t was a game of grit, heart and back-and-forth action but it was the New York Rangers (43-18-7) topped the New York Islanders (28-32-9) in a 4-3 overtime thriller, in the conclusion of the Battle of the Big Apple. The Blueshirts showed heart throughout the night, coming back from three different leads to gain vital points in the victory.
First star of the night Brad Richards (two goals, one assist) etched his name in Blueshirts lore with his performance tonight, including a pretty coast-to-coast power play goal in the first period. Madison Square Garden has been home to some epic battles, and this one was no different as the offenses for both teams had solid jabs during the course of the night.
John Tavares showed why he has earned his place amongst the stars, as the Islanders center as well as the second star of the game finished the night with one goal, one assists and led all players with four shots.
The Isles received offensive contributions from Matt Moulson (29) and Andrew MacDonald (5) that gave the guys in Orange and Blue the edge in round two. In round three the Rangers answered with heavyweight Brian Boyle (6) whose tip-in shot at the 3:29 mark sent the squads into overtime.
In the overtime frame, one could tell that teams were throwing body shots, until the vision of Richards and his threat on the offensive end of the puck drew enough guys in Orange and Blue to leave a wide open Marian Gaborik (33) who was able to sniper home the game-winning goal.
Richards has been showing tremendous play-making abilities setting-up key goals during the road stretch, this will be the one key for the Blueshirts for success in the post season…as Richards can be a game-changer in the Rangers playoffs run.
This game is just the lift the guys in Red, White and Blue needed as the week ahead will feature a six-game homestand at Madison Square Garden against teams who are hungry to knock the Blueshirts off their perch atop the NHL.
The Rangers will continue the homestand on Tuesday with a MSG televised game against the Carolina Hurricanes with face-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Written on March 12, 2012