Sidelined with a loss to a Western Canada opponent at Madison Square Garden in their previous game, the New York Rangers were determined to right their ship against another one from the region.
They did so and then some, topping the Calgary Flames 4-1 at the Scotiabank Saddledome, not only the first game of a back-to-back weekend set, but the first of a four game road trip, their first major venture of the season.
After being held to three on Tuesday night, the Rangers returned to the high scoring output they’ve displayed in the early stages of the season, getting off to a fast start as Michael Grabner scored his team-high eighth goal of the season, scoring with speed off a nice pass from Jesper Fast. Just over five minutes later, Derek Stepan put in his second goal of the year to double the lead at the end of the first.
Head coach Alain Vigneault’s shake-up of the lines paid off tremendously, as each of the newly structured four forward lines ended up getting a goal. The second period continued the trend, as Jimmy Vesey kept Grabner close in the scoring competition, scoring his first goal since November 1 off helpers from Ryan McDonagh and JT Miller, the latter of whom kept his team lead in points with 14, while McDonagh got his team-high 10th assist.
The scoring was capped off by Pavel Buchnevich, his fourth goal of the season. After
going scoreless for nearly the first dozen games of the season, the rookie Buchnevich has scored a goal in each of his last four games.
Henrik Lundqvist, after being pressed into service with zero warmup in Tuesday’s loss to Vancouver, was stellar in net, making 35 saves. The lone blemish came while the Rangers failed to kill a penalty, as Micheal Ferland scored Calgary’s first power play goal at home all season, but by then the damage was done, and the Rangers emerged victorious, 4-1.
The teams will complete their season series on February 5 at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers will look to start a new winning streak tonight, as they continue their road trip against the Edmonton Oilers (9:30, MSG)
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490