After a lackluster first two periods, the New York Rangers came out with more intensity in the third and got a needed win.
Kevin Hayes scored on a short-handed breakaway with 40 seconds remaining and the Rangers rallied with three goals in the third period to beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 Tuesday night.
“Hopefully this win can kind of springboard us into some Ws,” said Hayes, who extended his point streak to five games. “We’re trying to get better every day and I thought tonight was pretty flat the whole game from both teams, and then it was an exciting third.”
Vladislav Namestnikov had a goal and two assists, and Filip Chytil added an empty-netter for New York. Alexandar Georgiev, called up on Sunday after a stint in the minors, stopped 14 shots to help the Rangers win for the second time in eight games (2-3-3).
“We haven’t felt great about ourselves for a while,” New York coach David Quinn said. “Tonight was a feel-good moment for us. …. To be able to overcome the first two periods and play with the purpose and the pace that we did and a little bit of an edge to our game, it’s a testament to our guys.”
Trailing 1-0 after two periods, the Rangers came out aggressive in the third period and outshot the Ducks 14-1 over the final 20 minutes. After falling short on several chances in the first half of the period, the Rangers broke through near the midpoint.
Brett Howden brought the puck along the boards on the left side, skated toward the corner and sent a centering pass to Namestnikov, who cut between two Anaheim players and beat Johnson from the left side for his fourth at 9:52.
With Chytil in the penalty box for interference on Johnson — a call Quinn disagreed with — Hayes skated up the left side in the final minute of regulation, cut in and fired a shot that the goalie got a piece of, but the puck got through and across the goal line for his ninth. It gave Hayes four goals and 10 points in the last five games.
“I thought it was justice that we got a short-handed goal and I’ll leave it at that,” Quinn said.
Chytil then came out of the box and scored into an empty net with 19 seconds remaining to seal the win and help the Rangers avoid their fifth overtime game in the last six.
Pontus Aberg scored on a deflection for the Ducks, who had won nine of their previous 10 games. Chad Johnson, claimed off waivers from St. Louis on Dec. 11, finished with 21 saves in his Anaheim debut.
“We stopped playing in the third, and they came with a push,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “We get kind of a break to get a power play and they score the goal. We set something up and didn’t execute it and next thing we know the puck’s in our net.”
The Rangers finished 0 for 3 on the power play, and the Ducks were 0 for 5.
Georgiev was sharp after his two-week stint with Hartford of the AHL to get more playing time.
“I felt pretty good,” he said. “It’s a bit easier to play when you’re in that rhythm. I got five games there in the two weeks, so it was easier to come back and be sharp.”
Neither team could muster many chances through the first two periods, with Anaheim holding a 14-10 edge on shots on goal.
Anaheim got on the scoreboard with 5:51 left in the middle period as Aberg’s centering pass from behind goal line went off Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad’s skate and past Georgiev for his 11th of the season.
The Ducks had a chance to double the lead as Getzlaf passed the puck off his skate to Ondrej Kase cutting to the net, but Georgiev made a nice glove save to his left with just under four minutes remaining in the middle period.
Keifer Sherwood hit a goalpost for the Ducks 3:13 into the game, and Nieves did the same a little more than seven minutes in.
NOTES: Johnson was 2-6-0 with 3.54 GAA in 10 games for the Blues this season. … Getzlaf had an assist on Aberg’s goal, giving him six assists and seven points in the last five games. … Anaheim snapped a six-game road winning streak, falling one short of matching the franchise record set Nov 28 to Dec. 13, 2006. … The Rangers won for the eighth time in the teams’ last 10 meetings, including 3-2 in a shootout at Anaheim on Nov. 1. … Georgiev was making his first appearance for the Rangers since finishing with 36 saves in a 5-2 loss at Montreal on Dec. 1.
Ducks: At Boston on Thursday night in the fourth of a five-game eastern trip.
Rangers: At Toronto on Saturday night.
Source: The Associated Press