Even down by a man, the New York Rangers showed amazing determination and desperation to get the first goal early in Tuesday’s game against the New Jersey Devils.
After the Rangers cleared the zone, Derek Stepan chased the puck and snatched it away from Johan Hedberg while the goaltender was way out of the net.
Hedberg was forced to battle Stepan for the puck and while he succeeded in robbing him of a potential empty-netter, he wasn’t able to get the puck out of the zone like he had initially intended.
As Hedberg retreated back to the crease, Stepan continued to fight for the puck and finally attempted a centering pass, which was batted out of midair by defenseman Michael Del Zotto for the first goal of the game.
You can watch the entire sequence below, including a lucky break Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist had moments earlier when a shot bounced off the top of his stick, hit the post, and just barely stayed out of the net:
That proved to be the difference on Tuesday as the Rangers earned a critical 3-2 victory.