Two days after a come-from-behind victory over the Vegas Golden Knights at a time when Alain Vigneault’s immediate future with the team was in question, the New York Rangers scored another important win.
This time, they kept the high-scoring Tampa Bay Lightning to a single goal in a 2-1 overtime victory, giving New York back-to-back wins.
Containing the attack of the Lightning has been a problem for just about every team the Bolts have faced so far. That’s understandable considering they boast the leading scorer in Nikita Kucherov with 13 goals and point producer in Steven Stamkos with 24 points.
Only once has Tampa Bay been held to just one goal in a game this season. That was against the Anaheim Ducks last weekend. On Thursday, Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist turned aside 27 of 28 shots he faced to backstop his team to a victory.
The Rangers still have plenty of work left in climbing the standings. The month of October had the potential for a great start with 10 of 13 games on home ice for New York, but it ended up being a real struggle.
But given their situation, with Vigneault on the hot seat following a lackluster beginning, these last two games may later on be considered a turning point in their season. They trailed the surprising Golden Knights heading into the third period and a loss to the expansion franchise on home ice could’ve meant a major change behind the bench. At least that had been the suggestion entering the night.
Instead, the Rangers came roaring back for the win, and were able to carry that momentum on through Thursday’s contest against a much more dangerous team.
“We deserved to win,” said Vigneault after Thursday’s game. “We played a real strong game from the start right to the finish. Our ‘D’ group as a whole and our defensive game as a whole was solid tonight. Our structure was good. We made a couple of nice plays with the puck.”
The Rangers will play the Florida Panthers on Saturday, looking for a third straight victory.