left in regulation before Blake Wheeler tallied an empty-netter to secure a 5-3 win over the Devils on Saturday night at Prudential Center.
The victory extended the Blueshirts’ point streak to 11 games.
The common denominator of the Rangers’ success this season is not a stylistic change or a certain aspect of their game.
His name is Artemi Panarin.
Panarin jump-started the Rangers’ three-goal third period with his second goal of the night, a crucial game-tying score off a quick shot on a loose puck that trickled out of the faceoff dot, to knot the game at three-all.
The Rangers and Devils traded goals in a neck-and-neck opening period, in which the home team, already down a forward and skating with an extra defenseman, lost winger Tomas Nosek after a big hit from Jacob Trouba.
There was a healthy dose of bumps and bruises exchanged throughout the contest in the aftermath of the first-round playoff series between the two teams last season.
Entering Saturday’s contest, the Devils were the only team in the NHL with a better power play than the Rangers.
Both clubs managed to capitalize at least once with the man-advantage, but the Rangers whiffed on a big power-play opportunity in the third period.
Panarin scored his second power-play goal of the season after a strong passing sequence from the Rangers’ top man-advantage unit, which opened the scoring in the first period.
The Devils, however, tied it up on a bizarre play just 48 seconds later.
Jack Hughes’ turnaround shot trickled through Shesterkin and in, but the refs whistled the play dead and waived the goal off.
Upon review, the refs ruled they blew the whistle too soon and that it was a good goal.
Officiating hasn’t swung in the Rangers’ favor lately.
They’ve found themselves on the wrong end of a lot of calls, especially as it pertains to good goals and disallowed goals.
Hughes’ no-goal-turned-goal in the first 20 minutes Saturday night was just the first questionable sequence.
In the second period, Michael McLeod landed a high hit on Ryan Lindgren that the referees initially called a five-minute major.
By whistling for a major, it gave the officials an opportunity to review the call and, if need be, change it.
Upon review, once again, the Rangers listened to the call swing in their opponents’ favor when it was determined there was no infraction at all.