After falling to the Hurricanes on Thursday, the New York Rangers looked to bounce back against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs looked to extend their winning streak to five games against the lowly Rangers
The Rangers took no time to warm up as Mika Zibanejad scored 28 seconds into the game after pouncing on a loose puck. Mats Zuccarello and Chris Kreider were both credited with assists as the Ranger first line continued it’s hot streak. After a Brendan Smith penalty, Alexandar Georgiev stopped 13 shots on goal to preserve the lead. Play went back and forth until Anthony DeAngelo attempted a cross ice pass in the offensive zone which was intercepted by Kasperi Kapanen. Kapanen capitalized on the breakaway, going bar down on Georgiev. A minute later the Rangers took another penalty by the way of Kreider, but managed to kill it off. Seven seconds after the penalty ended, Ryan Strome moved the puck to Kreider who was streaking down the left side. Kreider passed across to Jimmy Vesey, who took the pass inside the right circle and buried it to give the Rangers the advantage. The Rangers carried this momentum through the period as they went on to dominate the next few shifts before going on the powerplay, but weren’t able to convert and the score held at two-to-one going into the intermission.
The second period started off back and forth before DeAngelo took a tripping penalty, followed by another penalty to Strome just 40 seconds after the Rangers killed the first one. Despite the man advantage, the Leafs couldn’t beat Georgiev as he celebrated his 23rd birthday with seven more saves throughout the penalty kills. Later in the period, Mitch Marner and Neal Pionk ran into each other. The Leafs took offense to this, which led to Zach Hyman and Neal Pionk dropping the gloves for a dull fight with few punches thrown.
In the third period, Vesey missed a golden opportunity as he rocketed a wrist shot from between the circles over the net after a brilliant pass from Boo Nieves. Then, with eight minutes left, the Rangers first line put together a great shift that held the puck in the Leafs zone for over a minute. After finally getting the puck, Muzzin failed to clear and Adam McQuaid capitalized with a wrist shot the top right corner. With 20 seconds left Kevin Hayes put the dagger into the Leafs as he scored unassisted on the empty net.
Overall, Georgiev and the Rangers first line were the reasons the Rangers came out with the win. Georgiev finished with 55 saves on 56 shots and the first line combined for five points as the Rangers pulled off the four-to-one victory. Zuccarello now has 17 points in his last 11 games, which puts the Rangers in a good position as they decide whether or not they want to move the veteran winger. The Rangers are next in action on tuesday as they head to Winnipeg to kick off a four game road trip.