The New York Jets scored a mere six points in their loss on Sunday to the Los Angeles Rams. On Tuesday night, while most of the Tri-State area slept, the New York Rangers out scored their football counterparts, defeating the Vancouver Canucks 7-2, their third win a row, properly avenging their last loss, which came a week ago against the same Canucks.
Perhaps weary from the Western Canada trip, the Rangers (13-4-0) were badly outplayed in the opening period, allowing Vancouver to put up 17 shots…however, each was blocked by Henrik Lundqvist, who was forced into service during last week’s Canuck game, part of vintage Lundqvist evening in which he made 36 saves. The Rangers were able to end the first frame with a lead thanks to a goal by team points leader JT Miller.
The Rangers doubled their lead in the second period, as Kevin Hayes returned to the score sheet for his seventh of the season. Exactly five and a half minutes later, Brandon Pirri scored on a power to put the Rangers up 3-0, scored while Luca Sbisa served two minutes for slashing.
Vancouver was able to add a goal before the middle frame let out, as Brandon Sutter scored his third, but the rout was back on in the opening stages of the third. Within the period’s first three minutes, Hayes and Miller each scored their second of the evening 42 seconds apart to make it 5-1. Markus Granlund softened the blow temporarily for Vancouver (6-10-1), but Mats Zuccarello and Nick Holden, the former of whom led the teams with a three point evening, were able to cap the scoring off, giving the Rangers their touchdown and extra point.
In addition to Zuccarello, Hayes and Miller, Holden, as well as Jesper Fast, Mika Zibanejad and Kevin Klein each had multi-point games for the Rangers.
The Rangers also withstood several injuries, as Fast and Derek Stepan each left the game after blocking shots, on a night where the Rangers successfully blocked 21. However, each would return, on a night where regulars Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich were already sidelined due to medical ailments. In their place, Cristoval “Boo” Nieves made his NHL debut.
With prior wins over the Flames and Oilers in Alberta, the Rangers swept the Western Canada trio for the first time since the 1980-81 season. Their 13 wins are also tied for the most in franchise history through 17 games.
The Rangers now have one more stop to make on their road trip, taking on the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night (7:00, MSG).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490