Hold On Just A Second! Rangers Stun Stars 2-1 Behind Last-Gasp Goal By Miller and Fox OT Winner

While the regular season does provide an abundance of significant wins and great moments, it’s safe to say that there won’t be many, if any, that rival what the Garden faithful witnessed at the end of that game last night. The Rangers snatched victory away from the Dallas Stars in the most improbable fashion when K’Andre Miller tied the game with less than a second left, and Adam Fox won it in OT for a 2-1 triumph.

This breakdown won’t have many categories but will encompass an intangible aspect that can’t be defined on a stat sheet. So, let’s get to it.

THAT’S GOOD!

SPECIAL VIBES

If you want to see me wax poetic about how much I think of K’Andre Miller and Adam Fox, you can just read my recap from Tuesday’s win against the Wild. Amazingly, they also were the first two stars of that game by scoring back-to-back.

Of course, there was no way those efforts could ever be as drama-filled and vital as what happened last night. Miller followed up a blocked shot with a last-second shot (officially, it was with .9. seconds left, although some are reporting .2 seconds) that found its way past a stout Oettinger. Seemingly riding that emotion, the Rangers dominated the overtime period, which led to sustained pressure and a mad scramble in front of the net. Panarin finally found Adam Fox, who exhibited his usual patience under pressure, sidestepped a defender, and swooped in a backhander for the win in front of a delirious crowd. You would have thought we just won a playoff series, but the outcome was so unexpected and stunning that the reaction was warranted.

That overall feeling was the most significant takeaway from last night’s victory. Of course, the Rangers would have been forgiven quickly for a 1-0 loss to a first-place team with stellar goaltending. Heck, even if they lost in OT, the last-gasp goal by Miller would have resulted in “stealing” a point and would have been a great consolation prize.

However, the team instead closed the deal. They made the impossible possible. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’ve clinched the playoffs, or all their problems are fixed, but it did FEEL galvanizing and special. There was magic in MSG that has been missing for a good portion of this year. The vibes reverberating from this victory felt bigger than just another two points in the standings. I was still buzzing after the game for a few hours in my living room, so I can’t imagine how it must have felt to be there.

Again, the season is fickle. There will be more losses, possibly even those of the soul-sucking variety, where you question the hockey gods and life itself.

Yet, recency bias aside, last night felt different. Wins like that give you hope that when this season turns to the critical games at the end, there’s something about this team that will surely take us on another ride deep into the spring.

THAT’S BAD!

POWER PLAY

I actually thought the team played pretty well overall. Granted, the first period was incredibly UNentertaining on both sides. There was a lot of neutral zone play, and each team’s defense did not give the others’ offense any room to breathe.

Things opened up a bit, which afforded the Rangers some power play opportunities, which they fumbled. In fact, if not for the late-game heroics, special teams would have been the story of last night. The Stars went one for one on their man advantage (due to a terrible line change by the Rangers that left Tyler Seguin wide open), while the Blueshirts went 0 for 4.  

The Rangers’ power play has become increasingly predictable and stagnant recently and hasn’t been consistent all season. It’s time Gallant stops being stubborn and changes things to give that unit a spark. Yes, Lafreniere was on that unit with Kreider out, but changes need to be more significant than that, especially since that substitution will be short-lived.

The Rangers have thankfully been more effective at even strength, so this power-play lull hasn’t hurt the team as much. However, these games only get tighter as we get closer to the playoffs and beyond. Special teams must become a weapon again, so this team and its fans are not biting their nails until, literally, the last second of the game.

CAN I GO NOW?

  • Igor had a very solid game, even though he wasn’t heavily tested like he usually is due to the tight, defensive nature of the contest.
  • I thought Lafreniere played fine. Nothing stood out, but he was at least active. To be fair, this was a tough game to judge him on. If Kreider remains out against these two games against less talented teams (MTL and CBJ), I will be more critical if Laf does not produce.
  • Speaking of production, while I’m happy that Kakko continues to play well, we need to see it translate to the scoresheet. Again, this team doesn’t need him to be a PPG player, but he hasn’t registered a point in the last four games and hasn’t scored a goal in his previous eight games. That has to change if he is to remain on the top line.
  • We had a bizarre, terrible sequence at the end of the first period when Sammy Blais and Julien Gauthier collided face-to-face. Gauthier went down and didn’t return, and Blais’ face was gushing blood. Right after that, Jimmy Vesey got hit in the hand with a puck, and we went into intermission with the prospect of being down THREE forwards for the rest of the game. Thankfully, Vesey and Blais returned, but Gauthier could use a rest here as he’s had to leave two games in a row after getting his bell rung. In that instance, it was both of their faults, but it seems that Blais is only involved in plays that only negatively impact the team, including this instance of friendly fire. Let’s hope JG is ok. We could use his speed in the lineup, especially with Kreider out as well.
  • The Rangers need to avoid an emotional letdown here as their next two games are back-to-back against Montreal at MSG and then on the road vs. Columbus. An excellent chance to pick up a crucial four points against two teams at the bottom of the standings.
In this week's episode, we have on guest HockeyStatMiner to discuss NYR's Salary cap situation, potential moves and more.How to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITRThanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
  1. Guest HockeyStatMiner
  2. Many Directions, One Goal
  3. A Heartbreaking End, Offseason Begins
  4. Game 5 Recap : Guest Joe Fortunato
  5. Game 4 Recap : Breakout Breakdown

Marc Panzer

NYR Fan living in Long Island

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