New York Rangers rally for overtime win in Stadium Series

ByGreg Wyshynski ESPN logo
Monday, February 19, 2024

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It was a storybook finish for the New York Rangers in their Stadium Series win over the New York Islanders on Sunday. But not necessarily the story they intended to tell.

"It wasn't a script we would have written," Rangers coach Peter Laviolette said after their 6-5 overtime victory in front of 79,690 fans at MetLife Stadium, in the highest-scoring outdoor game in NHL history. "It was crazy. It was awesome. So many props to our guys after a first period that didn't go the way we wanted at all."

The Rangers took an early 1-0 lead but then watched the Islanders scored three goals in 3:14, including goals by Bo Horvat and Mathew Barzal that were 16 seconds apart. Just 1:03 into the second period, they were down 4-1. Even when they mounted a rally, the Islanders had an answer, where were leading 5-3 with five minutes left in regulation.

But at the final horn, the Rangers skated away with an incredible comeback win that was clinched by Artemi Panarin's unassisted goal just 10 seconds into overtime -- scored with the net off its moorings that was confirmed as a good goal after video review.

"I don't remember that goal because I got flooded with a wave of emotions. But I'm 80% sure that it was a goal," Panarin said through a translator.

According to ESPN rules analyst Dave Jackson, if the goal cage is dislodged by the defensive team, whether intentionally or accidentally, and there is an imminent scoring chance, as long as the puck passes between where the goalposts should be it's a good goal. That was the case for Panarin.

"I'm sure the league and the refs got the right call in," Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson said.

But other calls didn't set as well for the Islanders. The Rangers feasted on the Islanders' last-ranked penalty kill with three power-play goals, including two in the third period with Igor Shesterkin pulled for an extra attacker. The Islanders penalty kill is now just effective 70.7% of the time.

"I think there were a couple of (calls) where we didn't necessarily agree. One kind of felt like a late call," Islanders forward Brock Nelson said. "Whatever it is, the ref makes up his mind. You got to go out there and get the job done."

The Rangers got the job done despite the deficit, which is something this group has been known for this season. The Stadium Series win was their ninth third-period comeback win this season. That's already the second most in franchise history behind their 11 comebacks in 2010-11.

"We take a look at ourselves and see what we have to do. In situations when we're down, we know what we have to do and we've been pretty good at getting back on track and getting big goals. Creating some sort of momentum to swing the game back our way," said Mika Zibanejad, who along with Chris Kreider scored third-period power-play goals.

Laviolette praised his top players for fueling the rally: "I thought our power-play guys at the end of the game, in the biggest of circumstances, really delivered."

The Stadium Series win was the Rangers' seventh in a row, moving six points ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes for the Metropolitan Division lead. It was an important divisional game for them, against their traditional rivals, but it also allowed the Rangers to look back fondly at the weekend's events at MetLife Stadium, which included everything from a family skate on Friday to the team arriving in NYFD and NYPD jerseys before Sunday's game.

"You still get two points for a win. But at the same time, you want to enjoy this weekend. And there's no better way to finish this off than with a win like that," Zibanejad said.