Dealt a pair of Christmas gifts they didn’t particularly enjoy, a pair of defeats in which they gave up seven goals in each, the New York Rangers seemed destined for another when they fell behind 2-0 to the Ottawa Senators before many fans in Madison Square Garden had even found their seats.
But in their final home game of the calendar year of 2016, three wise men…Derek Stepan, Nick Holden, and Antti Raanta…came bearing gifts.
Stepan and Holden put in two goals each, while Raanta made 33 saves, and the Rangers came back from two multi-goal deficits to pull off a 4-3 win over the Senators on Tuesday night.
Having given up touchdowns to Pittsburgh and Minnesota in their previous two contests, the Rangers (24-12-1) surrendered a field goal in the first period. Defensemen Mark Borowiecki and Cody Ceci each scored their first goals of the season, sandwiching Zack Smith’s eighth score of the year. Nick Holden had briefly managed to cut the Ottawa lead to 2-1, but the Garden faithful braced itself for yet another long evening.
Derek Stepan had had enough.
Skyrocketing up the Ranger offensive stat categories over the past few games, Stepan, visibly frustrated when the Rangers went down 3-1, put in two second period goals to knot things up, the latter coming a mere five seconds into a power play. Stepan, now with nine goals on the season, has a four game points streak, tallying seven points over that span. Ottawa outshot the Rangers 14-10 in the period, but Raanta kept them off the board with some big saves.
In the third period, the Rangers failed to score on a power play, earned when Kyle
Turris was sent off for hooking, but seconds after it ended, Nick Holden squeaked another past Michael Condon, giving the Rangers their first lead of the game at 4-3. Raanta held off several Ottawa onslaughts, assisted by two power plays, and the Rangers ended their first pointless streak of the early before it got out of hand.
Following the win, the Rangers will embark on a brief Western road trip, beginning on Thursday night in Arizona. (9 PM, MSG)