CALGARY – The New York Rangers got the bounces they needed Thursday night.
Defenceman Ryan McDonagh scored with two seconds remaining in overtime to give the Rangers a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames.
With a crowd jostling in front of goalie Henrik Karlsson, Dan Girardi shot the puck wide off the end boards and it ricocheted out the other side to McDonagh, who buried it in the open net before Karlsson could get across.
“Danny’s a smart player, I know he’s just putting it anywhere where it’s not going to get blocked and it was fortunate that it kicked off the boards there,”said McDonagh, whose second goal gives him one more than he notched in 40 games as a rookie last season.
“We were talking about how the boards could be used to our advantage and it did there.”
McDonagh is averaging over 25 minutes of ice time due to early season injuries to a pair of Rangers defencemen—Marc Staal (concussion) and Michael Sauer (shoulder).
“It’s a great experience for him because there has been some struggles with his play but he stays with it,”said New York coach John Tortorella.
“As we go through here, some of those guys that are in spots that they didn’t expect to be in, it’s going to help our team in the long run.”
Marian Gaborik and former Flame Brandon Prust also scored for New York (2-1-2). The Rangers have won the first two games of their four-game road trip through western Canada.
Brad Richards had an assist and has now picked up a point in each of his first five games as a Ranger.
Jarome Iginla and Mark Giordano replied for Calgary (2-3-1), which is 1-0-1 two games into its season-high six-game homestand. Alex Tanguay had two assists.
“It’s tough to lose that game because we’ve talked about playing a certain style and getting more consistent and we were that tonight,”said Iginla.“Guys played hard and it’s the way we want to play.”
After a four-goal first period, both teams were blanked over the final two periods of regulation.
Flames coach Brent Sutter, staying true to his commitment to lessen Miikka Kiprusoff’s workload this season, went with Karlsson in net. The backup had given up five goals on 35 shots in his first start, a 5-2 loss to St. Louis on Oct. 10.
“It’s disappointing but I think the guys played really good in front of me,” said Karlsson, who finished with 26 saves. “It would have been fun to have a shot at the shootout and maybe win there but things happen.”
“Henrik made some big saves for us when we needed him,”added Sutter.
Henrik Lundqvist, coming off a 40-shot shutout of Vancouver in his last start, made 33 saves for New York.
Lundqvist was busiest in the third period as Calgary outshot New York 12-7. Included was back-to-back impressive saves. After stopping Jay Bouwmeester’s dangerous drive from the wing, he jabbed out his pad to deny Curtis Glencross on the rebound.
As time wound down, Lundqvist admitted he thought the game was going to go into a shootout.
“I was getting ready for it so I was really happy to see the puck go in because they have some skilled guys to send out for a shootout,”said Lundqvist.
New York entered the night as the lone NHL team without a power-play goal, but that distinction was put to rest less than five minutes into the game.
On its first power play of the night, New York controlled the puck in the Flames end for all 37 seconds it took for Gaborik to get into the open and snap a 30-footer past Karlsson, making it 1-0 for the Rangers at 4:53.
Calgary responded less than a minute later with Iginla steering in Alex Tanguay’s centring pass.
The Rangers restored its one-goal lead on Prust’s short-handed goal at 13:42, but the Flames again struck back, this time just over two minutes later with Giordano finishing off a nice give-and-go with Iginla.
The Pengrowth Saddledome crowd of 19,289 spent the entire night lustily booing Rangers rookie Tim Erixon whenever he touched the puck.
Erixon, a first-round draft pick of the Flames in 2009, refused to sign with the Flames forcing general manager Jay Feaster to trade the defenceman to New York in the summer.
“I heard it but I didn’t really think about it,”said the 20-year-old.“I just tried to go out there and play my game. You hear it but I don’t really care, it didn’t really bother me.”
Notes: The assist for Richards on Gaborik’s goal was No. 500 of his career…The five-game points streak for Calgary C Olli Jokinen came to an end…Calgary LW Rene Bourque played in career game No. 400…Lundqvist was making his 36th consecutive start for New York including last year’s four playoff games. His last night off was Feb. 11, 2011…The seven straight road games for New York to begin the season is the longest such stretch to begin the season in team history.