The New York Rangers were 20 minutes away from a loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.
Yes, the same Golden Knights that are without goalies Marc-Andre Fleury, Malcolm Subban and Oscar Dansk after the most recent injury to a Vegas puck stopper. Going into the third period, the Rangers trailed 4-2 after David Perron added another historical first for the Golden Knights, scoring on the franchise’s first penalty shot.
The Rangers, however, came back in the third period for a 6-4 victory.
Sitting near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings after a bad start to the season, head coach Alain Vigneault has been placed on the hot seat, and the prognosis from Larry Brooks of the New York Post pinpointed this game as possibly being pivotal to his immediate future behind the bench.
It looked particularly bad for the Rangers — and especially Vigneault — when the Rangers were outshot 14-9 in the first period by the expansion team that had played the night before against the Islanders. The Rangers fell behind after the first period and saw that deficit increase in the second.
Different story in the third period.
True, the Rangers were facing a team ravaged by injuries to their netminders and forced to start Maxime Lagace, who had only a single game — well, actually just over 25 minutes last night when Dansk came out of the game because of his injury — worth of NHL experience entering tonight’s contest, while Western Hockey League call-up Dylan Ferguson sat on the bench as the back-up.
Needing a comeback, New York was able to score four times in the third period. It was the youngsters that stepped to the forefront.
Pavel Buchnevich, 22, had the tying goal and helped set up the eventual winner, scored by 24-year-old Mika Zibanejad, who had three points in the third period and has been sensational for a struggling Rangers early on.