Lafreniere’s OT goal propels Rangers to 5-4 win over Flames in physical battle

Rangers battle (literally) Flames Monday night
Calgary takes exception to a Sammy Blais hit and it incites all players on the ice to get into it.
Lloyd Mitchell – AMNY

On a night where the Rangers had Jacob Trouba and Filip Chytil dominating on both sides of the ice, it was Alexis Lafreniere that came through with the clutch shot. 

Lafreniere’s overtime goal ended a back-and-forth contest for the ages and gave the Blueshirts a 5-4 win over Calgary in front of the home crowd Monday night. 

“We were a little slow coming out of the break. You try to get yourself back into the game. They play a physical game and I thought we played well.” Rangers captain Jacob Trouba said after the win.

Hard hits and back-and-forth action were the central themes in what was a tight first period and Trouba was at the center of much of it. After the Kid Line and Blake Coleman traded goals, both Trouba and Sammy Blais laid two big hits that ended up in brawls with the visiting Flames. 

Blais hit on Lucic
Sammy Blais knocks Milan Lucic to the ice in the first period of Monday night’s game against Calgary

On both occasions, the hits were not deemed worthy of a penalty and the Rangers were given powerplay opportunities. They weren’t able to score though. 

After the first period concluded, and both benches settled down from the fighting, Filip Chytil continued to shine Monday night. The former first-round pick got the scoring started for the Rangers in the first, and later scored a breakaway goal to give New York back the lead in the second period. 

Chytil’s point streak extended to four games while his 10 goals since the new year put him in 3rd throughout the entire NHL. 

Trouba wouldn’t let Chytil have all the fun though. After Calgary tied the game at 2 with a powerplay goal, the Rangers’ captain would lay another bone-crushing, but legal hit on Nazem Kadri on a breakaway. After winning another fight against Dillon Dube, the Rangers would capitalize on the powerplay for a 3-2 lead after two periods. 

“It’s a shame you have to do it every time you throw a hit. He hit Kadri pretty hard. I understand standing up for your teammate but I feel there was a little bit of an overreaction.” Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant explained afterward. 

Calgary would not go away though in the final frame though. Andrew Mangiapane would score the tying goal that passed a replay review that appeared to show the forward kicking the puck past Halak. The call eventually stood and continued the end-to-end action. 

After the Flames took their first lead late, Zibanejad would later score his second goal of the game to tie the contest at four and send the game into overtime. 

In the extra frame, it was Lafreniere that was able to seal the deal and send the home crowd into a frenzy.

“I think everyone is happy for him more than a different guy.” Trouba laughed. “We’d be happy for anyone but especially him. It’s great to see and nice to see him smile and have fun.”

The win moves the Rangers to 14 games over .500 at 28-14-8. They are still cemented in third place in the Metro division and four points ahead of the Washington Capitals. 

New York will be back in action Wednesday night when they battle the Vancouver Canucks at MSG. 

Game Notes

  • The Rangers made a bevy of roster moves before Monday’s contest. Both Sammy Blais and Will Cuylle were recalled to the top team. Both Blais and Cuylle played in the game against Calgary while Julien Gauthier and Vitali Kravtsov were healthy scratches. 
  • Kakko’s first-period assist gave him his 24th point of the season. That passed a career-high for the former second-overall pick with over 30 games still to play. 
  • On Zibanejad’s leading powerplay goal, both Chris Kreider and Artemi Panarin were credited with assists. The assist was Panarin’s 300th point in his 236 games with the Rangers in his career. It was the fewest games of any Rangers player to reach the feat in team history.

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